It is now mid May and our family has been actively preparing for our trip for almost a year now. Frankly, we thought we would be largely ready by now but the unexpected has a way of sneaking up on you. A couple of months ago we began to have a series of technical issues with some of our electronics. Specifically, our satellite TV system began having problems tracking the DirecTV satellites, our alarm system began to act quirky and a few other things stopped working. We sent our Sat TV system to Raymarine to be evaluated and they reported back to us that all of the internal electronics had been fried. More of the same news from the folks that manufactured our alarm system. I don’t really like to assign responsibility to “coincidence” and the more I thought about it, the more I became concerned that we had suffered a major electrical event. We hired a marine surveyor to evaluate all of the boats systems and sure enough, he found that we had suffered either a lightning strike or a major surge via the shore power. The bad news is that we had lost one chartplotter, one depth sounder, a VHF radio, spotlight and our alarm system. The good news is that we are fully insured and our insurance company authorized replacement of all of the affected systems. Since we are going to both the trouble and expense of replacing all of this stuff, we elected to spend a little extra to upgrade some of our capabilities. We are installing a new Raymarine E127 Chartplotter interfaced with a new digital 48″ open array 12kw SHD radar that is a much more capable unit than the 4kw analog unit it replaces. In addition, we are adding a Raymarine AIS 650 to help us keep track of nearby traffic. As with almost any project of this magnitude, we have experienced our share of frustration as have tried to coordinate a plan to move the installation along. Vendors and installers have blown through deadline after deadline with the net result being that our trip preparations are far behind our original schedule. I am glad we started getting ready early and remain optimistic that we will still be where we need to be when it is time to cast off.