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Old 10-10-2008, 10:12   #1
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Here's a probable contention, over-prepare?

In another thread comment was made to the effect that the only harm to over-preparation was financial, while the harm to under preparation was a boat wreck. In simple cases that may be so, but looking around my marina, and seeing some of the boats in far-away places, that doesn't seem to be so.

I've seen more cruises, more dreams of taking off with no set plans, wrecked in the marina by two-footitis and saving for gear that isn't actually needed but might make life out there a bit more comfy, than any other thing. Sure, some of them just can't afford their dream, but for most of them the maintaining the boat, buying new gadgets, and getting it just right becomes an excuse for never taking the first step. "We're not ready yet."

The other thing is watching that waterline sink. One cruiser I knew had raised the boottop 6" the year before they left, and the new boottop was under water as they waddled out to sea at last. And 3 months later they were dismasted.

We've all heard it before - cruisers out for their ultimate cruise, rig comes down, often taking the mast with it. But there are far more boats, and in far less well-maintained a condition, here at home yet *their* rigging isn't falling over like this. Why does it happen to so many cruisers?

Its because of all that over-preparation, too much gear aboard. The boat is designed to a certain set of lines, and the rig is designed to carry the loads that mass will inspire. The heavier boat is stiffer, able to stand up to more wind, but the rig is still the same, and it can't.

The loads on everything, from cleats to settees, are increased by cramming tons of food and extra stuff into the boat. All that "stuff" may make us feel more secure before we set out, but it strains the boat we're relying on to keep us safe. Cruisers need to keep their boats on a diet to maintain the health of the vessel, help out their budgets, and instead focus on the most-important safety gear aboard - the crew. An experienced and knoweldgeable crew is far more effective at improving safety than an AIS-B or a month's worth of bottled water.

</rant>
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:52   #2
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Amigine,
Definitely agree with you here. It isn't really the over-preparation, it is more wrong-preparation. I see folks willing to add tons of electronics, refrigeration, watermakers, solar panels........ Before they have done the basics: drop the rig and inspect, drop the rudder and inspect, check the keel bolts. Setup bullet proof self-steering. Get some offshore experience -- a shake down cruise, or on other peoples boats.

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Old 10-10-2008, 12:38   #3
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Amigine,
Definitely agree with you here. It isn't really the over-preparation, it is more wrong-preparation...
Amgine’s lament (legitimately) describes the instant gratification (fast food) approach to preparation.

Prudent “preparation” for cruising is NOT simply buying and piling on more “stuff”.

In fact, a prepared cruiser (amongst MANY other things*1) would understand his boat’s capabilities, including load-carrying capacity*2, and would not overload*3 the vessel.

*1: For example, RonnieSimpson, with absolutely no knowledge nor experience, first CONSIDERED getting a boat in December of 2007 - then bought, refit, and set sail on a boat twice his age (boat 46 years, Ronnie 23 year old) within 10 months of first his notion to do so. He had to be rescued within days (?) of setting out.

*2: See also: Sailboat Ratios
“... Pounds per Inch Immersion:
LBS/IN = WPA x 64 / 12
The weight required to sink the yacht one inch. If the boat is in fresh water multiply the result by 0.975. If you know the beam at the waterline (BWL) multipy the result by BWL/Beam...”

*3: Notwithstanding, I reluctantly admit that I routinely overloaded “Southbound” for our annual trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Exumas (Bahamas). This was not a deepwater voyage; but imprudent, nonetheless.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:53   #4
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Amgine:

I think you make good points. Another that I would add to it is effect on your psyche when you have this plan or dream of setting sail and never accomplish that dream. This has an effect and can turn a person bitter b/c they get upset with others b/c they can't fufill their own dream.
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Old 10-10-2008, 13:21   #5
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Yes, I have seen several examples of this and I confess that we suffered from some of it ourselves. There are some people who, despite their professed determination to go cruising, backed up by their endless preparation and upgrades, will simply never be ready. This doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy their boats. They are serious wannabees - it’s just that they can’t cut the line - it’s always something and they seem to kind of embrace that.

When we bought our boat, she was in very good basic condition and we were determined to go cruising ASAP. We replaced chain plates, stays, hatches, bottom paint, etc. Then we embarked on a whirl wind of upgrades: solar panels, wind generator, watermaker, SSB, davits, etc.- it all wound up costing as much as the boat and the new equipment gave us far more trouble than the basic boat ever did. After 4 months of frustration, outrageous expense, and only modest sailing; we took a practice cruise to the Dry Tortugas and the Keys. Several things still didn’t work quite right, but it was wonderful and as we were about to head back to Tampa Bay, a big weather window opened. Everyone else was crossing over to the Bahamas, so well .... we decided to go too. After some frantic grocery shopping and several phone calls, we were on our way. If it hadn’t been for that freak accident of timing, I’m not sure we would have ever been "ready." We didn’t come back for nearly 3 years. And yes, we were seriously overloaded, but the boat did her job and served us well.
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Old 10-10-2008, 13:30   #6
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Like everything else in life the successful adventurer needs to learn how to balance his Desire with his Ability.

Allow his early experiences to identify personal shortcomings that need more work or modify his dream towards something more suitable.

You can possibly excuse a mouse for trying to mount an elephant on the first date….but not on the second!
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:31   #7
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Amgine-
"Its because of all that over-preparation, too much gear aboard. The boat is designed to a certain set of lines,"
Then shouldn't that really be called gross underpreparation, since the first mistake was not buying a boat capable of carrying the anticipated load? And again, underpreparation, not comparing the loaded boat to the designed carrying capacity?

