The Boat

Juniper is a Pacific Seacraft 40, hull #35, built in 1999. She was designed by Bill Crealock and built by Pacific Seacraft in Fullerton, CA.

When we bought Juniper in August of 2013 she was known as Dreamkeeper. Her previous owners had circumnavigated with her from late 2006 to 2011 so she was fully equipped with top of the line equipment and in great shape.

Basic Details:

Length Overall: 42’2″

Beam Length: 12’5″

Draft: Shoal Keel (Scheel Keel) 5’2″

Ballast: 8,880 lbs.

Displacement: (half-load) 24,000 lbs.

Sail Plan: Cutter-Rigged with fully-battened mainsail, roller-furling staysail, and roller-furling 130% genoa. We also carry a 90% headsail, a asymmetrical spinnaker, and an emergency tri-sail.

Engine: Yanmar 4JH2E 52hp marine diesel

Living Aboard Juniper

We love our boat. Not only do we feel safe aboard Juniper at sea, when we’re at anchor or in a marina, we appreciate her layout and comfort. Even though it’s a living space less than 150 square feet, it feels bigger on the inside and we’ve never felt cramped.

Here are a few details:

Refrigeration: Juniper came equipped with a Technautics “Cool Blue” holding plate fridge/freezer system. It is a 12volt DC system that is designed to be “cruiser maintained.” Truthfully, Scott and I often struggled with getting this unit cold enough to freeze our food over the years and getting the right amount of refrigerant while in Mexico has always been challenging. The refrigerant is filled by volume not by pressure, so while it is “easy” if you have 2 12 ounce cans of refrigerant this size isn’t available in Mexico and there’s a skill to learning how to read the sight glass to determine when you’ve added enough refrigerant. Ice also tends to build up on the holding plate which causes the system to perform poorly, a complaint the former owners had as well, but defrosting the plate when the frost reaches 1/4 inches makes a big difference.

Galley: We have a Force 10 3-burner propane-fueled gas stove. It also has a small oven. We carry 2 5-gallon propane tanks in a dedicated locker at the stern of the boat. We also have a double-basin sink with a pressurized water system plus a mechanical foot pump for both fresh water and sea water. We also have a Seagull filter system for fresh drinking water. The Seagull is a must have and is a fantastic filter.

Sleeping and Storage: Our main sleeping area is the forward V-berth. We have guest quarters in our smaller aft quarter berth that we’ve used as our “storage unit” cramming in items like our sails, inflatable SUP, camera equipment, medical bag, and our luggage. In the port side of the salon, we have a lee cloth for when we want to sleep while at sea and on the starboard side we also have a lee cloth but we can convert the sitting area into another full berth that sleeps two. Each area offers plenty of hidden storage.

Head: Our head has a marine toilet with holding tank and macerator, small sink, and a separate shower stall.

Some of the other features we appreciate are: a good stereo system that has indoor and outdoor cockpit speakers, good lighting (led reading and compact fluorescent lights), beautiful woodwork, lots of fans for ventilation, a solid windlass for anchoring, a comfortable and bright interior, a safe and well thought out cockpit, adequate engine access, and a well designed galley.

Under Sail

Juniper is nicely set up for a single hander. All lines are led to the cockpit and she is very easy to reef. Her sails are made by Ullman Sails out of California. They are all heavy cloth and have held up well over time even though we have done many small repairs and reinforcing when necessary. Our mainsail is full-battened with secure batten-pocket enclosures and is on Antal cars and has 2 reef points put in, the second tucked low almost like a 3rd reef on most sails. The reefing lines are both led to the cockpit, as well as the halyard, so we can do everything from the dry and safe location behind the dodger when in wet and windy conditions. For our headsail, we have a 130% Genoa on a Harken roller-furler that we primarily use. We also carry a 90% headsail that the previous owners had made by Ket Sails in Thailand. The staysail is also on a furler. Everything is controlled from the cockpit.

