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Old 12-11-2013, 07:24   #31
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
This "it is simple as long as you can fix it" position is interesting. Seems if this was the case there would be a lot less boats in the water.
No ... there are just a lot of boats that rely on the maintenance and repair infrastructure of marinas. I think this gets to what barnakiel is saying; if you're never far from a full-service marina, then you can rely on this external repair and maintenance infrastructure. It's really no different than how most people deal with most repair issues in our society. Car breaks down? Call the auto mechanic. Plumbing problems? Call the plumber. House electrical problems? Call the electrician. When you're cruising far from these supports (or have little $$$) then you either have to be able to do all these things yourself, or better still, avoid potential problems by going with simple systems.

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I'm still kind of waiting for the members who are always advising newbies to get a simple boat to define it and tell us what systems they are willing to do without (I know who some of you are).
Not sure if I'm in your category, but if you want a list, here's some of the choices we've made so far (note though, we are not currently full-timers, although we do cruise in a rather remote part of the world):

In general, go with manual over powered/electric. So:
  • manual windlass, winches, reefing, galley pumps, et... and yes our coffee grinder and even our blender is manual,
  • head is now composting,
  • we row our dingy most of the time (although did just purchase a huge outboard engine for longer travels: 3.5 hp),
  • shower is a home-made manual pressurized system; we shower in the cockpit,
  • we have a fridge, but may remove it, as I did with our previous boat ... certainly won't be replacing it when it dies,
  • our main self-steering is a vindvane, although we now have an electric auto for when conditions are light,
What else? Hmmm... Many of our boat's design is "simple": barn-door tiller-driven rudder, external halyards, good access to chainplates, good storage for tools and provisions, good tankage.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:53   #32
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
This "it is simple as long as you can fix it" position is interesting. Seems if this was the case there would be a lot less boats in the water.

I'm still kind of waiting for the members who are always advising newbies to get a simple boat to define it and tell us what systems they are willing to do without (I know who some of you are).
In the six years you've had your boat what period of that have you lived aboard or been underway?

My observation has been that that advice is primarily aimed at people intending to go offshore for the first time who don't seem to have figured out that being offshore or in a very remote location is fundamentally different from cruising in or near the US or Europe. If is also given to sailors so new to sailing that a bad first ownership experience might turn them off to sailing altogether, better a first experience that is like camping than getting a problem boat that has so many maintenance problems it hardly ever leaves the dock.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:19   #33
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
No ... there are just a lot of boats that rely on the maintenance and repair infrastructure of marinas. I think this gets to what barnakiel is saying; if you're never far from a full-service marina, then you can rely on this external repair and maintenance infrastructure. It's really no different than how most people deal with most repair issues in our society. Car breaks down? Call the auto mechanic. Plumbing problems? Call the plumber. House electrical problems? Call the electrician. When you're cruising far from these supports (or have little $$$) then you either have to be able to do all these things yourself, or better still, avoid potential problems by going with simple systems.

I think it is a very small fraction of the cruising community that does not have access to the repair infrastructure within a couple days. This may mean a couple day transit to a town/city but in general you can get things fixed globally.

I think simple for non-cruising because if you are doing a few weeks vacation a year and then day sailing the rest of the season the complex stuff seems to break down if you don't use it. Since you don't need a lot of stuff in this use case why maintain it as you don't get the payback in use and convenience.

Taking the other tack (at some risk) I list the complex stuff one doesn't really need on a modest size (40 ft or smaller), non-long term cruising, vacation boat/day sailing. I would list
1. Heat pump(s)
2. Pressure water
3. Hot water
4. Auto pilot
5. Chart plotter (use handheld for harbors)
6. Battery monitoring computer (use expanded volt meter)
7. Anchor windlass
8. WIFI
9. SSB/satphone
10. Electric head
11. Refrigeration (use icebox)
12. Power assisted sail handling
13. AIS (use radar)
14. bow thruster
15. sound system
16. generator

This is just my opinion, btw.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:13   #34
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

Simple = camping.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:40   #35
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

I've only lived full time on my 34' sailboat for 6 years and on another for 3 years before that. I must confess that I do have 4,5,8 and 11 from the luxury list.

Single handing you really need a autopilot. Well I do anyway.

Fridge is a small $150 120V fridge, run off a small $40 inverter, powered by solar. Daily energy use is about what the typical 12V system uses.

