The original meaning of the word ‘paraphernalia’ comes from the Latin ‘parapherna’, which is property apart from a dowry retained by a woman after her marriage; nowadays the word is used to describe miscellaneous articles, especially equipment needed for a particular activity.
Well, as the excitement builds because of my forthcoming departure aboard ‘Ladybird’ for her summer cruise, I’m sorting out paraphernalia that I shall or may need to help make my cruise safe and pleasurable. I’m always surprised each year when it comes to this time, how much ‘clobber’ I accumulate, a fair amount of which I seldom or never use. The photo above shows the sort of things I take, bit by bit to the yacht before the cruise begins.
The only essential items shown in the photo are my tools, in the black plastic box and a set of screwdrivers in the blue container. I could get away with not taking the unleaded petrol can, the 12 volt battery charger and the extension mains light, but why forfeit taking them if they could be useful? When the boat is at a marina, the ship’s battery can be topped-up by the charger and I can use the mains light at night. I am not convinced of the efficacy of the cylindrical radar reflector, but if I were to be caught out in fog, hoisting it up the mast may do something to make ‘Ladybird’ more visible on the radar screens of vessels in the vicinity. The very old, sun-bleached baseball cap could be useful; that’s if I happen to lose the other ones I already have aboard the boat. I’ve lost count of the number of caps that were once owned by me, which were taken by the wind or were knocked off my head by the boom into the sea. At least two of them I managed to retrieve, only for them to be consigned at a later date to Davy Jones’s locker, by courtesy of the wind.
I have a standard checklist for all essential gear and items required for cruising, but I won’t bore you with it. Every time I return after a cruise I look at the crumpled clothing I never used, but I like to play safe by having more than I think I shall need, just in case I take a ducking, or in some other situation my clothing becomes wet. Wearing wet clothes does nothing for morale. Keeping warm and dry, being well fed and having sufficient sleep, are factors that contribute towards a successful cruise; therefore it is essential to have effective clothing, nutritious food and a dry, comfortable bunk. Unlike ocean cruising, the coastal yachtsman can replenish his stores and get hold of things he may need.
Dave Bolduc’s Inventory List for ‘Little Cruiser’