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Old 18-11-2013, 08:40   #136
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
How about this:

A simple boat is one where you yourself can repair EVERY system or part of the boat with skills you possess, and with tools and materials that you carry on board.

Damn few of us cruisers can meet that criterion!

Jim
So what you are essentially saying is that I could have a simple boat that could have enough "stuff" that I would spend every waking moment repairing and maintaining with no time for sailing.

Instead, I submit that the less time I am required to perform work on the boat - maintenance and repair - the more simple the boat is. As I add equipment I am, by default, adding complexity, i.e., more maintenance and repair tasks.
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Old 18-11-2013, 08:53   #137
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Instead, I submit that the less time I am required to perform work on the boat - maintenance and repair - the more simple the boat is. As I add equipment I am, by default, adding complexity, i.e., more maintenance and repair tasks.
Echoing your thought... we recently spent a few nights in a marina hiding from a good blow, our neighbor was spending the month there getting parts for and fixing all kinds of systems we don't have.

I would recommend starting with a bare boat and cruising with minimal systems until you work out what you really need. This approach has worked great for us and saved us a ton of cash.
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Old 18-11-2013, 10:47   #138
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
So what you are essentially saying is that I could have a simple boat that could have enough "stuff" that I would spend every waking moment repairing and maintaining with no time for sailing.

Instead, I submit that the less time I am required to perform work on the boat - maintenance and repair - the more simple the boat is. As I add equipment I am, by default, adding complexity, i.e., more maintenance and repair tasks.
Well, I think you missed my (possibly poorly presented) point!

The reality is that most cruisers can not claim to meet my criteria for simplicity with the stuff on their boats. Thus, their boats are not simple. Removing all the unrepairable systems and gear from their boats would then make them simple, meeting your definition of not requiring them to perform work instead of sailing.

Another reality is that very few modern sailors are willing to forego the devices and systems that deny simplicity... no matter how many armchair experts exhort them to do so. Using myself as an example, I am not willing to forego GPS, auto pilot, refrigeration, electric windlass and countless other conveniences that make an active cruising program possible for us as Ann and I continue to age. In the event of failure of such systems, I do have backup methods that should keep us from disaster, and in fact have done so for a long time. I do need to spend some time working on my boat... sometimes stuff that I don't particularly like doing. But I recognize that doing the work has allowed us to continue to manage around five thousand miles of sailing each year, visiting interesting destinations in some degree of comfort. Were I to be in a "simple" boat I doubt that the additional sailing days gained from not working on the boat would be spent in such voyaging. The "simple" boat would not be suitable for us to do serious cruising.

So, in the long run, all cruising boats are a compromise between simplicity and low maintenance requirements on one hand and complexity/higher maintenance on the other. Finding the correct balance may take a few iterations for each new cruiser -- often called "getting experience" -- but blanket admonitions to "go simple" are not always beneficial to the newbie... or to the experienced sailor!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 18-11-2013, 11:33   #139
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Remember the Volkswagen beetle?
yep and drive one most everyday...1966, gets 28-30mpg and requires hand tools for most repairs....and parts are inexpensive.

Kind oof like my Alberg 30, Very simple systems and easy and cheap(er) to repair, especially because it is all done by me.
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Old 18-11-2013, 12:26   #140
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

It's funny how complicated this question of simplicity seems to be .

Here's another way to think about it: What is the supposed purpose of having a "simple" boat? To borrow a Lin & Larry Pardey term (and I hope Im using it correctly Lin), it is to make your boat "unstoppable." IOW, the goal is to minimize the show-stoppers -- things that force you to halt or unduly limit your cruising.

For me, this means first understanding my wants vs my needs. This can be hard to do when faced with the whole West Marine catalog, but with time and experience one learns what is really important.

From there I look to systems that are 1). either very reliable, 2). systems that I can maintain and/or repair, or finally 3). systems that I can have maintained/repaired.
  1. Reliable systems can be very complex, a hand-held GPS is a good example. But since they just work all the time, they pass the "simplicity" test for me.
  2. Other systems, like a windvane or manual winch/windlass, require maintenance and repair, but I have the skills to do manage them, so those too are "simple."
  3. With enough money and access to skilled people, I can manage other systems that would otherwise be out of reach for me. Here I'd personally include refrigeration and significant parts of my diesel engine.
So if it's all about making a cruising boat unstoppable, then the advice to get a simple boat is the right one, but since we each have different needs, different skills, and different financial resources, my simple boat is not going to be identical to yours. It's like what Jim just said: it comes down to experience, and finding the right balance.
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Old 18-11-2013, 18:20   #141
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I wonder how much of the "simplicity" conversation is really a conversation about money.

A lot of people, myself included, need to choose between, say a watermaker and new standing rigging. If we had great resources we would probably have a bigger boat, a watermaker, radar and eat more red meat. But for cruisers with modest means simllicity is not a choice, it is a necessity, The Pardeys, Annie Hall and the Goodlanders make no bones about scrapping to get by.
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Old 18-11-2013, 21:54   #142
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

