When I purchased her, she was known as Aquarius and I took the potentially perilous decision to rename her (grabs large plank of wood). The previous owners left a legacy website detailing her previous history as well as the modifications they made. In a recent email to a fellow Drascombe enthusiast, I listed some of the things that I have done myself. As time goes by, I hope to add to this list.
I invested in a new optima yellow top battery at the start of 2009, dispensing with a much heavier, older marine battery. I went for one which was around 40ah which has served me well for the last 2 seasons and hopefully will last for several seasons more. I chose the yellow top since this seemed best suited to what I need - a deep cycle low discharge sort of thing that would cope with being left on the mooring all season. This season I invested in a solar battery charger. This is ideal for leaving the boat on the mooring - just plugs into a 12V socket. I have no idea how effective it is since I have no meter to judge what is going on. That is for another season!! I never bothered with the business of connecting up the battery to the outboard for charging, partly because I don't have the time to find out how to, partly because when I changed the battery I moved the battery and all the electrics out of the rear lazarette into the cabin and so further away from the outboard, and partly because I don't really use the outboard sufficiently often to be able to rely on this as a method of recharging. These batteries are much more expensive than conventional ones. Whether it is worth the outlay is open to debate. It suits me though.
I also invested in a CTEK charger which I use on the battery about once mid-season ( I disconnect the battery and take it home for this purpose), and of course at the beginning and end of the season.
I use the battery for a cabin light, a Flextek 360 degree anchor light which plugs into the 12V socket, powering my GPS and as a back-up for my handheld VHF radio. The previous owner used a raymarine electronic tiller pilots, but it was a bit old and juddery and I understand they use lots of power, so I dispensed with it, and use a tiller brake instead. I might get some LED navigation lights at some stage, but I'm most likely to be looking for some simple ones - probably separately powered - that I can attach when I need, as opposed to a permanent installation. It's not as though I make a habit of floating around at night...!!
Considering some of the mods done by the previous owners, the compass continues to work really well - apparently you have to be careful not to install near other electrical/metallic items to avoid interference. The echosounder/log is going to have to be replaced soon. I have to thump it to make it work. The speed paddle for the log also gets bunged up with weed on the mooring so never works after about mid May. I'm also wary of it because, to install it, a hole had to be drilled in the hull for the paddle. I'm anxious to get that one filled up asap. Also, my GPS tells me my speed So, I'll most likely replace it with another plain echo-sounder, the current one of which is just glued to the hull, just underneath the bridge deck- it is very accurate and useful.
I use a Garmin handheld GPS. It is powered from the 12V socket since it is quite heavy on single cell batteries. This model has now been replaced with an updated range. There are several variants and it is worth researching them carefully to see which one is needed. I didn't and ended up spending more than was required on one which is also has an inbuilt Altimeter - splendidly useless for sailors except for showing tidal changes during a cruise - but might have been great fun if I was also in to mountaineering or hand gliding. Nevertheless, it is a great piece of kit. It can also be attached to the bike at home, logging cycle rides. It details speed, and distance travelled which is another reason for dispensing with the above log. They can be expensive, separate detailed maps need to be purchased and 'unlocked' since the basic one they are sold with is next to useless. Even without the detailed maps it still records the track, which is downloadable onto google earth but, for example, when recently sailing at Hickling, the basic map would have told me I was sailing through a field, whereas the detailed map shows something not too far from the ordnance survey map of the same. I have marine maps for the regions around the east and south coasts. They are no substitute, however, for an actual chart. Needless to say the separate maps are not inexpensive!! What do they say about boating being about tearing up £10 notes...!?