A couple of us are just back from a great delivery from Harwich Port, MA to Yarmouth, ME. The distance was about 155 NM and took us 10 hours to complete. The weather was mostly cloudy, with the wind out of the NE at 10-15 knots, air temp was in the mid 40s. We left Harwich Port at dawn, headed south to the southern end of Monomoy Island, then turned East around Monomoy. From there we turned North and ran North along the East shore of Cape Cod. Going was slow at points - we had a head wind with an unruly sea state - involving a large ground swell coming from the East and a steep, short period chop out of the North. The boat handled the wave action extremely well and performed flawlessly. There was almost no other marine traffic out there that day, and saw many birds and one whale (we think it was a Minke whale). The fully enclosed pitot house with ample heat was greatly appreciated.
Having sailed my entire life and doing yacht deliveries for four years now, I have a pretty good packing list I use before I go, but I always end up bringing way too much stuff with me. Not always knowing how the boat is equipped and whether or not everything is working, I subscribe to the philosophy that it is better to overpack and be prepared then to need some key thing that is sitting at home in my closet. Beyond clothes and food, i usually pack spare tools, paper charts, a handheld GPS receiver and VHF radio, PFD and EPIRB. One of my favorite devices though is a Delorme InReach Explorer.
The Delorme InReach is a handheld, two way satellite messenger that works everywhere in the world (unfortunately I have not been able to test this fact yet). Beyond the primary function of the device - being able to send a SoS message, it will also display your LAT/LON and many other bits of information. The function I like about it is the two way messaging when out of cell service range. You can send pre programmed messages to a distribution list you set up, or you can send custom messages to any email or SMS address, and recipients can send messages back to you. In the messages recipients get from you there is a link - once recipients click the link they are taken to a DeLorme map page where they can see your exact location - anywhere on earth. From that page they can also click a Reply button and reply to your messages. See their website here (http://www.inreachdelorme.com/) for more information.
I always take it with me - even if my trip will not take me outside cell service. It is great to stay in touch with friends and family, giving them a piece of mind that you are doing ok. For yacht deliveries I program in the boat owner's email address or mobile number - and send updates on a schedule - owners can see the progress and location of their boat and I can be alert them of any problems. In the case of this delivery, I chose a straight line course from the Northern end of Cape Cod to Halfway Rock in Casco Bay. We lost cell service shortly after leaving the end of Cape Cod and did not regain cell service until we could see Cape Elizabeth.
If you are interested and would like to see how it works first hand, stop by the rigging bench next time you're at Yankee Marina and I can demonstrate.