Saturday, April 14, 2012

Redundancy

I recently wrote about all of the pumps we have to keep us from sinking in the unfortunate event that we spring a leak. In short, if a pump breaks, we have five others that we can rely on, for a total of six fully redundant pumps: two electric, two manual, and two engine-driven. And we have enough spare parts on board to repair any of them many times over.

Although redundancy is perhaps most important for pumps, Sea Gem is filled with redundant components to ensure that, if something breaks while we are at sea (or even at the dock), we can keep on sailing (or living). Unlike the pumps, not every redundant system on Sea Gem merits its own post (at least for now--when I start writing full posts about having spare water hoses, you will know that I have run out of ideas). Accordingly, here is a quick summary of some of the highlights:

We have two air conditioning/heating systems. If one breaks, we still stay cool in the summer/warm in the winter.

We have two auxiliary engines. If one breaks down or a prop gets tangled, we can keep moving.

We have two freshwater pumps. If one breaks, we still have fully pressurized water. If both break, we have a manual freshwater pump.

We have two outboard engines for the dinghy. Should both fail, we have oars, and of course, our kayak can serve as backup dinghy if necessary.

We have two "primary" anchors, each with its own chain and roller and ready to be deployed. And we have a third anchor and rode in the back.

We have two toilet systems, each with its own pump and vacuum tank.

For communications, we have two fixed VHF radios, a portable VHF, and an SSB radio.

For navigation, we have three GPS systems including two chartplotters. And we have a huge stack of paper charts and traditional equipment if needed.

And, perhaps most importantly (after the pumps), we have two freestanding masts. The mizzen mast may be small, but we have a separate mizzen staysail/spinnaker that could really keep us moving, even if we lost our main mast.

This list is hardly complete, but it hits most of the highlights. The result is that, no matter where we are, we are prepared for pretty much anything and can stay safe and comfortable.

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