Juniper also has an asymmetrical spinnaker. We haven’t used it because our Genoa is so big and almost performs as well as the asymmetrical with almost no effort involved. We really haven’t had conditions here in Mexico to justify pulling it out and putting it up. Also, we are cruisers, not racers.

The last sail we carry is an emergency Tri-Sail. We have an additional track mounted on our mast for this sail. Although we have put up this sail up to test it out, we have never had to use it.

Performance: If we have at least 6-8 knots of wind we move right along at 4-6 knots. When we see at least 10 knots from the beam or behind, we are usually averaging 5-6 knots over a 24 hour period on passage. Juniper is pretty heavy and only has about a 32′ water line, so we suffer a bit there, but overall we are still very pleased by the speed we see from her even with little wind. Overall, Juniper sails very smooth and comfortably. She is easy to handle, easy to reef, and we both feel very safe with her.

Self-Steering: We have a Monitor Windvane that is very easy to use. You do need to watch your lines to avoid chafe. However, we mostly use our Raymarine autopilot.

Juniper’s Safety Systems

We loved how Juniper came well equipped with safety systems. The previous owners outfitted the boat with gear they thought would be the most important to feel safe for their circumnavigation and we appreciate their careful attention towards safety.

Anchoring: We carry 3 anchors. Our primary anchor is a Delta 55 lb on 200′ of high test 5/16″ chain. The anchor is oversized on purpose and gives us extra comfort knowing that our primary system is pretty solid. Our secondary anchor is a 45 lb. CQR anchor on 80′ of chain and 350′ of 3/4″ megabraid rode. Our stern anchor is a 24 lb. Fortress with 50′ of chain and 150′ of 3/4″ megabraid rode. Overall, we have three good anchoring options and can use multiple anchors if the situation warrants.

Underway: While at sea one of us is always on watch. When it is rough or dark out, we are always clipped in with our pfd/tether to our jacklines or cockpit padeyes. Hopefully, one of us will never fall overboard, but if it happens, we have a lifesling retrieval system. Also, our lifejacket’s (pfd’s) will blow up automatically and there is a whistle and strobe attached to each one.

Fire: We have fire extinguishers in every room in our cabin.

If the ship goes down: Though we don’t ever want to think it will happen, it’s best to be prepared. If we need to leave our boat for whatever reason, we have a 6-person Winslow liferaft we can deploy from the deck of our boat. The liferaft is designed to right itself, take the brunt of almost any storm, and contains survival gear like a strobe, fishing gear, etc.

Repacking the Liferaft

We also have a packed ditch bag with an ACR EPIRB, small hand-held watermaker, food rations, first aid kit, flares, and other survival goodies. The EPIRB is a locating device we would manually deploy that has our gps coordinates and will transmit a distress signal to monitoring stations all over the world.

Storm Management: In the event of sailing through a major storm, we have a few specialty pieces of gear to help us out. In addition to our small furling staysail, we have a storm “tri-sail” we can put up the mast in exchange for our mainsail. It has it’s own track and is designed for serious weather. We also carry a Galerider Drogue we can deploy off our stern to help slow our boat down if we are surfing too fast down rough waves.

Juniper’s Electronics

Communications: We have a VHF (short distance) radio on board, as well as an ICOM M-710 SSB (Single Side Band) long distance high frequency radio. We mostly use the VHF for talking to other cruisers, tuning in to the various “cruiser nets” we come across, and hailing other ships, marinas, or services who monitor their VHF. We use the SSB radio to listen to cruiser nets. We have the means to send/receive emails through our SSB too, but we have other communication options such as a satellite phone, Delorme, and an Iridium Go. We have options to communicate by phone, text, or email and to broadcast our location onto a map.

Instruments: Juniper has a Raymarine C90 chartplotter in the cockpit and at the NavDesk, Raymarine ST60 instruments, Raymarine ST6002 autopilot control head an autopilot SPX-30 “brain”, and a wireless remote control. All of these are linked in together through Seatalk wiring. We also have a Raymarine 48 KW Digital Radome radar scanner,and a Raymarine AIS 500 send/receive unit.

