Lagoon 410 made in France, 41 feet long with a 24-foot beam fractional sloop catamaran

Our home has treated us well and we have added some new safety features to make our lives easier and reduce a little stress.  The boat was in great shape when we bought her, but we needed to make it better.  And to make it home.


For navigation we have two Garmin 10” GPS units both inside at the navigation table and outside at the helm.  With the newest maps we can see Google earth and aerial shots of anchorages and other important landmarks as we enter.  These maps have been extremely accurate even with the base map model that we used this spring in the Bahamas at night and in a rainstorm navigating through a tight channel in the reefs for miles.  We have 2 backup handheld GPS devices as well.  The Garmin can be left on and will alarm if we drag anchor.  A hundred pounds of paper charts fill one of her shelves.  A few compasses onboard should never fail.  If all goes bad we have a few other backups like the beach ball globe from Ella’s schooling (a century ago this would have been gold).

For water we have two tanks with 100 gallons of water storage.  I am in the process of building a rainwater catchment system to supplement during passages.  We have a watermaker onboard that can convert seawater into drinkable water at about 5gallons an hour.

Electricity is generated by a Westerbeke generator, our engines, solar panels and a wind generator.  We can survive several days on using the solar panes and wind alone.  I have converted most our lights to LED’s, which run at 25% the amperage of conventional lighting.

Propulsion is achieved primarily via our 960 ft2 mainsail, 560 ft2 Jib and 600 ft2 Genakker.  We have a 100ft2 storm sail too (and a spare mainsail).  Two 30 horsepower diesel engines propel us at 6.5 knots.  We have 70 gallons of permanent diesel tanks and another 120 of temporary flexible diesel tanks.

For collision avoidance our first line of defense is ourselves.   During a passage we will always have a lookout whose job is to scan the horizon at least every 12 minutes.  That’s the time a tanker would take to come into view and crush us; not a pleasant thought.  They will also be looking for weather changes and sea life, of course.  The second line of defense is our AIS (automated information system) which is required equipment on every large tanker over 300 tons.  On our navigation screen we can see which direction, speed, name and cargo of these vessels.  A preset alarm will sound if they come within a distance we deem to close.   Our system also broadcasts Rivers2Seas, heading, speed etc.  I have read that the tankers often turn off this info on their navigation sets because it causes too much clutter.  There are rules of the sea as to who has right of way and a vessel under sail almost always has the right of way.  But when a ship can run you over and not even know about it, their size gives them the actual right of way and they know it.

To keep us on the boat we have jacklines that run fore and aft in which we can clip our harness into which should prevent us from being pitched overboard.  A two-foot lifeline around the boat helps too.  We have added netting to the lifelines giving us the appearance of a giant playpen.  The kids must always wear PFD’s if outside the salon.  We will wear ours at night and during any weather that seems appropriate.  Attached to our PFD’s are a knife, strobe light, whistle and MOB tags (man overboard tags).  These MOB tags will set off an alarm if any of them get more than 30 feet from the boat or are submerged.

For communication we have a Tracphone 25 satellite phone covering most of the earth.  Cell phones will be purchased when we plan to stay in a county for awhile.  The IPad has become a marvelous tool as well.  We have two nav station VHF units and a handheld one as well.

Lindsey and I have both been in the medical field at different times and have EMT training.  Our Medical Advisor, Dr. Art Sands has been incredible at getting us proper training, equipment and drugs.  We have seen some crazy stuff before and will see it again.  Once again, we have the knowledge and the tools to make these medical emergencies more manageable.  My biggest worry is getting another kidney stone during a passage and not being able to work.

Seeing at night is always difficult.  Kent and I had a hard time telling what bridge was what or if it was a barge or other canoeists (just kidding) when we night canoed through Kansas City.  We have FLIR night vision goggles that are super cool.  Using thermal variances in teperature up to a tenth of a degree a cameral screen gives us a glowing picture of the night.  Helpful in nighttime anchorages or looking for someone who has gone overboard (or canoeists).  To see during the day, I had lasik done on my eyes so that I can see more clearly.  We have 3 sets of binoculars and the kids have some spy scopes to look for land (or the dinghy should Wilson set her free again.)

Chase on his way to becoming "The Fixer"

Cats are reported to be unsinkable.  Nothing is unsinkable and fires are more of an emergency at sea than in our landlock homes.  If we need

to abandon ship we have a Givens top of the line liferaft rated for 6 people.  They have some pretty impressive videos from the US Coast Guard showing how superior their product is than the competition.  We hope to never be able to weigh in on the discussion though.  An abandon ship panic bag (with DON’T PANIC stenciled on top) has food rations, GPS, maps, flares, fishing gear, knives, signaling devices and compass.  We have a Katydyn PowerSurvivor 35 watermaker that can manually filter seawater at a rate of 1 gallon an hour.  An ACR epirb can be manually activated to alert authorities of our exact GPS coordinates.  This Epirb will go off if the boat is upside-down or the unit gets submerged.  A spot messenger is what we use to show our progress on the blog with great pictures of Google Earth.  We can manually send out a SOS to preprogrammed emails saying that we are in trouble, need help immediately and with our GPS coordinates.

Setting out on this journey we have heard about every comment from foolish, Why?,  and that many people have accomplished all this before, to with so much backup that it really isn’t an adventure at all.  We have taken many safeguards to ensure that our travels are safe.  If something horrible happens like hitting a submerged container (semi trailer floating 6” above the waterline) we have ways to get help – to not have that ability in this technological era would be foolish.  Saying that an adventure is only so if we use 18th century tools is simply a couch potato who knows less than the TV they are watching.  Many people are doing this now, many many voyagers have gone before this.

We added a plane to Rivers2Seas!

We want to see for ourselves.  The world is beautiful.  The seas are still intimidating, the whales still gargantuan, the sharks still prowling, storms still growing, then add to that the increase in shipping traffic and the cargo they have dropped, anyone who thinks otherwise needs to head to the woods.

One of my favorite quotes:

Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know not victory or defeat.

 Theodore Roosevelt