Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Leave a comment

Article in Cruising World: How to Install a Watermaker

Cruising World magazine recently ran my piece  “Banishing Water Worries: A low-draw desalinator proves easy to install and maintain”  – which is about what it says it’s about! Here is a PDF of the article, which I hope is technical enough for sailors planning a similar project but interesting enough for general readers!

Celeste among growlers

Celeste in the Arctic Ocean, August 2015. We did not fill water from shore for 7 weeks while in the Arctic, thanks to our desalinator.

Cruising World also posted our video of testing our Katadyn (now Spectra) watermaker at the polar ice edge in very cold temperatures, which puts additional strain on the desalinator’s production rate. You can see the video here – enjoy!  Continue reading


Busy days and awesome people on Unalaska

UnalaskaUnalaska returned to its more normal state of cold, wind, and clouds after our hike and we went to work on the boat in earnest.  Andy and Daneen had very nicely offered to store all our junk in their attic, so we took everything off the boat.  The point of this on the inside was mostly to prevent mold from growing on the cushions, sails, books, woodwork, etc. and to keep stuff from freezing that probably shouldn’t freeze (like my dad’s Mason jars of soup, pasta sauces, etc.).  The point on deck was to prevent loose stuff from blowing away or getting stolen (like our Mantus anchors and extra propane cylinder).  This took a couple days and more than a couple truck loads. Continue reading


Port Angeles, Part Two

Installing solar panels, varnishing hand rails

Installing solar panels, varnishing hand rails

The ten days following our hoped-for launch date of June 10 were dominated by installing equipment. Once all the paint and varnish had dried, Seth mounted and wired our new solar panels: two on the forward end of the cabin top, two aft where the old Dorade vent was, and one on a swivel mount on the stern pulpit. (There had been a large one there, but it didn’t seem to be producing much—if any—power, so we replaced it.) Meanwhile, I was hard at work back in our hotel room putting together our Jordan Series Drogue.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Our Refit at Platypus Marine

Platypus Logo2

On the recommendation of a trusted friend and shipwright, we placed Celeste with Platypus Marine in September 2013.  We subsequently negotiated sponsorship with them.  In short, we only work with companies whose products we would use regardless of sponsorship.

Celeste was beautifully constructed and designed when she was built: her cold-molded hull was meticulously laid up and saturated with epoxy; her decks, cabin trunk, keel, and rudder were all sturdily built; and everywhere is evidence of the skill and workmanship of both her designer Francis Kinney and her builder Bent Jespersen.  Celeste was also maintained excellently by her previous owner.  He especially took care to keep the bilges completely dry—we’ve found some spare pieces of wood he kept there that didn’t even have a drop of moisture stain!  Nonetheless, all boats come due for a refit after about 20 years and Celeste’s has been particularly thorough in view of the waters we’re hoping to explore.  Thanks to our boatyard in Port Angeles, Platypus Marine, we’re setting off with a classic-looking yet robust and technologically up-to-date vessel. Continue reading

Katadyn solves our water issues


In need of an emergency manual watermaker and wishing for a 12V one, we approached Katadyn for sponsorship.  We only work with companies whose products we would use regardless of sponsorship.

After 4 years of filling our water tanks like this, a desalinator was on our wishlist!

After 4 years of filling our water tanks like this, a desalinator was on our wishlist!

After four years of hefting water in buckets from the shore (and sometimes rather bad tasting water at that) and after four years of knowing our life-raft was not fully equipped, we’re thrilled to have Katadyn watermakers on board.  Their most energy-conserving watermaker—the PowerSurvivor40E, drawing only 4 amps—will allow us to be completely self-sufficient aboard CelesteWe’ll no longer have to depend solely on water from shore or on rain catchment, and we’ll still be able to generate the electricity we need with our solar panels.  While preparing for the Arctic, Seth and I originally worried about our water solutions.  On our circumnavigation we carried over 150 gallons aboard the heavy-displacement Heretic, which lasted us about 6 weeks without rationing.  We never use potable water for anything other than drinking or cooking (and often use half seawater for cooking), but we drink a lot of water to stave off seasickness. Unlike Heretic, however, Celeste is a medium-displacement boat and weight makes more of a difference to her sailing and trim.  So she only carries 100 gallons in her water tanks.  This might be fine for some cruises, but water is scarce and expensive in the Arctic.
Continue reading