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Yesterday I mentioned how we had been working to prioritize our things-to-purchase list. I also commented that because we want some of these things to be purchased/completed prior to relaunching Katana, they were of a higher priority than some others. Here is a list of some of these tasks:

  • Replace bulb in steaming light with LED – already purchased
  • Replace anchor light bulb with LED
  • Decide on WiFi upgrade and if necessary, install antenna on mast
  • Decide on installation of mast steps

The four above we want to complete prior to stepping the mast, for obvious reasons.

The next two involve messing around with plumbing and through-hulls and thus we’d like to get them completed before relaunching.


  1. Our experience is that WIFI antenna works quite a bit worse at the mast head and in most cases seems to work best at between six and fifteen feet above the water line. Since WIFI for us is how we make a living (having a charter company) we have put a lot of energy into woring out what is best…

    I’m not a huge believer in the magic of the word “MARINE” and it’s associated MUCH higher price where wifi gear is concerned as our cheap Engenius EOC-2610 (which costs less than $70) has never failed to get wifi where it was available no matter how far we anchor out.

    Fact is most of the so called marine wifi units we have seen are simply stock cheap wifi units stuck in a box of one sort or another… $200 is a lot to pay for a box!

  2. Mike,
    While you have not indicated that the mast steps you intend to purchase are the ones shown in the post photo, my first reaction to the ones in the photo are that they may present an increased chance of chafe to sails and rigging due to their apparent size. For this reason, and for the reduced windage due to their aerodynamic shape while folded, we went with the ABI folding mast steps. Before purchasing, you may want to consider the full sailing process. For instance, our Lagoon came with a small flag halyard cleat mounted on the side of tha mast that caught the headsail sheet during tacking; a real PITA. While the jibsheets are no where near the mast when fully trimmed, they tend to lay against the mast during a tack. Additionally, if you plan to heave to at some point, consideration should be given at to whether or not the headsail would lay against the mast when backwinded and what chafe points become involved. And how about spinnaker/gennaker collapses? Not suggesting that these conditions apply to your set-up, just that it might pay to think through how any mast protrusions might affect the day to day operations.
    With regards to the anchor light LED, if you have the mast down, I would give some thought to a combination anchor tricolor LED which would be much easier to install with the mast down. That would give you LED for the running lights as well as the anchor light thereby saving substantially more amp hours while sailing at night. The February Practical Sailor issue has a review of these LED lights. I have purchased the OGM trianchor with photocell and am not looking forward to doing the installation 70′ off the water but can’t justify pulling the stick just for that job.
    Looking forward to the thaw.

    • Hi Kirk

      Thanks very much for your detailed comments. The image shown is not what we would be using. I don’t even know if/where those steps could be purchased. It is just a cool pic I found. We would likely go the folding route as you have.

      Thinking about the lines and chafe points makes sense. That would obviously present a challenge though if I want to get this done before stepping the mast.

      My intention was also to change the running lights to LED too. That light is actually at deck level so could be changed at any point.

      I do like the idea of a photocel though!

    • We installed the OGM w/photocell a few years ago. It was pretty easy if you already have a tri-color light in place, you basically just swap out the one for the other. The photo-cell is, of course, awesome since you no longer have to worry about leaving the “party” to run back to the boat and turn on the light. The draw is about 0.1A, so less than 1.2A to run for the night.

      The drawback is $$$, but Mike & rebecca have lots of those 😉

      Wi-Fi – Cruisers Forum has a great discussion on WiFi. We have had a number of different ones (Engenius & Alfa for example). Currently we are using the Bullet 2 with Power over Ethernet. Hooked into the Time Capsule it gives us a boat-wide wireless LAN. We have the antenna on the end of a 50′ run of cat5 cable so we can move it to different points on the boat. Agree that running to the masthead may not be the right answer, it just gets it out of the way.

      Steps? For what? They DO make you look like a cruiser though 🙂 – IMO, not necessary (make sure your halyards are in good shape and not chafing anywhere). Buy a good bosun’s chair (or get Rebecca a really long pole extension).

      Fair Winds,

      • I am all for looking like a cruiser, hence the steps:)

        And not having to leave the party to turn on an anchor light is a BIG draw!

        That huge wifi thread on CF give me a headache. It would be really nice to buy the right one first! Well, second actually, as I already purchased the N3 which I don’t think will equal one of these other systems.

        Now, as for us having lots of $$$…

        uh, not!

      • The OGM Trianchor light can be wired in to an existing, standard 2 wire anchor light circuit. A toggle switch is added to reverse the polarity to switch from the anchol light circuit to the tricolor circuit. No need to pull new wire.

        • Is there an advantage to having a masthead tricolor light as opposed to the separate nav lights that we currently have, assuming they were all low-draw LEDs? I think it would be easier to just swap out bulbs.

          I have also been looking at this for an anchor light:

          A self-contained unit with a photocel. I have heard that some people feel it is easier to see an anchor light in an anchorage that is not at the top of the mast. I don’t know personally.

  3. Oh yeah, while I’m at it. If I had to do it over again, I would NOT install a salt water pump in the galley. For us, the few times we use it, we could just as easily use a plastic bowl with salt water retrieved off the stern. If I were on a monohull, it would be a different story, but the cat’s stern steps let us rinse dishes, pots n pans there. Then we can wash and rinse in the galley.

    (add to the TDF! :D)

    Fair Winds,

    • Well, spending less money, and doing more work, is definitely better. I wasn’t sure how I was even going to go about installing it anyway (the galley is not that big)!

      Thanks 🙂

  4. We paid the money for the box 🙂

    We decided on a Wirie because you don’t have run power to it (powered from the USB) and it is easy to put up and take down from our bimini so we can pull it off and leave it inside when we know we aren’t going to be using it and want it secure/out of the elements.

    Our connection inside of our marina is amazingly better. Haven’t tried it out at anchor yet.

  5. Wauqiuez blue of course – it matches the stripe 🙂

    But I’m making a cover that is the same grey as the bimini.

  6. Although I have climbed the mast a good number of times over the past 25 years, I have never HAD to climb the mast, in the sense that it would not wait for a few days. Even with the steps you still ought to have a belay, and certainly if underway.

    So, for the Chesapeake I would give it a big “no.” I would remove them if the PO had installed them. Too many tangles for no gain. Would they be useful looking for coral heads around a channel? Can’t say.

    As for folding steps, folding and unfolding them while climbing sounds annoying, and climbing them without out side edges (just a little lip) while underway sounds stimulating, even with a belay. A good way to gouge a leg.

    • Stimulating. 🙂

      The jury is still out on this one. I did the math on these and it adds up to a fair chunk of cash for the steps, plus labor.

      At the bare minimum I think we will put a couple at the top of the mast to stand on while working.

      • I would not argue against two steps at the top. It is a pain to hang there and not be able to get real leverage to do anything, or a proper rest. Harnesses tend to choke the blood out of your legs, even if you have some manner of foot loops to stand in.

        But still, I only have need to climb every few years, as a rule.

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