Saturday, April 23, 2016


--Blogpost written by Bob

As we get close to the start of our cruising time, we are carefully considering redundancies, spares, and consumables.  Redundancies are fully operational pieces of equipment that can immediately take over duty of a failed primary piece of equipment.  Spares are usually components of a system that are stored until needed and replace a failed component at the time of failure.  Consumables are items like oil, premixed coolant, etc.  This blogpost is about spares and this list does not include consumables and redundancies which will be the subject of future blogposts.

Clearly, it is not practical for us to have a spare engine (even though our engine is now 33 years old)--we don't have the space nor the money for a spare engine.  On the other hand, it is very practical to carry one or two spare v-belts for the alternator or even a spare starter.

Clearly we can't store too many spare items.
We only have a storage space about this big.

Where do we draw the line on practicality?

Our Criteria for Spares

I consider the following four factors to decide whether to carry a spare:

(1) Likelihood of failure within the next year or so.

(2) The spare must be for an important system.  The engine is vitally important, our portable water maker less so because we can plan our trip around fresh water availability if we have to.

(3) The space needed for storage must be minimal We only have a small area for storing spares (one compartment under the quarter berth).  We are limiting the volume of each spare part to 36 cubic inches or less each.

(4) Cost is an important factor.  With a few exceptions, we are generally limiting spares to items that cost less than $150 each, most costing much less.

List of Spares

Our list of spare parts we will be carrying for our cruising in the Bahamas is as follows:
(a) two spare v-belts for alternator & raw water pump (4 total)
(b) two spare water pump impellers
(c) three spare oil filters for engine
(d) spare liquids bottle for composting toilet

We are not concerned about our head's liquids bottle breaking, rather
losing it overboard while cleaning it.  It would be very difficult to
rig up something to work while we are waiting
for a replacement to arrive.

(e) spare fan for composting toilet
(f) complete set of spare dock lines & spring lines
(g) spare starter with solenoid
(h) paws & spring clips for winches
(i) two spare winch handles (4 total)

Our spare winch handles will be Harken floating
winch handles like shown above.

(j) spare fresh water pump (we have several applications using identical pumps)
(k) spare raw water strainer for each raw water filter
(l) three spare fresh water filters

A 10-inch water filter cartridge with carbon may not be found in
too many places in the Bahamas.  We need to carry spares.

(m) three spare filter elements for Racor fuel filter
(n) spare line to use as spare for any of three halyards
(o) one electrical fuse for each size onboard

We have at least three different fuse configurations, two of which are
shown above.  Then there are different amperage ratings.

(p) a myriad of stainless steel fasteners, pins, etc.
(q) variety of hose clamps and hose
(r) four spare spark plugs for dinghy's outboard motor (it takes two)


We are making some preventative replacements (like all the hoses on the engine) to minimize the number of spares we have to carry onboard.  Some recent replacements due to failures (like the engine's fuel lift pump) also prevents some needs for spares since it is very unlikely to fail again anytime soon.  If you can think of anything we've missed, let us know by leaving a comment.  Next up will be redundancies and consumables...

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