Do you wear lifejackets? What safety devices do you have?

We do wear lifejackets (PFD--Personal Flotation Device) when the conditions in our judgement warrant wearing them. The primary considerations are risk of falling overboard and ease of recovery. At night we wear inflatable lifejackets and are tethered to the boat because one of us may be alone in the cockpit while the other is sleeping and recovery would be difficult or impossible. During periods of high winds and boisterous sea states or if we have to leave the cockpit for an extended time lifejackets are on. When seas are calm and we are in the cockpit, the risk of falling overboard is low and ease of recovery is high, we are unlikely to be wearing a life jacket.

There are 3 types of life jackets on board, standard foam vests (4), inflatable PFDs with a harness (2), and inflatable PFDs with a back tow harness and AIS/DSC locators attached. We choose the PFD to match the conditions we are in. The backtow PFDs are used at night as we are at greatest risk and the locating devices will wake the dead and enable a quicker recovery. In addition to the PFDs we have equipment to help safely bring a person back on board, a Lifesling and Switlik MOM8-A

In the worse case scenario, if we should have to abandon ship, we carry a 6 person coastal life raft and an Emergency Postion Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The SPOT tracker we use also has an emergency panic button as does our VHF radios which will send a distress signal and our location. Should we have to continue our adventure in the life raft, we have ditch bag containing food, water, and other essential supplies allowing us to stay alive, if not comfortable, for a few days. The signaling devices will enable search and rescue operations to locate us quickly. 

How often is the SPOT tracker updated?

Currently (October 2021) the tracker reports our position every 30 minutes. Early in our trip it was set to 10 minutes, however that generated too much data. We usually travel at about 6 knots, with 10 minute intervals that yields 6 updates an hour. Setting a longer reporting interval also reduces the power consumption, something about which we are very careful. The Spot is only turned on when we are moving, so there will be time gaps when we are anchored or at a dock. And sometimes we forget to turn it on before we leave, which makes for an unusual track, for example leaving Block Island or Cape May.

The Spot map will not show more than 500 data points at a time. The time ranges can adjusted to see where we are at different times. When a custom time range is used, the arrows will advance or backup the time frame.

How often do you expect to put in to a dock for supplies, etc.?

In general we plan to stop at a marina about every 7 to 10 days while we are here in the US. We much prefer to anchor out or stay on a mooring as they are quieter and far less expensive, especially anchoring which is free. 

While in the marina we'll restock with perishable goods, fill the water tanks, empty the holding tank, take a long hot shower, do laundry and hopefully enjoy good wifi. Depending on our arrival time we'll stay one or two nights. 

Marinas can be budget busters. In the Metro NY area rates run from $3 to over $4 a foot per night. Second Star is 36 feet long so the fees add up quick.  Moorings generally run from $30 to $50 a night, a more affordable option but still expensive.