Five years ago we began the process of building Ticket to Ride. Frank and I had enough experience from our first boat that we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted on our new HH55. We researched the options available in 2017 – 2018 and worked with HH Catamarans and Morrelli and Melvin to build a very current, dependable, comfortable and fun performance sailboat.
Recently we had the opportunity to meet Nikki and Jason Wynn who are in the process of building an HH44 catamaran. The Wynns spent a couple of weeks on TTR and during their stay we had a chance to discuss some of the updated technology HH Catamarans is incorporating into their new HH44, Curiosity 2.
The advances in technology that have occurred in the five years since we outfitted TTR are significant. Some of the options the Wynns are including in their sailboat were not well proven enough for us to choose when we built Ticket to Ride. It was very interesting to learn about the possibilities and reliability of the updated technology Nikki and Jason find exciting. While we keep an eye on changing technologies, it is pretty unrealistic to think Frank and I can or want to make large changes to Ticket to Ride while we are in remote places like French Polynesia.
Our discussions with the Wynns, other cruisers, our crew members (shoutout to Erik and Tommy), as well as our own research add to our thoughts about changes we would consider making to Ticket to Ride if the opportunity arises.
Propane Cooking vs Induction Cooking:
During our build, Frank and I definitely discussed having an induction cooktop on TTR instead of using propane tank cooking. We had a list of pros and cons for both types of cooking:
|proven, used for years||refilling tanks periodically|
|already have pans||fuel tanks use valuable storage space|
|BBQ grill is easy to use||must convert to butane in some places|
|familiar, used it on LIB||fire hazard|
|we love to BBQ|
|no propane tank storage||requires energy from batteries|
|clean cooking surface||must buy new cooking pots and pans|
|less heat in the galley||no more BBQ|
|no propane tank refills||bad reviews from other boats|
For us, the deciding factor in favor of propane was the negative reviews from others using induction cooktops and the lack of long term use on boats. We wanted systems that had proven track records, especially since we would be in remote areas where replacements are difficult to obtain.
Even with negative feedback for induction cooktops, we strongly considered installing one because our plan was to sail TTR to the South Pacific where propane is unavailable and butane is the cooking gas available. That would mean we would buy butane and use a transfer hose to gravity fill our propane tank from a butane tank. Converting to butane would be an added inconvenience but there was plenty of literature online about how to handle the transfer, so we chose the known product.
In actuality, the butane transfer process has proven to be a more arduous job than we expected.
The first time we had our propane tank refilled in French Polynesia, the person who filled the tank complained the whole time that it was taking too long. So Frank has taken matters into his own hands and has refined his transfer technique along the way.
The first time Frank made the transfer, it took 48 hours and the receiving tank was not full. Since then we have worked out this process and reduced the fill time significantly: (Always do this in a well ventilated area.)
1. Locate the fill tank so it is higher than the receiving tank
2. Create a heat source for the fill tank (strong sunshine works).
3. Chill the receiving tank – we put a wetsuit on the tank and fill it with ice.
4. Voila, the tank fills much better but it is definitely a pain.
If we were making cooktop decisions today, we would definitely choose induction cooking becasue:
|~we already have a generator on board which can easily top up our batteries|
|~we would gain storage space where we currently have two 20 lbs tanks|
|~we would eliminate the gas sniffer that sometimes alarms erroneously|
|~we would not have to search for cooking gas|
|~we would not have to dinghy to town to buy refill tanks|
One caveat here is that we are from Texas and in the past a good amount of our cooking has been meats cooked on the BBQ grill. We definitely enjoy our gas grill and I think we would miss it.
This leads me to our next change which is dietary. I cannot credit or lay this solely at the feet of Nikki and Jason, (did you catch that one?) but rather I’ll put this on our sons, Hunter and Clayton, who have been encouraging us to eat less meat, as well as on Amelia, who was on board with us for several months.
Hunter, Clayton, Amelia, Nikki and Jason are all vegetarian and do not eat meat. If they do eat meat, it is not often. Considering only these five people, in the last seven months we have had vegetarians eating with us for all but six weeks!
Frank and I have been perfectly happy to adjust our eating habits and we actually feel good about the dietary changes. Though I admit, it feels a little frustrating and intimidating to learn a whole new way of cooking after a lifetime of cooking “my way.”
My solution was to simply put the vegetarians to work and have them teach me how to cook the meals they like to eat. I became the secondary in my own kitchen much of the time and tried to learn how to cook the dishes they made.
The result of the vegetarian cooking is that Frank and I feel good and we have each lost over 15 pounds. The meals are delicious and we are eating a greater variety of foods. We also feel good that adjusting our eating habits is a positive for the planet. Although we do enjoy and feel positive about the vegetarian cuisine, we still enjoy a hamburger on the grill or a smoked turkey sandwich for lunch occasionally.
Currently we are eating less meat and we feel good physically and about the impact of our choices.
Water Catchment System
Water catchment is not a new idea but the systems have been refined as have methods for purification of the water. We have been very happy with our Spectra WaterMaker, but if we were building our boat today, we would incorporate a water catchments system to reduce our reliance on a water maker.
HH Catamarans designed our coachroof with an excellent drainage system and it would be pretty simple to catch that water and use it. If we were redesigning our boat today, we would add a separate tank that would be used exclusively for collecting rainwater. We could choose to use the collected water for many non-ingestible things; cleaning scuba gear, washing the boat, washing clothes, etc. A UV Sterilizer could easily be added to the catchment tank to make that water suitable for all purposes.
