Autonomy is the sailboat’s ability to be self-sustaining without going to port, or in the extreme, able to survive the worst disaster and await assistance. We have prioritized autonomy into six elements as follows:

  1. Survival gear
  2. Ability to navigate in broad set of conditions
    (storms, damage to sails, no electricity, no engine)
  3. Adequate & sufficient provisions for broad set of conditions
  4. Ability to locate ourselves on map
  5. Ability to communicate
  6. Last but not least, ability to generate electricity and multi-safe electric backup measures

Here is what we’ve done aboard O’Comillas:


  • Self-inflatable fully-equipped liferaft canister (10 pax)
  • Radio beacon (ACR Satellite 2 SSM)
  • Signals & flares on boat and inside liferaft
  • GPS positioning for VHF and SSB radios for distress calls
  • Parachute sea anchor


  • Reinforced furling mainsail with vertical battens
  • Backup furling mainsail (factory standard)
  • Furling genoa (factory standard)
  • Asymmetric spinnaker
  • Furling storm jib on second stay
  • Storm mainsail with separate mast track
  • Winches that can operate both as power assisted or manually
  • Electric and manual bilge pumps
  • Two steering wheels
  • Two independent autopilot connections to the rudder
    • Self-adjusting pendulum bearings (factory standard)
    • Direct attachment to the rudder axis (backup)
  • Emergency tiller


  • Appropriate quantities of food for the entire trip. (Add 25-50% to estimates)
  • A refrigerator, a freezer, and a small bar refrigerator with built-in freezer
  • Two natural gas tanks (x hours)
  • Adequate amount of food that does not require to be refrigerated
  • Survival quantities of ready-to-eat food that does not require refrigeration or heating
  • 170 Gallons of water, plus potable water bottles for personal consumption


  • Seiwa Explorer mkII plotter controller with GPS antenna
  • Two portable Garmin GPS (with multiples sets of spare batteries)
  • DMR-200 automated tracking system can be connected to a computer to give its location
  • Two computers (weather data, course, tracking)
  • A Mark 25 sextant, nautical tables & paper charts


  • VHF radio with two handsets and a backup VHF portable radio
  • SSB (single side band) Radio
  • Email connectivity over satellite phone or SSB radio
  • Weather over email and SSB WeatherFax
  • Flares & other visible signals
  • Powerful halogen light can be used for signaling


  • Engine battery (80 Amps Gel)
  • Main battery bank (Four 140 Amps Gel for a total of 560 Amps separate from engine battery)
  • Mastervolt Whisper 3500 (3 kW diesel generator with its own independent battery for self-start & 1 liter/hour consumption)
  • Two alternators on main engine (150 Amps per hour)
  • Fuel 125 gallons or 360 liters (with additional tank)

Finally, if we need to repair something such as sails, engine, equipment, electronics, etc, there is a huge toolbox with all sorts of tools, spare parts, electrical meter, sewing tools, manuals for everything, and of course duct tape.