Wifi, need that to keep you guys straight on CF

The old chart plotter is just to help me do fewer blonde things while sailing.

While a 40'+ boat would be lovely, the cost of the boat and upkeep of the systems, puts it way out of this girls price range. So I go with what I gots. I am as happy, if not happier then the folks with 150-200+ foot yachts. Least wise, I've a whole lot less worry about stuff breaking.

Things I don't have and don't need include a tv, stereo, microwave, toaster, heat pumps, pressure water, electric heads, windlass (a wench on a winch is what I use), smartphone, car, house, bank account, stocks, 401k etc. etc.

Yet I'm as happy as a clam. I learned a long time ago that having "stuff" does not make me happy. Oddly enough, over the years I found that the less stuff I had, the happier I became. Though I'm probably near or at the lower end of what I can get rid of and maintain a "happy" lifestyle....

Being able to do all your own boat maintenance is priceless.

I should note that I have an 8" mattress in the V berth, as a good nights sleep is wonderful. I've a semi home made vented heater for heat, curtains on the windows, and solar to keep the fridge and net book powered up. I've a 3 burner stove/oven for cooking. So all the joys of life in a 150 sf simple (but not camping) boat. But my back yard is as big as all outdoors, I've stars at night, heron's for neighbors, and not a home owners association or crowded road to be found.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:58   #36
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

Trade-offs.

A manual windlass is maybe "simpler" than an electric windlass. But then you have to be strong enough to bring up the (40? 50? 60? etc. lb anchor and the attendant chain @ approx. 1-lb/foot).

A rowing dinghy is certainly "simpler," especially since that eliminates all the outboard motor issues (maintenance, hauling gas, maybe mixing oil, etc.). But then if you want to travel five miles around the harbor... hauling ice or fuel or whatever in quantity... it might take a bit longer.

Eliminating electric refrigeration can be "simpler" too. But then you have to maybe haul ice, or do without (which means fresh food -- today's catch -- or none), or settle for warm mojitos.

Genset? Yep, doing without could be a "simpler" option. But then you might need some combination of solar, wind, engine alternator, etc. just to keep batteries charged... in case you need batteries for anything at all. And if you do, you might need more batteries than you would if you had a genset.

You can apply the same kind of comparisons to almost everything on a boat. Which is better?

I think the answer is "it depends" and the generic "simpler" may only work for some.

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Old 12-11-2013, 10:09   #37
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
I think it is a very small fraction of the cruising community that does not have access to the repair infrastructure within a couple days. This may mean a couple day transit to a town/city but in general you can get things fixed globally.
You would know better than I Bill, but the other aspect is money, or lack thereof. Doesn't matter how close I am to marina services, I still have to do most of my own work myself. This is why I need systems that are simple to me (simple being either very reliable, and/or understandable and maintainable by me).

BTW, of your list I currently have 4 (vane), 6 (simple for me), 7 (not strong enough to haul my anchor/rode by hand) & 11. Actually, we have pressure water too, but we mostly use the parallel manual system I've installed.

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Simple = camping.
And as we all know, Camping = Relaxed and Wonderful ... good point Ken .

We all need (or think we need) different levels of luxury. This gets to my first point of identifying wants over needs. But I grant that my level of need is different than others. On shore I live in a small winterize camp (cottage) on the shores of Lake Superior. Heat by wood, maintain our own water/sewer systems, no TV, etc. Is this camping? I hope so .

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Things I don't have and don't need include a tv, stereo, microwave, toaster, heat pumps, pressure water, electric heads, windlass (a wench on a winch is what I use), smartphone, car, house, bank account, stocks, 401k etc. etc.
Sing it Sister! ... all except the windlass. Love my manual windlass.

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
I learned a long time ago that having "stuff" does not make me happy. Oddly enough, over the years I found that the less stuff I had, the happier I became.
We are in the process of shedding. We move onboard full time next season. Even in our 800 sq. ft place it's amazing the amount of stuff we've accumulated. Paring down so we can live on a "simple" boat is no small challenge, but the emptier the house gets, the lighter I feel.

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
...You can apply the same kind of comparisons to almost everything on a boat. Which is better? I think the answer is "it depends" and the generic "simpler" may only work for some.
My point exactly Chris. "Simplicity" is not an absolute term. It depend on the individual.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:42   #38
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

I think you are taking the statement more clearly stated is: Take the simplest boat you can be comfortable in.

