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Preview: What’s in Your Ditty Bag? With Geoff Kerr

May 22, 2012

Geoff Kerr is a seasoned vet at sailing the archipelago of Maine. We have noticed that whether he’s the captain of NED LUDD or guest on another boat- he always has his ditty bag, so we asked him “What do you have in there?”

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– So I do have a bag, Eric. It’s what I formally call my boat bag, and some of it’s specific to this boat, but I also grab it if I’m going in anyone else’s boat. They don’t need to know that I’m bringing my own radio and my own chart and so forth, because sometimes it’s handy to have. These belaying pins happen to fit this boat. I’ve got two or three kinds of sunscreen, a couple of odd mast wedges, and I know if I root around down in this pocket, there’s an extra bilge plug. There’s a couple of odd blocks, just little things that might come in handy. Local chart, wicked good squirt gun, always handy. I carry a mask around, who knows, your date might drop her favorite bracelet, and you could be the hero.

– [Eric] May need to unfoul an anchor.

– Go shopping for your customer’s anchor, who knows what. Good pair of binoculars, Maine island trail guide book, which island can I land on legally, and where should I camp. A horn, a noisemaker. Not only legally required, but as soon as you sail in the fog around here, it’s nice to let someone know where you are. Flares and another noisemaker. Navigation lights. If you’re caught out at dark, legally the size of this boat only requires a white light to be shown in time to prevent a collision. But, the more lights the merrier if you really want to survive. Got a minimal, but nonetheless useful first aid kit. The big flashlight. Looking for the island, looking for the anchorage, last ditch, don’t run into me. Flash it on the sails and you’re very visible. VHF radio, as much for listening to weather reports and to get the tide as for theoretically communicating with anybody. My ace in the hole for anti-collision is a strobe light. It’s interestingly legally not significant, but, it catches people’s attention. A little extra repair material, a couple lengths of line, a spare pair of sunglasses, spare batteries, a bearing compass, which serves as my spare compass, and my favorite foghorn.



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