Browsing Tag


0 In gear/ the journal/ the yacht

5 Secrets to Super Cheap Sailing Gear

Sailing is often called a rich man’s sport. Thankfully, a little creativity can go a long way in stretching your sailing dollar. One of the most expensive parts of boat ownership is acquiring the necessary gear for your cruising dreams.

Finding the best deals on sailing gear is an art form – it takes patience, curiosity, and dedication. When pricing sailing gear, we always use West Marine as the benchmark for the absolute highest price. Defender  is a great, moderately priced alternative to West Marine, but you’re sure to find even better discounts with the ideas below. Whether you’re upgrading, outfitting, or just in the market for spares here are 5 ways to find gear for your cruising inventory while saving money for the actual cruising.

Amazon Warehouse Deals

Amazon warehouse deals are opened box returned items that are expected to work perfectly, but can’t be sold as brand new products. There isn’t a huge selection of sailing specific items, but there are plenty of items that will be useful to the cruiser.

Here is a list of items we have found through Amazon Warehouse Deals at 10-40% off:

  • Handheld VHF Radio

  • Camera parts and equipment

  • Galley untensils and gadgets

  • Hand tools (pliers, wrenches, etc)

Ebay Sailboat Hardware Lots

Many sellers will strip an old boat of all of its hardware and equipment. Instead of selling it piece by piece they will group things together in a bulk sale. With this, we have been able to find hardware for as much as 75% off the retail price.

Minney’s Yacht Surplus

This is not your average yacht surplus store. Minney’s is the mecca. With aisle after aisle of stainless steel hardware available for purchase by the pound and an overwhelming used sail inventory that they ship worldwide, we feel downright spoiled to be able to make regular visits to the Newport Beach store whenever we’re in town. We purchased a like new asymmetrical spinnaker for less than half of what we would pay a sail maker, and the dimensions were perfect for our boat. We could not be happier with our purchase. Minney’s encourages cash purchases and will offer 5% discount if you pay with cash.

During one visit, we picked up the Charlies Charts for Cruising Mexico and ironically ended up standing in line behind Captain Holly, the author!

If you happen to sail into Newport Beach Harbor, Minney’s is a must-see whether you’re in the market for gear or not.

Swap Meets

If you love a good opportunity to haggle with salty sailors for their old gear, head to your nearest swap meet. You can find their dates and times posted at marinas.

Here are some of the deals we’ve found at our local swap meets:

  • 4 AGM 8D 240 amp battery (which we first load tested) $200 – lists for $800 at West Marine

  • Origo Oven – $150 – lists for $1100

  • Shackles and Blocks

  • Various Cruising and Boat Maintenance Books

  • All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware $5 – 3 pieces with a total value of $250 new

Not only are swap meets an awesome opportunity to find great deals, it’s a also the perfect way to get rid of things you no longer use. In the process of updating and outfitting our boat, we accumulated plenty of things we no longer needed and were able to sell at swap meets.


Within boating communities, Craigslist is a great way to purchase used gear on the cheap. Advertisements for upcoming swap meets are often posted here as well.

While we have yet to score an awesome Craigslist deal, our buddy boating friends have a serious knack for finding the BEST deals on Craigslist. They say the secret is to be patient and look over the course of a few weeks. They also check the boating gear section regularly even if they’re not in the market for anything specific. Another hint, spell things wrong when you’re searching. If you’re looking for an inflatable kayak, search “kyak”, “kyack”, you get my drift. Sometimes the listings are spelled incorrectly. You might miss out on that awesome deal if you’re too busy with the correct spelling!

 *We have no affiliation with the products/companies mentioned.


0 In the journal

Catalina: Two Harbors

Our first visit to Catalina by sail was for a 3 night stay in August at Two Harbors. Two Harbors is located on the Isthmus and is not nearly as touristy as Avalon. Though there are ferries shuttling people in and out during peak season, you’re more likely to see backpackers and boy scouts. With exactly one general store and one restaurant, it is the destination of outdoorsy types. During our visit, the rustic little town was bustling but not overly touristy, and the weather could not have been better. We hiked, played on the beach, and explored the crazy clear waters of the cove in our dinghy (with our sweet new Lehr Propane Outboard!).

Two Harbors Dining

We provisioned well with our favorite foods and prepared most meals aboard the boat with the exception of one meal on the patio at the restaurant. The Buffalo Milk, beer, and spinach dip did not disappoint, but there isn’t much else on the menu I would recommend. The general store is sufficient for absolute essentials. Some items on the shelves had a layer of dust and a high price tag. I did see gluten free pasta though. Needless to say, I was grateful that we had stocked our galley with our favorite foods. This trip was before we installed our refrigeration system (I know, we lived without it for a YEAR), so used a few blocks of dry ice in the bottom of the icebox to keep things like berries, yogurt, and most importantly – cold beer.

Onshore Facilities

Two Harbors has showers and laundry facilities ashore – all for a price. The showers are $2.00 (in quarters) for 4 minutes. There are change machines at the facilities in case you forget quarters. The showers are hot with good water pressure. Pack light though, because they are tiny, and keep your expectations low in terms of maintenance and cleanliness. Plan to wait if you want a shower at, you know, a normal showering time.

A Word About Mooring

On our first trip, we simply hailed harbor patrol on channel 9 before entering, and they showed us to our mooring. Many boats visiting Catalina are skippered by folks who are unfamiliar with the mooring process. In the worst case scenario this leads to disaster, and at the very least, a captive audience to watch you fumble along. Tying up to a mooring ball isn’t the most intuitive thing, and it’s a little different everywhere. I definitely recommend doing some investigation ahead of time and reaching out to harbor patrol if you’re unsure about anything. We had studied up on mooring, but had never actually done it. Being escorted in was really helpful. As a result, we nailed it on the first try (with me at the helm!). If you would rather anchor, free anchorages are also available about 100 yards from the moored boats.

Shore boats are available to shuttle you from your mooring or anchorage to shore. During our visit the cost was $3.00 each way. You won’t catch us paying that for every trip to shore, but people do it. Plus, we were stoked to use our dinghy.

Our second visit to Two Harbors was a quick and chilly overnight stay in mid October. The moorings were discounted for the winter, and only a few boats were moored in the cove. I’m pretty sure Wednesday night is karaoke night for the locals. We were serenaded to sleep.