SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
The only thing better than OPB (other people's boats) is OPB parts. Buying anything new that has the word "marine" on the box can be detrimental to the cruising budget. The alternative (which we have used often) is to throw something away once it's broken. If we can't fix it with what we have onboard, we always question why we have it before we replace/rebuild it. But if it does turn out to be something necessary to have, then before we replace it with a new version (probably of lower quality than the old one and certainly more expensive) we always consider rebuilding or replacing it with used parts.
The thing about boats is that, as much as some of us use and love ours, there are a lot of them that are neglected, unloved, abandoned, and full of good bits. The trick is gaining access to these goodies. Depending on where you are in the world, you can swing by one of the many used marine part stores, or you can often peruse and purchase their inventory online. Some of our favorites are below.
Our favorite marine consignment shop, probably because we began our sailing lives in Annapolis, is Bacon Sails. When we had our little 25-foot toy boat, we spent hours rummaging through the boxes and piles of parts, picking out treasures for our "someday" boat. Once we got Eurisko, our first stop while outfitting her was always Bacon's. Only if they didn't have it would we resort to the Wal-Mart of the boating world. (I don't even like to say their name.)
Years later, while in the Caribbean, we discovered that we could root through their inventory of hundreds of used sails from afar. We needed a smaller headsail for working to windward in the trade winds, so we consulted their website. For a few hundred dollars we purchased (and had shipped to the Caribbean) a sail that fit our boat perfectly, that was listed in "good" condition. We could find nothing wrong with it! I would consider it "perfect" condition. It looked like it had never been flown, and likely hadn't. After such a successful initial purchase, we have been recommending them for over a decade. Recently I went to their website and saw that, in addition to their sails, they also list some of their other inventory online. We have never been disappointed with a purchase from Bacon's. When we got our youngest son a 14-foot Catalina for Christmas one year, Bacon's had the perfect sails for it. Whether your boat is a common design like that, or a nearly one-off like Eurisko, you can find sails in any condition for a wide range of prices at Bacon Sails. Even when Dave had a sail loft, he sent many customers there.
Once we sailed away from the Chesapeake Bay, we feared our days of strolling through a well-equipped marine consignment store were over. Silly us. When we sailed into St. Augustine we saw in Skipper Bob that Sailors Exchange was a short walk away from the anchorage. Having enjoyed Bacon's so much, we were excited to check out a similar store.
As often happens when you experience "the best" as your first, everything else seems to pale in comparison. Sailors Exchange is full of great buys, but "full" truly is the best adjective for it. My brain short circuits when I'm in there. But if you go in with a specific need, they will very likely be able to help. If you're just wandering through on your walk around St. Augustine, plan to spend many hours or miss a huge part of what they have. A walkthrough is always fun, though.
Not far away geographically (in Green Cove Springs, FL), but over a decade away in our adventures, we encountered Monkey's Fist Marine. Steve is a great guy who will wheel and deal on any item in the store. We have even gone in with a long shot special request and had him search his salvaged boats for the part we needed. Because he runs a salvage operation, if you have a production boat, you may be able to find literally ALL of the pieces for your vessel in the store or out front still attached to his latest salvage job. Great to deal with in person and willing to ship anything anywhere, Monkey's Fist should be bookmarked on every boater's computer.
What trip through south Florida would be complete without a stop at Sailorman? One of our work stops was in Ft. Lauderdale and once a week we took the bus out to look around Sailorman to see what was new. Though we never seemed to need what they had, their inventory is extensive and much of it is available online.
Even now that we are in the Caribbean, we can order from any of the consignment shops above. But sometimes you need to touch what you are buying, take some obscure measurement, see how much it weighs, or gather other non-traditional information about it. Boaters on St. Croix are lucky to have Steve at Gallows Bay Marine. Though his inventory is not yet online, give him a call and see if he has what you need. Or better yet, stop in for a minute, stay an hour. The most comfortable boat consignment store I've been into yet. And I'm not just saying that because he carries my books.
Do you have a local marine consignment store you'd like to share? Drop us a note at Contact Us above or post it on our Facebook page.
MONDAY we'll share a little island adventuring story that I'm almost no longer too embarrassed to write...PREVIOUS
Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?
It's here! My latest book, Years of Ideas from a Simple Sailor is now available on Amazon.
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