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Outfitting Egret for the long haul

“Perhaps the biggest safety item is our attitude of thoroughly researching and preparing for the trip and making sure Egret is ready to go, not hoping there aren’t issues,” says Scott Flanders.

Powered by a 140-hp 6-cylinder Lugger, Egret carries 1,000 gallons of fuel in two tanks and a reserve of 330 gallons in four fuel bladders, which Flanders says affords a range of more than 3,000 nautical miles. The diesel logged 7,100 hours during the voyage.

Here’s a list of some of the safety gear, devices and equipment on board Egret, as well as modifications made to the trawler to increase safety. Flanders provides explanations.

• Two fixed Lowrance GlobalMap 2000 GPS units with 5-by-3.5-inch screens. “One is mounted in the pilothouse and one on the flybridge. We have an upper/lower station switch to choose which unit to drive the autopilot. We carry a third new unit as a backup.”

• Two Garmin GPS 76 hand-held units with hard wiring as backup. Both have a 1.75-by-3.25-inch screen and a split-wire plug in the back of the unit. One wire is a 12-volt cigarette lighter-type plug, the other a nine-pin adapter. “By adding a nine-pin/USB adapter, we can use either GPS to run a navigation laptop.”

• Two EPIRBs. “Before departing on a significant crossing, we gave NOAA our rough itinerary, which is put into a NOAA database. If both EPIRBs go off, there will be no reasonable doubt if there is a false signal.”

• Five navigation laptops with navigation software installed. “All five computers have been tested with different combinations of GPSs, and all work. We all have weak points, and mine is electrical and computers. Fortunately, Egret hasn’t had any electrical issues. We have two [computers] in service while under way and a third standing by. Two others live in the microwave/oven along with a hand-held GPS in areas where there could be possible lightning strikes. With this redundancy, we feel we have covered our weaknesses.”

• Two 4 kW JRC radars, one with 4-foot open array, the other with 24-inch dome.

• Iridium satellite phone. “In the phone case, there are plasticized copies of emergency phone numbers — with oversized numerals — so we don’t need glasses to read the numbers.”

• Six-person Winslow life raft.

• Ditch bag with a hand-held GPS, hand-held VHF that uses AA batteries, binoculars, fishing gear, solar blankets, food, water, small medical kit, roll of toilet paper, money, plasticized copies of boat papers and passports, knife, 28-pack of AA batteries, second flashlight (LED), signal mirror and signal flag. A strobe is attached to the ditch bag, along with a Pelican waterproof flashlight. The life raft (kept in the saloon while under way) was tethered to the ditch bag. “This gives us a 20-foot-long floating string to snag if the worst happens.”

• A sickle and long wooden pole for cutting kelp from the anchor and chain when raising the ground tackle.

• Jacklines to cover every outside deck area.

• Custom stainless steel hatch dams, so boarding waves can’t force water under the hatch seals.

• Custom 1/2-inch-thick Lexan storm windows.

• Four heavy-duty padeyes to lash down the foredeck deck box.

• Sailboat winches for paravane retrieval and warping the stern lines. “In Chile and Argentina, there are few anchorages where … we drop the anchor on a steeply shelving bottom, then take the shore lines ashore to the west — and direction of weather. This puts us into a wind shadow, giving 100 percent protection.”

• Doubled the number of ocean-crossing spares. “In the deep south [latitudes], you have to be able to fix problems yourself and have the parts to make the repairs.”

• Added a much larger anchor — a 110-pound Turkish version of the German Bügel anchor — for extra holding and dropping through the kelp.

• Added paravane stabilization for redundant safety at sea in case the Naiad stabilizers failed. (The Naiads never missed a beat).

• Added six large inflatable fenders.

See related article: Remarkable Voyage

This story originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.



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