The seas, unlike the highways, do not routinely have weigh stations where uniformed men pull you over, weigh the vessel, and then terminate your trip if you are overloaded. But the same care for planning applies.
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
In another thread comment was made to the effect that the only harm to over-preparation was financial, while the harm to under preparation was a boat wreck. -snip-
We've all heard it before - cruisers out for their ultimate cruise, rig comes down, often taking the mast with it. But there are far more boats, and in far less well-maintained a condition, here at home yet *their* rigging isn't falling over like this. Why does it happen to so many cruisers?
Its because of all that over-preparation, too much gear aboard
As the poster alluded too above, I would respond that you have totally misunderstood the concept of preparation. If in your preparation you have so overloaded the vessel that it is beyond the design abilities of that vessel, then you are under-prepared. It doesnt matter how many toys and latest geegaws you have with you. The concept of preparation is to have the correct gear and boat ready for the worst that can be thrown at it, plus the wherewithal to make emergency repairs.Plus sufficient food and water for the trip + contingencies

An overloaded boat is patently not ready for the worst
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:03   #9
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I wish I still had the e-mail...

A story I read once was of a lady throwing away paper towels she'd carefully carried from San Diego to Tonga. They'd needed the quarter berth cabin off and on since they'd left 3 years earlier, but she'd been afraid she wouldn't be able to find paper towels en route. Yet they were available in every one of their planned resupply ports.

Here on the west coast of Canada I see summer cruisers out with enough preserved food for a month, yet they're eating at restaurants and buying fresh groceries most of the time. (This is the one I do all the time too, so I'm not just pointing at others.) The only things I've ever run short on is water or fuel, and it wasn't hard to get those either.

I think our supplies are sometimes our security blanket. But I'm trying to keep my waterline above water this year (in part because it had a nasty fringe of baby mussels.)
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:14   #10
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Throwing away paper towels in Tonga?!

I can't believe some local store wouldn't buy them, or some restaurant barter them for a fish dinner. There are no paper mills in Tonga, and everything that has to be imported, is worth money.

Ever see the movie "The Gods Must be Crazy" which starts with a Coke bottle being tossed out of an airplane and being found as it lands in the African bush?
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:28   #11
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Heh, I didn't have the facts of the story regarding throwing away or not... I'm sure she gave them to *somebody*, she was just getting rid of all the stuff they'd been carting around 'cuz she had guests flying in.

But imagine having a spare bedroom so full of junk you can't use, for three years!

Oh, wait. I've got one of those on land. ::sigh:: I think I need to put my life on a diet.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:04   #12
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Well I think this is a very appropriate post.

I've just purchased a boat and I'm starting to fit her out from scratch. If you read the so-called "experts" and purchase all of the recommended safety equipment and tools, you would barely have room for food, water or yourself.

Just one example. I bought the largest and most highly rated abandon ship bag from Landfall Navigation. Expensive, but a nice product. Now try fitting even half of the items that everyone says are supposed to be in the bag, into the bag. You can't. I've only got 3/4 of the items, and the bag is stuffed-- and that's without any spare dry clothing or extra water.

It's fairly obvious that one must prioritize. You take the items that you think are the most important and leave the rest.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:36   #13
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Don't confude preparing the boat with provisioning the boat. It's easy to overprovision but that is readily recitfied.

Not preparing the boat is not undersanding redundancy, minimum equipment and failure modes.

Each "system" on the boat can have redundancy - how much you have depends on the passage and the "risk tolerance.

example -
Steering -
1 - wheel steering
2 - back up tiller
3 - windvane steering
4 - electronic autopilot
5 - windvane parts
6 - backup autopilot actuator

How much of the above depends on what you are doing. Single handed you might think all of it is minimum equipment.

Water -

1 - tankage
2 - backup jugs
3 - catchment system
4 - electric watermaker
5 - manual watermaker

I am pretty much a systems guy and that's how I might go about looking at each system. At some point you make trade offs. With 6 crew maybe we don't have any auto steering at all.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:59   #14
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And with two pilots, leave the autopilot at home.
Sorry Ex. couldn't resist - Mods, please smack my hand.
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Old 10-10-2008, 22:19   #15
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How many levels of multiple redundancy are necessary will depend on the complexity of your systems, and what your philosophies are. For example, the traditional schooner rudder includes a "tip" with a hole so as to allow lines run to the quarters to give an alternative for steering (they could even use the normal wheel to steer under this emergency rig.) You didn't mention sheet-tiller steering systems, drag rudders (if your entire rudder falls off), and techniques for steering without any rudder system.

All of which I've used, because I figure I'm the most important safety gear and I want to know how to do it (and they don't cost as much as vanes, autopilots, and multiple redundancies for same.)

This isn't saying those pieces of gear aren't on my boat; I have the tiller autopilot and I'm looking at windvanes. Just that I know they aren't needed, and we'll see how much weight I can save.

Similarly, each system needs to be examined for real usefulness. If I'm coastal cruising, do I really need an electric watermaker? Will it require me to add a more powerful aternator/bigger battery storage bank/spare parts/additional holes in the hull? How does this affect my shore power system? Again, maybe I'll carry it, but the cost is probably far more than just the one system because on the boat everything is interconnected.

And maybe, instead, I'll pull out the pressure water system and use low-volume manual pumps, and add a salt-water pump in the galley from the engine cooling supply line. Still a systems approach, just not the same solution. (This is, in fact, what I've done, but the galley salt pump isn't installed yet, and the manual pump there is broken. ::sigh:
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