The base boat does not come equipped with all you need to go bluewater cruising, not even an anchor; according to the opening paragraph of the contract appendix ‘Standard Equipment’, imaged immediately below. That is not a big inclusions list. To see what we added please read on….
You must fit out the boat to suit your needs. We have chosen the Comfort Version as per the contract, and below this list, I discuss the options we added to that.
Key -The photo above lists what is included in the options packs- GL is Grand large, OV is Oceanic version CV is the Comfort version.
The factory supplies standard 40 hp engines. These are fine if you don’t put much (weight) on the boat. Our plan is to be liveaboards, so we upgraded to the 50 hp to allow for the extra weight of our possessions. We choose 3 blade-folding props as they produce less drag on the driveshaft of the boat and give approximately 1-knot boat speed more. Antifouling of the hull and prop speed are essential for the smooth operation of the boat.
For electronics, we choose the Garmin pack 1 which includes the Autopilot, VHF, AIS, GPS 7410 and 2″ multi GM20. Additionally, we chose a second AIS and VHF for the helm station, the radar, support and wiring, and the autopilot remote. It was decided that we could use the iPad as the second screen inside at the Nav station. We will find a portable handheld VHF for use on the tender.
We ordered after factory, the Iridium Go satellite phone with mast-mounted antenna, for when we finally do deep water crossing. This is in preparation for Crossing the Atlantic, and the Pacific before we return to Australia. While cruising around Europe, North Africa, and the Med, mobile phone contact is adequate for navigation data.
We choose after factory solar panels. The more expensive Sunpower panels were needed to achieve at least 1000 watts in a limited space and provide much better efficiency than the factory option panels.
We would have preferred lithium batteries, as all our research confirmed the additional cost upfront would save money in the long run. FP did not allow this as an option.
Saloon & Cockpit
In the living areas of the saloon and cockpit -we decided the PVC upholstery option would make for easy cleaning. We chose a cockpit tent as we will be living aboard all year and definitely need protection from the elements. We chose a bimini tent at the helm for the same reason.
Another choice was transom protection and an additional AGM battery. both made sense to us. It’s good to have a bumper on the rear. The extra battery will store some more of the power generated by our panels. We decided against the barbeque at 1302 euros and bought a Weber Q that we will pack away after each use.
We overlooked ordering additional mooring cleats. Some marinas have cleats in varying placements. At times we have had to access the boat by stepping over a stern line and a stern spring line. That is not ideal. Just one more set of cleats further rearward might have made it easier.
White goods and other mechanical considerations
We choose the 90-litre freezer because you can never have too much freezer space. A washing machine onboard limits the need for accessing marinas. Having lived with rainwater on the farm we are great at water conservation, so deciding on the 12V watermaker made sense. It also means we don’t have to start the generator to run it if the batteries are full.
We halved the price of a Genset by choosing the smaller German brand Fischer Panda 4KW230 Volt / 50 Hz, made by the well-known manufacturer, Kubota. This is water-cooled, includes a reserve for extra voltage at start-up, and is very quiet to run. It only weighs 79 kg.
Forepeak deck access is very convenient for access to storage areas. We use this area for lesser-used items.
Saloon table options- we stayed with the coffee table because it is easier to get around than a dining table. We also decided that we didn’t need the extra bed, so we didnt need the table conversion. Also, the standard coffee table has two lift-up lids, allowing for extra storage.
We chose slatted bases for the beds, as we believe airflow is necessary to reduce moldy dampness.
We chose the gennaker and associated fittings for a light beam reach sail. The gennaker is also called an asymmetrical spinnaker. This has the effect of a spinnaker with the handling properties of a genoa. It seems less work to set up than a spinnaker. Although it is furled from an attachment to the bowsprit, it needs to be put away after each use. The light sail material lacks a heavy UV strip, so it cannot be left out indefinitely.
Who doesn’t want a nice light sail for downwind sailing? We contacted Wingaker and Parasailor. We didn’t hear back from Wingaker for 4 months so we went with the Parasailor. This sail can cover 60 -180 degrees without a spinnaker pole, bowsprit or furling system. It comes with a sock snuffer. The manufacturer claims the sail can be used on auto-pilot or used single-handedly.
According to the forums, the automatic mainsail hook and 4 extra intermediate cars on the mainsail will make it much easier to hoist and lower the mainsail. The photo shows 2 of the intermediate cars attached by bungee either side of a standard car. The mail sail does not have enough spare cringles to fit all four we ordered. “They” forgot to add another cringle to install the fourth intermediate car.
We chose one electric winch for the mainsail and another for the davits. Although we don’t need to use the winch to lower the dinghy, it’s much easier to raise it despite its’ light load of 38Kg. The addition of an outboard doubles its’ weight.
Heads ( Toilet) options
We choose electric heads with a freshwater flush. Having used manual heads, we thought this a nice idea to reduce the smell and the exercise needed to operate the pump action. However, the use of freshwater can deplete reserves, so if you do option this, be aware that Saniflow does offer a model with a saltwater option switch. (We didn’t realise this option until too late- when reading the manual after handover).
We choose the 6 fans- for times when there’s no cross breeze for ventilation. Air conditioning is in the saloon only. If the fans don’t cut it in very hot climates it makes sense to have the day living areas airconditioned.
We choose a Mantus 39kg. To reduce the chain supplied from 12 mls to 10 mls of better quality would reduce total weight on the forward part of the boat. We downsized the gypsy to fit the smaller diameter chain. Final configuration is 70 metres of 10 ml chain and 30 meters of 16mm rode (rope).
We chose an Offshore Cruising Tender from NZ, made entirely from fibreglass. It is very stable and very light at 38kg. The people are wonderful to deal with. (https://octenders.co.nz) (for much more detail please see the separate article). Having a lighter tender, means we don’t need the 15 hp standard factory outboard. We went with Tohatsu 9.8 hp outboard-also much lighter to handle and significantly less cost.
We decided to buy an after factory six MP life raft – The maximum onboard would be six people from time to time. Mostly there are just the two of us. We don’t need the weight and extra cost of an 8MP.
FP is a Production boat, no option for structural changes
Despite the catalogue offering an option of 2 or 3 bathrooms, we were unable to have the port bathrooms reconfigured to just one. We ordered one on the port side converted to storage. We would have liked the bathroom door shifted so if there are four guests, it would have been better access to the bathroom for all. Because the basic structure of the boat is fixed at manufacture, structural changes are not accommodated.
At handover, we took one look at the bathroom arrangement if we did have both cabins occupied. It was clear that it would not be possible to provide privacy for the aft cabin if we decommissioned the forward bathroom. So we canceled the decommissioning planned. Now the forward cabin bathroom is a defacto broom closest, but we’ll have to relocate “all its stuff” when the forward cabin is also occupied.
The choosing of options can be a time consuming and confusing business, there are so many opinions but ultimately you have to decide what will work for you. ( Shelley Beer March 2019, with some additional reflections October 2019 )