Electrical Systems

We have 2 electrical systems on board. If we are plugged into “shore power” at a dock, we can use AC power (110 voltage) and we have the “normal” household outlets. If we are anchored out, or sailing on a passage, we use a DC electrical system run off of batteries. We also have a “transformer” with a direct external dock connection to plug into any world-wide 220 voltage unit and “transform” the energy to our boat’s needed 110 voltage. Our Heart Freedom inverter/charger works with this transformer. While we have never personally used it the previous owners did.

Batteries: Our battery bank consists of 3 (210 Amp Hour) 4D AGM batteries, for a total of 630 Amp hours total. The battery bank is monitored by a Tri-metric battery monitor. We also have a 4D Gel dedicated starting battery, separate from the “house bank”, so we can always start our engine. We charge our batteries in three different ways. When on shore power, our Heart Freedom inverter/charger charges our battery bank. When using our engine, our alternator on the engine charges the batteries. When sailing or at an anchorage, we use a wind generator and/or solar panels to charge the batteries.

Solar: We have 2 150 watt solar panels. They live off the cockpit side rails, and have been designed to swivel up or down so we can point them towards the sun. We have a Blue Sky solar boost 2000e charge controller to regulate the charge to our battery bank.

Mounting our port solar panel

Wind: We also have a KISS wind generator on a pole off the stern. It generates power when there is at least 7-8 knots of wind. At 10 knots of wind, it will put out about 2 amps of power and power output will dramatically increase with wind speed. It puts out around 9 amps in 15 knots of wind, and 18 amps in 20 knots of wind. It is pretty quiet and we never feel like bad neighbors running it in an anchorage.

Water On Board

We have a pressurized water system for our galley and head and we have manual foot pumps to save on energy when we need to. There’s a pressurized cockpit hose, and a small shower stall in the head. In the galley, we have a salt water manual foot pump that we use to wash dishes before rinsing with fresh water.

One interesting feature that’s built into our boat is the rainwater catchment system. Our toerails are high so once you close off the starboard scuppers and open the water fill cap located on the starboard side, the rain does the rest. If it fills up, the overflow is located in the galley sink, so you know it is full, and then you can open the seacock inside the boat for the scupper. No need to even go out and get soaked. This system fills only the aft water tank.

Tankage: The boat originally came outfitted with three water tanks but the previous owners converted one of them into a diesel fuel tank. The boat currently has two water tanks that hold about 100 gallons total. We have a Katadyn Powersurvivor 80E watermaker that uses reverse osmosis to produce fresh water from the ocean. This unit runs at 8 amps @12v DC, and produces 3.4 gallons/hour. The watermaker doesn’t make water as quick as many, but it is a simple design and it runs on very little energy.

Hot Water: We have a 6 gallon hot water heater that needs shore power or the engine running to heat it up.

Holding Tank: 19 gallons.

Gear

There are so many things we’ve come to appreciate during our time on Juniper. Now, these things aren’t priority, but they’ve made our lives better or a bit more fun.

Highfield CL290 Aluminium/hypalon RIB inflatable and Mercury 8HP motor: We love our dinghy. It’s large and fits on our foredeck, but we deflate it for passages to make room to walk around.

Tower Inflatable SUP: We love using our Tower inflatable standup paddle board because it’s super easy to deflate and store in our shower when we’re on a passage and it quickly inflates when we’re ready to play. We love that it doesn’t take a lot of space.

Companionway Bug Screen: Oh boy is this necessary when cruising in the Sea of Cortez. We encountered more than one anchorage where bees, in search of fresh water, would come and swarm the boat. Being able to keep our companionway open day and night while keeping bees and bugs out is a lifesaver!

Wirie Pro Wifi Booster and Cellular Modem: When at a marina, we use the Wirie to boost the marina’s wifi signal so that we can reliably access the internet. It’s really great because you just log into your own private local network that’s connected to the marina wifi. If you plan on being away from shore and want cellular service, you just put in a SIM card. We absolutely love the Wirie, but while the unit works wonderfully and Scott configured everything, the company has shut down and they’re no longer updating the software.