On our boat, about 80 percent of the water we use does not need to be potable, so water catchment would greatly reduce the energy we use creating purified water. Especially with the global issues of water shortage, rain catchment makes absolute sense, as does grey water recycling! But that is a rabbit hole we won’t jump down today.
The Wynns will have a water catchment built into their new HH44. Check out their site for details on how that will work on Curiosity 2.
Dinghies: Electric, 2-stroke or 4-stroke
The Wynns and the Stiches had plenty of conversations about dinghies and engines. We had points we agreed on and those we didn’t. But I think we all learned a little and enjoyed discussing the options. The Wynns are buying an OC Tender which I think will have an electric motor.
When we were buying a dinghy for Ticket to Ride, the OC Tender was a new product and we were unable to see or test drive one. We found the OC intriguing but the delivery timeframe and cost were too much to warrant serious consideration.
Today we are still extremely happy with our Highfield rigid inflatable, however, for several months we have been contemplating a different engine. Currently we have a bulletproof, 2-stroke, 15hp Yamaha engine. This Yamaha is the same engine we had on our first tender and we bought it because it is extremely reliable, lightweight and easily serviced. Again, we wanted reliability for remote areas.
However, the 2-stroke engine is loud and it consumes a lot of gasoline. Plus we seem to have more people on our dinghy these days and a more powerful engine would allow us to plane with more weight in the dinghy.
The electric engine concept is beyond our desire to take on the unproven; however, the idea of a quieter, more fuel efficient 4-stroke is of interest. Frank’s research shows that we could buy a 25hp, 4-stroke engine that would add 50 pounds of weight to the dinghy, but would improve fuel efficiency, add more power, reduce emissions and give us a much quieter outboard. Because the 4-stroke is more fuel efficient, we could also reduce the number of spare gas cans we carry on TTR.
Unlike Jason and Nikki, we are not ready to buy into the electric engine world. But we do like the idea of reducing noise and emissions and look forward to hearing how their new dinghy and engine work out for them.
Although the Wynns were on board for what seemed like a short time, we did go, go, go. Go, go, go means anchor up and anchor down frequently and every time the anchor on TTR goes up or down we start our twin 57hp diesels. The Wynns presence and environmental mindfulness made us think about the possibility of a quiet, full torque, electric motor driven propeller for those 10-15 minutes of motor time.
In September 2017 when signing our contract for TTR, Eco-Drive / parallel hybrid drive was not even a concept for the ocean cruising marketplace; however, change is happening and is good. For TTR now and the foreseeable future, we will keep our reliable diesel engines and allow the younger, more patient set of sailors to work through the inevitable set backs that come with any new technology. The combination of sails and electric drive has a definite place in the sailing world today; we are very excited that the Wynns are committed to taking this step.
Battery technology, committed consumers, and dedication by multiple marine suppliers are the cornerstone of this revolution and will continue to move electric drive technology into mainstream yachting. We will all benefit from this innovation.
Free Diving vs Scuba Diving
One other topic that has come up a lot lately is free diving versus scuba diving. The four of us enjoyed numerous tank dives during the Wynns visit; however, Nikki and Jason are the latest in a number of TTR visitors who have embraced free diving.
Frank and I have been diving since before many of our guests were even born, so to us it is a natural choice. We play around, practicing our breath holding when we snorkel, but we have not taken any courses or researched free diving.
We have the luxury of a compressor on board Ticket to Ride, so diving is pretty easy for us. We understand the appeal of free diving, especially the ease and lack of equipment. But we also really enjoy the relaxed, beautiful feeling of staying under water and observing the marine life up close for an hour at a time.
For us, for now, we will continue to scuba dive and just play around with the free diving when we are snorkeling.
Ahhhhh!! Last but not least, cocktails! Sundowners are an important part of the day. Isn’t cruising all about beach walks and umbrella drinks? The Wynns have made a beneficial contribution to our evening cocktails by introducing us to their favorite local fruit juices.
Frank has been trying to find a replacement for tonic water in his evening gin drink and Nikki suggested pamplemousse juice. She was correct! Pamplemousse is an excellent replacement for the tonic water and it is a great mixer for vodka too. Replacing high fructose corn syrup with a local juice is a good thing – a Wynn win? 🙂
Frank and I thoroughly enjoyed having Jason and Nikki with us on TTR. They are very fun people, excellent sailors and easy guests to have on board. They are also very hard workers! Nikki and Jason spend a lot of time gathering information and beautiful videos to share with their subscribers and Patrons. It is easy to observe that they expend a lot of hours and effort trying to insure their videos are professional, beautiful and informative.
As you can tell from this blog, reliability was a major factor in our decisions while building our HH55 and reliability combined with diligent maintenance has allowed us to adventure and enjoy the many places that Ticket to Ride has taken us. We are extremely thankful to HH Catamarans and Morrelli and Melvin for helping us make sound decisions that were on target for our needs based on availability and known reliability five years ago. Ticket to Ride is a very stable, reliable platform where the fun to work ratio greatly favors the fun side.
Innovations have changed the boat building world in a positive way as consumers’ interests in the environment and carbon footprint have blossomed. For now Ticket to Ride and her systems continue to provide a wonderful platform for sailing, living and entertaining.
Thank you for stopping by to read our blog. We welcome your questions or thoughts in the comments. Wishing you good health and fun adventures.