When you ignore the second part, a canoe becomes the prefered cruising boat (seats are an optional luxurie) but for most people this is not a reasonable option (we did come across an old guy litterally cruising the icw in a canoe though with all his stuff in garbage bags to keep it dry).

What you deem neccessary for comfort will differ from what I think is neccessary:
- I want air/con and the ability to use it. If that makes me a bad cruiser, so be it.
- We coastal cruise and have never bothered fixing the autopilot when it broke. We just didn't use it that much.

I think people are trying to steer newbies away from boats with all kinds of gadgets and features that are prone to failure but don't bring a lot a value to the party.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:48   #39
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

I'm with sailorboy, I spend very little time fixing the more complicated systems. When things break, it's usually a water pump, so I just replace with one of the spares I always have... Very easy, only 10 minutes or so. The worst complicated offender is the a/c system which I've simply given up on; wearing less clothing works just as well and is more comfortable anyway.

Regarding the navigation electronics, our two ipads have become the primary system... Easier and less to go wrong.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:04   #40
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

It is most definitely not a one size fits all. I'm squarely in the long hair hippy chick, shower we don't need no stinking inside shower camp. I have a bucket for that after all. But I do realize that I dance to a completely different drummer, far far outside mainstream America.

Nor do I look down on others with big boats, who need A/C or microwaves or even TV. To each their own. Its all good.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:10   #41
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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.............. "Simplicity" is not an absolute term. It depend on the individual.
This has been said earlier and it holds true. I was once at Elizabeth's Dock inside the Deep Creek Lock of the Dismal Swamp Canal and another boater tied nearby sent for a mechanic from Norfolk to change the impeller in his generator. It was simple for him to pay the $300 for the job. I do the same job on my boat for the approximate $12 cost of the part that I keep as a spare and it's simple to me. I have the refer/freezer, manual windlass, autopilot, wind generator, solar panels, radar, AC's, and more. I shop for all these items myself and install them myself and repair them myself. Sometimes I'll remove an item and send it out for special technical repair and then reinstall it. I'm near the boat yards, but I never use them for work other than hual outs for bottom jobs. Most of my purchases or repair parts are ordered online and shipped to my St. Brendans Isle address. 'seems simple to me, but I've been liveaboard/cruising for well over forty years.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:29   #42
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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Taking the other tack (at some risk) I list the complex stuff one doesn't really need on a modest size (40 ft or smaller), non-long term cruising, vacation boat/day sailing. I would list
1. Heat pump(s)
2. Pressure water
3. Hot water
4. Auto pilot
5. Chart plotter (use handheld for harbors)
6. Battery monitoring computer (use expanded volt meter)
7. Anchor windlass
8. WIFI
9. SSB/satphone
10. Electric head
11. Refrigeration (use icebox)
12. Power assisted sail handling
13. AIS (use radar)
14. bow thruster
15. sound system
16. generator

This is just my opinion, btw.

I don't know what boat size has to do with this list (except bow thruster). A autopliot is an autopilot, a frig compressor a frig compressor, a water pump a water pump. Yes going without the listed stuff makes a boat simpler, but it doesn't really have anything to do with size.

This stuff of course isn't needed, but it is just about doing without.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:41   #43
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

When I'm alone on board, things are quite simple, 10 euros per day for food an less than 10 gallons of fresh water. No TV, no a/c, just basic refrigeration. When others are on board, things get more complicated. But TV is never allowed... We tried it and discovered that TV tended to spoil the cruising experience.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:46   #44
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

Righto, Rory on cookie. Still the smallest cat to circumnavigate, simple, small, ye godes it can be done.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:48   #45
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Re: A "Simple" Boat

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I don't what boat size has to do with this list (except bow thruster). A autopliot is an autopilot, a frig compressor a frig compressor a water pump a water pump. Yes going without the listed stuff makes a boat simpler, but it doesn't really have anything to do with size.

This stuff of course isn't needed, but it is just about doing without.
1. The criteria for the list in my post was two parts. A boat 40 and under AND a boat used for 1 or 2 week vacations and day sailing, not long term cruising.

BTW, numbers 7, 12, and 14 are directly related to a larger boat.

Thanks.
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