The question I'm searching to answer for myself is... what is essential in outfitting my boat for health, comfort, reliability, safety, and ease of maintenance without going overboard? (no pun intended).
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Old 28-11-2013, 15:43   #143
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Originally Posted by jkindredpdx View Post
The question I'm searching to answer for myself is... what is essential in outfitting my boat for health, comfort, reliability, safety, and ease of maintenance without going overboard? (no pun intended).
What I find missing in this discussion is the "female factor", which we males tend to underestimate when deciding on boat size and equipment to buy. We, that is the no longer single males, are often obstructed in sailing activities by the female companion who doesnt like boats nor sailing, because of the cramped space for powdering the nose or because the boat leans over too far. That's why one should consider her comfort with that extra space on a bigger boat and the extra equipment that makes it easier for her. With a few tricks like this I have managed to do a hell of a lot of sailing for many years with my otherwise reluctant wife and the prospects are still looking good for years to come.
Another factor regarding a more complicated boat is the age factor, as the older you get the more comfort and assistance you need, and so you cram it with complex equipment and risk the breakage factor, as you are anyway less impatient to get out of the marina ad you dont mind taking it easy.
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Old 28-11-2013, 18:48   #144
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by Lauriesail View Post
What I find missing in this discussion is the "female factor", which we males tend to underestimate when deciding on boat size and equipment to buy. We, that is the no longer single males, are often obstructed in sailing activities by the female companion who doesnt like boats nor sailing, because of the cramped space for powdering the nose or because the boat leans over too far. That's why one should consider her comfort with that extra space on a bigger boat and the extra equipment that makes it easier for her. With a few tricks like this I have managed to do a hell of a lot of sailing for many years with my otherwise reluctant wife and the prospects are still looking good for years to come.
Another factor regarding a more complicated boat is the age factor, as the older you get the more comfort and assistance you need, and so you cram it with complex equipment and risk the breakage factor, as you are anyway less impatient to get out of the marina ad you dont mind taking it easy.
Wonderful post.
It will help to keep my dream alive for a while longer.
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Old 28-11-2013, 19:19   #145
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by jkindredpdx View Post
The question I'm searching to answer for myself is... what is essential in outfitting my boat for health, comfort, reliability, safety, and ease of maintenance without going overboard? (no pun intended).
Comfort is not an essential.

The level of comfort needed to make cruising a worthwhile lifestyle is another question altogether and only you can answer that. How much you enjoy camping is probably a decent indicator. If you enjoy camping then you probably can live closer to the minimum level. Or if you are really driven and are short of money, that would work too. Personal thing. How handy you are at maintenance is also an issue.

The other qualities are easier to answer but are still somewhat dependent on your level of risk tolerance. The handier you are the more likely you are to be able to maintain whatever comforts and other systems you chose.
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Old 28-11-2013, 19:55   #146
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by Lauriesail View Post
What I find missing in this discussion is the "female factor", which we males tend to underestimate when deciding on boat size and equipment to buy. We, that is the no longer single males, are often obstructed in sailing activities by the female companion who doesnt like boats nor sailing, because of the cramped space for powdering the nose or because the boat leans over too far.
I feel compelled to say that while this wisdom works for some, perhaps even many sailing couples, it is not a universal truth. The "female factor" in my duo does not need more space to powder her nose ... ever. Nor does she worry about boat heeling ... except to order a reef (assuming she is on the helm at that moment).

As Adelie says, comfort is a relative concept that can only be defined by the individuals involved. It depends on what you are used to. If your land life is full of luxuries and comforts, then you will bring those needs to your boat. If your needs on land (due to personal disposition, or more likely financial ability) are more basic, then you will be happy with a "simple" boat.
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Old 29-11-2013, 06:59   #147
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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I feel compelled to say that while this wisdom works for some, perhaps even many sailing couples, it is not a universal truth. The "female factor" in my duo does not need more space to powder her nose ... ever. Nor does she worry about boat heeling ... except to order a reef (assuming she is on the helm at that moment).

As Adelie says, comfort is a relative concept that can only be defined by the individuals involved. It depends on what you are used to. If your land life is full of luxuries and comforts, then you will bring those needs to your boat. If your needs on land (due to personal disposition, or more likely financial ability) are more basic, then you will be happy with a "simple" boat.
Totally agree...The reality is that no matter how many creature comforts a boat has, it does little in a rough seaway to make one comfortable. Many relationships either end or the boat gets put up for sail after a small passage.
I'm in La Paz now and you should see the pile of forgotten dreams for sale here. My personal feeling is the couple has to have an open minded personality and sense of adventure.
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Old 29-11-2013, 07:08   #148
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The "female factor" in my duo does not need more space to powder her nose ... ever. Nor does she worry about boat heeling ... except to order a reef (assuming she is on the helm at that moment).
+1 If your wife is not excited to cruise and sail in partnership with you then you are fighting an uphill battle. Unless, of course, you are wealthy and can buy her off with a whiz bang sailboat w/ all the amenities of a condo.

If you are of modest means and you are determined to cruise and then you are better off taking the financial hit of divorce and than dragging along an unwilling partner.

A large subset of cruisers spend much of their social time complaining about their spouses. I hear it from men on the dock, my wife hears it from women in the bathroom. Lots of very unhappy boats out there.

The happy ones are usually either wealthy beyond my imagination or are on simple/modest boats with two willing partners,
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Old 29-11-2013, 07:18   #149
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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A large subset of cruisers spend much of their social time complaining about their spouses. I hear it from men on the dock, my wife hears it from women in the bathroom. Lots of very unhappy boats out there.
None of this is limited to boats, people do this in general as a sport. The same couple would be complaining just as much on land.


On the other hand, I expect a lot of women take offense to the gender based change in the direction of this thread.

Personally for me I like the same comforts on the boat that get spoken as "the women like". Lots of the things that guys say are needed "by women" I don't really understand why a man wouldn't want. If a guy doesn't find some of those things as important it isn't any wonder that they can not find a partner or friend to sail with.
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Old 29-11-2013, 07:41   #150
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Personally for me I like the same comforts on the boat that get spoken as "the women like". Lots of the things that guys say are needed "by women" I don't really understand why a man wouldn't want. If a guy doesn't find some of those things as important it isn't any wonder that they can not find a partner or friend to sail with.
Right. Simple or complicated the important thing is you have two willing partners (male or female).

If your partner is not willing you might be happier giving up your dream, going alone or finding a new partner.
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