Summary of Spare Parts Needed

 Eight months to go and Lion’s Paw will once again be cruising the Caribbean (wet behind the ears new owners). One of the many items on the “to do” list, is to improve the spare parts inventory. Anything can break, you can’t bring it all. I’m from the fresh water north so I don’t have the experience of the long time Whitby 42 salt water cruisers. I am looking for a list of items that you would think are essential in a live aboard situation. Lion’s Paw is sail #315 with a Volvo and push pull steering. Thank you for any help,  Steve, Lion’s Paw is sail #315

Reply from Brian s/v Pilgrim #304

Pilgrim has an SP90 Ford Lehman and carries the following spares. We are
currently cruising in the Baltic with visions of completing a
circumnavigation within the next 15 years.
Not in priority order.
1. Extended cruising kit from American Diesel. I discovered only this
year they had sent the wrong oil cooler, tranny and oil cooler hoses and
air filter element. Check the kit carefully if you buy it. The kit comes
with a limited selection of parts and should only be viewed as an
emergency repair kit. Comes with starter, alternator, water pump,
coolers, some gaskets, filters, engine zinc and hoses.
2. Oil and filters for 6 changes
3. Transmission fluid for 6 changes
4. 12 Primary and 4 secondary fuel filter elements
5. 6 filters for the fuel "water separator"
6. 6 prop shaft zincs
7. 6 prop zincs plus extra screws
8. 12 engine heat exchanger zincs plus 1 extra holder
9. 2 pair panty hose to cut up as air filter element
10. full gasket kit
11. 1 complete hose replacement kit incl water heater and hose clamps
12. compete set of crows feet, 1/2, 3/8 and 1/4 inch socket sets plus
enough 1/2 extensions to reach engine mounts from above engine
13. 4 alternator belts
14. spare bolts,washers lock nuts for alternator bracket etc ... metric
is universal, SAE is hard to find
15. 4 water pump impellers, repair kit plus puller
16. spare electric fuel pump and fuel filter housing for fuel polishing
17. light bulbs for guages, spare LEDs and resistors for idiot lights
18. spare oil pressure switch and pressure sensor
19. spare starter relays ... also fit windlass
20. An assortment of switches, wire etc to jury rig sensor/relay and
regulator repairs
21. Coolant for 2 complete changes
22. there are misc spare parts based on past repairs
23. One spare injector

Fresh Water system:

1. 4 spare filter elements for drinking water filter (each lasts 6 months)
2. non-toxic antifreeze ... not available in the Baltic
3. spare water pump
4. spare accumulator (yes they do fail)
5. spare hose and fittings to repair existing system ... the turnoff
valves do break and are difficult to repair
6. hose connectors and washers ... US sizes not available in Europe


1. Spare fixed blade prop/nut ... Variprop installed
2. key stock for prop, coupler and wheel
3. belts for electric motors, water pumps etc
4. grease guns and grease for thruhulls, prop etc
5. 4 oil changes for Outboard (Merc 5HP), generator (Honda 2000) and
emergency water pump (Honda)
6. Spare spark plugs, air filter elements and tools for Merc and Honda(s)
7. Gear oil for windlass
8. Spare portable 220-110 transformer
9. Spare 300W inverters
10. Spare VHF with battery clips and emergency antenna (not handheld)
11. Wind generator blades, electronics repair kit
12. Spare solar panel clamps and electrical connectors
13. Spare VOM (AC-DC current clamp on)

and a whole bunch of stuff that does not immediately come to mind


Reply from Debi, S/V Serenity,Balboa Yacht Club, Republic of Panama,
When we first left to go cruising, our spare parts list was pretty standard:
Alternator (we changed to a high output alternator, but kept the old one as a spare)
Inverter (same as above, when we replaced our inverter we kept the old one -- still functioning but not as "good")
Heat Exchangers
Impellers (2 of each size on the boat)
O rings -- we have two or more of every O ring on the boat
Rebuild kit for each pump and head
Canisters for the life vests
Silly putty (we were told would be good for small leaks, never have used it)
Bilge pump
Light bulbs (lamps) for every fixture on the boat, including masthead light, etc.
Replacement non return valves
Solenoids (two spares for each on the boat)
After 4 years of cruising, many hours of shopping in port towns and responding to other cruiser´s requests on the various nets, we have added the following to our standard list of spares to keep on hand:
1.  Caulk (outside of the U.S. you can usually get 4200, but anything else is hit or miss.  Caulk has a shelf life, so we seal each tube with the vacuum sealer and store it in the freezer).
2.  Refrigerant canisters to recharge your system
3.  Dinghy glue and patch material
4.  Screws and bolts -- you can find stainless steel screws and bolts but usually with a straight head and usually only in the most common of sizes.  We are partial to the square head screws WBW used when they built the boat so got a big supply from Canada.  We also prefer Philip head screws/bolts.  These have been hard to find in Central America.)
5.  Electrical fittings (particularly anything that is smaller sized used for wiring instruments)
6.  Cotter pins for the prop and standing rigging
7.  Complete replacement hardware for the anchor snubber
8.  Hog rings
9.  Grommets (what you can find outside the U.S. is usually very low quality)
10. For the outboard: spark plugs, oil filter, fuel filter, etc.  (particularly if you have a make not common outside of the U.S.  We have a Honda.  Very difficult for us to find spare parts.)
11.  Sail cloth and sunbrella for repairs.  Also UV resistant thread, spare zippers and zipper pulls.  (You will find lots of people who can do the work, but they will normally not have the materials to do the job.)
12.  Hose clamps
13.  USB wireless booster antenna for your computer (more and more places are providing wireless service, a boaster comes in real handy).
14.  U.S. postage stamps.  (In addition to a supply for the current postage rates, also take 1 and 2 cent stamps for when the rates go up.)

