Best Explorer is the boat we selected and got to sail along the Northwest Passage. She has proved perfect for our purposes and as we know her in depth we will continue to use her for our voyages
Best Explorer is a steel cutter with a full length of 15.17 metres. It was designed by the Giorgetti and Magrini Studio and built in 1984. The boat is classified as 100 A 1.1 by RINA (which means it is in perfect repair). Its displacement is around 25 tonnes with a minimum draught of 1.4 metres and a centreboard which, when fully lowered, has a draught of 2.9 metres
The lifted centreboard permits approaches and navigation in shallow waterways such as those often encountered in the north. The bow has been reinforced and is stainless steel with a thickness of 6mm compared to the 5mm of the rest of the hull. Navigating in ice packs you can hit sheets of ice quite violently yet the hull valiantly whitstands the shocks. There is an ample supply of sails mostly in pairs. The sail working surface area to the north (mainsail and Yankee 2) is 80 square metres and the mainsails are full batten. A storm mainsail is also present (with its own track) and a storm jib..
The interior is caulked with 10 cm of foam. The skylights are protected with removable polycarbonate which avoids condensation. The boat is heated by three independent systems, among which a stove that doesn’t require electricity to function. There are 5 cabins; the bow one is used as a storeroom and a technical area during long passages. The other four cabins have 2 berths each, the two back ones are doubles. There are 3 washrooms with showers and hot and cold water.
The galley uses a propane cooker with four elements, an oven and grill (which isn't influenced by the cold). There is a refrigerator and a freezer. The dining area has two tables; one that seats eight and the other three, which is normally used for writing and working on the computer. In the charts table area, reserved for the skipper, are all the instruments and the electrical control panel.
There is also a radio and satellite communication system, one of which is high-speed. The 12V plug (the on-board system is 24V) is an inverter to generate small amounts of 220V power. Best Explorer's radio system consists of a dual system of both SSB and VHF radios. One of the SSB radios is set up for digital communication via modem. One of the VHF ones is a high-speed satellite radio suitable for GMDSS, an emergency communication system. The instruments have all the standard necessities for navigation. There are two graphic plotters for mapping, one internal and the other external near the steering gear. The automatic pilot is controllable internally and externally.
Its motor is an a Solé Diesel engine SM-105, 95 hp at 2500 rpm,. There are five gas tanks for a total of 1,800 litres and two water tanks that hold a total of 1,600 litres. The motorized cruising speed is 7 knots with an autonomy of 2,000 miles.
On the mast there is a crow's nest for spotting ice, reefs and animals. The cockpit is covered by a textile doghouse and can be completely sealed. At the stern there is a roll-bar that supports all the antennas and the radar. At the stern pulpit there is an outboard motor and two dinghies, fit for five people, secured on deck. The pulpit also holds two fixed rolls of mooring lines of 120 and 150 metres. Back at the stern is a platform to manoeuvre the dinghy and a portal for raising loads from the sea. The boats equipment includes a SOLAS life raft (like the ones for ships) for eight people, self-inflatable 275N life belts with manual pull cord for everyone on deck, EPIRB transmitter and radar responder, as well as several VHF portable radios and the standard emergency signals. For anchoring there are two winches, one at the bow and one at the stern, with 100 and 60 metres of 10 mm chain respectively, a 35 kg CQR bower anchor and a 30 kg Danforth anchor, plus two 16 kg grapnels.
Inside the boat
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