Chip-Chip is a traditional long keeler, namely a Great Dane 28 from 1970. The first owners clearly bought the boat to go cruising, and after all these years we still benefit from this. Every inch of the boat has, for example, been utilized for storage and the originally salt water cooled engine was changed to fresh water cooling a long time ago etc. Other things, like a Decca navigation instrument, a system which was turned off in 2000, was less useful for us, and the first winter we sorted through the boat and decided what to keep and what not to keep.

When you enter the cabin of Chip-Chip, you see a bed in the starboard side, going aft below the cockpit. This is where Runa sleeps. Along the starboard side is the kitchen located, with the original Optimus 55/155 kerosene stove still in place. On the port side, we have all the instruments and a dinette, which can be made into a rather narrow double bed. This is where Mattis sleeps. Below the forward dinette bench we have built in a drawer type refrigerator, which we are very happy with. Going forward, we have the head and holding tank on the port side and on the starboard we have a closet, in which we have put shelves in to optimize storage. In the front we have the v-berth where Esben and I sleep. On every free wall space we have made pockets, for example on the toilet door for toiletries, along all beds for random personal things and close to the entrance for lifelines, headlamps etc.


Overview of the Great Dane 28. We have no chart table and no icebox

One of the first things we did after buying Chip-Chip was to get a professional electrician to go through and simplify the system. It had been built up with a double circuit, with lots and lots of add-ons, so for safety it was time to clean up. At the same time, we changed almost all of the light bulbs to LED.

We have added USB-chargers by every bed, by the instruments and in the cockpit, to charge phones, lights, e-readers, tablets and iPods. For larger things we have a 350Watt inverter. This is enough to charge laptops and to run our hand mixer or our immersion heater.

We changed the house battery to 200Ah lithium with a monitor. Choosing lithium means we have more power taking up less space and adding less weight, something that’s important on such a small boat. We charge the batteries with 200 Watts of flexible solar panels, mounted on the side of the cockpit. This setup works well.

We only have about 60 liters in our water tank, so we have added a Katadyn 40e watermaker, which makes about 5 liters of water per hour. This is the smallest watermaker available, and fit exactly in the bottom of our closet. Additionally, we carry about 100 liter of drinking water in large bottles in case of trouble with the watermaker.

Before leaving we replaced the standing and running rigging, we bought new sails and replaced the old tricolor with Lopolight LED lights. For motoring we still have the old lights. In Las Palmas, we further installed new reefing lines and our Walder boom brake, to prevent the boom from slamming back and forth in big seas. We usually use the main sail and genoa, but also have a gennaker on board.

Our main anchor is a 15 kg Rocna with 70 meters of 8mm chain. We are pretty happy with this setup, have only dragged once, trying to anchor in eelgrass. If we had had more space we would have liked a longer chain, but we find that it is too heavy carry in the boat. For the Rocna, we have a Lofrans Royal manual windlass. As our secondary anchor we have a Danforth with a lead rope.

For steering we have an Aries wind vane, from circa 1975, which still works without problems. As secondary self steering we had an old Autohelm st2000 tiller pilot, which gave up when we approached Salvador in Brazil, but which has performed surprisingly well.

Our primary navigation is an iPad. Yes. We use iSailor, because this gives us the capability of importing AIS data directly to the chart, like a chart plotter. We have the charts downloaded to two phones and two iPads, but so far the primary iPad has always worked. And yes, we do of course take care that it is not getting overheated or getting wet. The iPad gets GPS position from our VHF. In addition, we use an older Garmin 128 device, which is set to better estimate our average speed and arrival time, while the iPad uses the instant speed for calculations. We have small scale charts, in case the electronic cards go down, and we do of course have cruising guides for all coastal regions that we visit. One of the instruments we like a lot is the AIS. We both send and receive data, and clearly see that the big cargo ships see us from far away and change course slightly in order not to hit us. We do the same of course.

For communication we have a Standard Horizon GX2200e VHF, including the remote mic in the cockpit. This is very handy when communicating with locks or marinas. For offshore communication we have an Iridium 9555 satellite phone with a Redport Optimizer and a subscription for XGate for email and weather reports. The Optimizer also works as a wifi extender, which is very handy in marinas.

We bought a 6-person Viking RescYou Pro offshore life raft. This life raft was the only self-righting life raft we could buy in Denmark, and is generally graded as one of the best, so despite of the high price, we thought it was worth it. For emergency, we also have an EPIRB, which signals land stations via satellites if it is turned on.

In each of our life jackets we have an AIS type sender, which will show the location of the MOB on chart plotters in the vicinity. But of course we plan on staying on board, and usually we are using life lines when we sail, and have lines along the length of the boat to tie onto when we go on deck.

The engine is the original Volvo Penta MD2B. It has turned out that the engine is much more reliable than we anticipated when we bought the boat. We have of course done the standard oil and filter changes and winterized at home, but other than that, the only upgrade it has gotten from us is a new exhaust elbow and pipe. The only issue on our trip has been the reverse gear, which gave up on the Albert Canal in Belgium. But after help from facebook and a local mechanic, we were ready to move on after 2 weeks. So we’re crossing our fingers that the engine will hold on until we get home again. We use about 1,1 Liter of diesel per hour, so with a 60 liter tank and 3 canisters on deck, we have enough diesel to sail for four days.

We have two dinghies; an ancient little hypalon Zodiac, which is very easy to prepare for sailing and to stow, but which only holds three of us at a time and can only be rown with oars. And then we have a new Zodiac 310 with a 6HP outboarder. This one is much more difficult to get ready for sailing, but is nice and big once it’s in the water. And if possible we just row that one too.

All in all we find that the way we have setup Chip-Chip works pretty well for us.