Reply from Mike, former owner of Absaroke
Some tips/suggestions before you head out. As a retired Navy pilot, I spent my whole life playing the "What If" game, what if this quit what would I do. In an aircraft, gravity would eventually win but you have to think of ways to survive. Look at your boat and the components you carry. This will help in sparing for a trip.These are some of the things we did before we left cruising for several years.
The key component is the engine. On our Ford-Lehman, I replaced all hoses and all heat exchanger coolers (save the old ones as spares). I took the main heat exchanger to a radiator shop to clean the core. I also took the starter off and had it rebuilt. Previously while being caught in a tropical storm 100 miles off shore, the starter failed to work. I used my best mechanical experience learned from my old MG and hit it with a hammer. It worked for another three years but I didn't want to chance it when we left for remote places. I also carried a new spare starter because the engine is your lifeline for electricity unless you have a generator (never used it, BUT...). We never had a mechanical problem.
Speaking of generators, I got a Honda 2000 and it was great. We couldn't count on our solar panels and wind  generator all the time. I never really used the Baha Filter very much. The fuel system. The engine quit many times early on due to fuel issues/clogged filters. I eventually solved the fuel issue by burning down the tanks to zero, took the access cover off, and wiped the tanks clean. Not the center as it was beyond repair. I never had dirty fuel again. I had previously tried to have the fuel polished but that was more like a band aid. There was a fuel screen on our manual fuel lift pump that started to clog up so you might also want to check that out before you head out. I don't think mine was cleaned for 15 years. We also had the manual fuel lift pump fail and luckily I carried a spare (changed at Great Sale Cay). For the weirdest fuel failure we had was when we were crossing the Albemarle Sound and the seas kicked up to 3-4 feet on the nose. In trouble shooting the problem, I discovered the original copper fuel line from the starboard fuel tank pinched/ collapsed shutting fuel off to the engine. As we were already having problems with our port tank, I connected a hose from the pickup tube and connected it to the fuel line. I did this while anchored in the sound. So be prepared for anything, anywhere, anytime. When we got to Great Bridge, I was able
to replace the pickup hose from the top of the tank with a marine approved rubber fuel hose. If you don't have an  electric fuel pump hooked in line with your fuel system, I highly recommend one. It made bleeding fuel filters a snap. I also carried a spare electricfuel pump. It really came in handy.

As for tools, look at every possible problem you could have and see if you have the proper tool for the job. When I had to change the manual fuel lift pump, it was a bear. It's only held on by two nuts but to get at the inboard nut was near impossible. A two minute job took forever (so it seemed) to try and find something that would work. If I had a crow's foot I could have done to job in a matter of minutes.
For engine spares contact your engine supply guy and ask him. American Diesel had a ready list that they recommended for various types/lengths of cruising. Besides the starter, we carried a sparewater pump, 2 spare alternators, a spare regulator and various gaskets. Also carry what I would call consumables like several impellers and alternator belts. If you're coming from the cold inland lakes, you'll have plenty of time and places to flush out the spares list.

Reply from Frank Groves - S/V Ciao
I would recommend a spare starter, alternator, fan belts, raw water pump impeller, oil  and fuel filters.   I also agree with Gerry's comment regarding the Baja filter.  I have had 2 starter failures, fortunately while in the states but no alternator failures.
Reply from Gerry
Check out this blog;
very comprehensive. My only minor disagreement would be with the Baja
filter. Very expensive and slow. West Marine have a simpler cheaper
one which works fine.

A lot will depend on what part of the Caribbean you are in. Eastern
side has plenty of sources for all types of stuff. Western Carib less
so, but they are experts on finding alternatives.

Totally agree with having lots of consumables on board. As for major
items, you can rest assured that if you have the part, the original
one on the engine will never break. So don't go crazy and tie up lots
of cash. During our two year cruise we found that having "first aid"
type repair stuff and the knowledge to use it was more useful than a
boat load of spares. Pick up a copy of "Spanish for Cruisers" by
Kathy Parsons, useful book when looking for engine parts, nice author.

Fair Winds


Summary compiled from