What is your limiting factor?

What consumable or need drives you out of the beautiful anchorage into the nearest town?

Every boat has a different limiter, based on the vessel and the crew. Of course, some people like to spend more time in population centers and I expect that as our travel becomes more exotic that towns will hold more interest to us. Right now, the towns around Vancouver Island are not huge draws for us. So, what causes us to stop in one?

Last year, as we went around Vancouver Island we found out that our limiting factor was WATER. We carry 66 gallons of water in our main tanks. We carried 10 gallons in collapsible containers that were annoying to store but useful and quickly consumed and stowed away.

We had delayed our decision on whether to buy and install a watermaker until we had some more experience with extended time on the hook. This winter we decided to buy a watermaker which we half-installed in the Copeland Islands and are currently running. We bought the smallest unit on the market (Powersurvivor 40E) and we’ll write more about that when the installation is complete.

Now that water isn’t our limiting factor, what is?

At this point in cruising, our limiting factor is social interaction. Strange, huh? People talk about cruising being super social but if you are off-season, or shoulder-season cruising, in remote areas, and if you are cruising in an area where most boats around you are weekend or work-vacation warriors*, we don’t meet that many boats. When we’ve been isolated for a few weeks, we want WIFI so we can interact with friends and family. If we have occasional wifi we can go a lot longer between towns.

Assuming our social calendar will get more busy as we head South, our next limiting factor is probably a tie between fresh fruit and vegetables and trash. We can go without fresh fruit and veggies for a while but life is better when you have them and eventually our limited trash storage capacity runs out.

In warmer weather diesel is a far 3rd, but in the winter, because of our heater use, it is probably ahead of fruit/veg & trash. We carry 25 gallons in a main tank and 15 gallons in jerry cans.

*In our limited experience, people who are out for a brief period of time are trying to get away from people, or to hang out with people they already know, not necessarily seek out new people. We have met a lot of nice, cool people but most were people out for 3-4 months…and so were in a similar situation to us in terms of wanting more social interaction.


  1. We left Maine in October and are now in Antigua. Like you, we started out without a water maker - but we still don't have one. We've been able to buy water when we needed it and we carry 200 gallons. My personal factor is the interaction/connectivity. We had three weeks in the Berry Islands in the Bahamas during which I had no wifi at all. Installing the SSB and Pactor modem help. I wrote a post about how it felt not to be connected. http://hartsatsea.typepad.com/hartsatsea/2011/01/page/2/

  2. Good post and thanks for sharing it - the pactor is *definitely* a big connector for us.



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