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Old 20-11-2012, 23:28   #721
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Re: The Philosophy behind Sailing Simply and cheaply

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
Thats assuming you have the ability to 'raise your net worth'. Most normal westerners are stuck in the work/spend/work/spend cycle. It would require many years of saving, AKA retirement, to do it 'right'. The only way out is to change your philosophy and break that cycle immediately.

I could have made a 10 year savings plan, and while still forgoing retirement, could have spent a few years cruising quite comfortably and making a nice circumnavigation of it. The choice I made was to change my way of life. To break that cycle. And to have a little faith...
It sounds easy, but it's not. If you have dependents, it's not easy. If you have family who earn less than you, it's not easy. Even if you manage to break free from that, you have taxation, loss, and unexpected expenses to deal with. Taxation, in particular, is carefully designed to always be more than you thought it would be.

Finally, inflation is the ultimate destroyer of wealth. A 10 year savings plan feels feeble when the first dollar you save will be worth .50 in 10 years, and half that in 20 years.

And where would you have put that wealth? Barring any better education and wisdom, you would have put it into the stock market, where the losses would be locked in by panic selling and the gains would be taxed right out of your pocket.

Finally, once you have the remaining bit of wealth in your hands and ready to spend, the global sales tax (GST) has now exceed 10%. There are scarce few places in the world where you can spend $1.00 without being taxed for .10 of it. If you're buying booze, cigarettes, communication services, travel accommodations, or fuel then the taxes are much higher.

The system is rigged to defeat concepts of wealth and savings. It CAN be overcome, but the effort is quite large, and engineered to always be harder than you thought it would be.
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Old 21-11-2012, 01:27   #722
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Re: The Philosophy behind Sailing Simply and cheaply

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It sounds easy, but it's not. If you have dependents, it's not easy. If you have family who earn less than you, it's not easy. Even if you manage to break free from that, you have taxation, loss, and unexpected expenses to deal with. Taxation, in particular, is carefully designed to always be more than you thought it would be.

Finally, inflation is the ultimate destroyer of wealth. A 10 year savings plan feels feeble when the first dollar you save will be worth .50 in 10 years, and half that in 20 years.

And where would you have put that wealth? Barring any better education and wisdom, you would have put it into the stock market, where the losses would be locked in by panic selling and the gains would be taxed right out of your pocket.

Finally, once you have the remaining bit of wealth in your hands and ready to spend, the global sales tax (GST) has now exceed 10%. There are scarce few places in the world where you can spend $1.00 without being taxed for .10 of it. If you're buying booze, cigarettes, communication services, travel accommodations, or fuel then the taxes are much higher.

The system is rigged to defeat concepts of wealth and savings. It CAN be overcome, but the effort is quite large, and engineered to always be harder than you thought it would be.
I haven't found this to be the case. Maybe it's because I'm (was) a CPA and taxes were always understood. Actually, the rates in the US have been relatively low for some time now, and that's historically true here in the US and when compared to other developed countries.

And inflation has been very low for a couple decades. Simply investing in index funds will keep you ahead of inflation. Losses on paper due to panics are just that ... paper losses that only become real if your sell at that time. If you are invested for the long haul you just ride out the panics.

And finally, if the system is so rigged why are there so many more rich these days? Personally, I've always found the system to be fair if you educate yourself, don't try to get too greedy and wisely invest for the long haul.
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Old 21-11-2012, 01:41   #723
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Re: The Philosophy behind Sailing Simply and cheaply

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And inflation has been very low for a couple decades. Simply investing in index funds will keep you ahead of inflation. Losses on paper due to panics are just that ... paper losses that only become real if your sell at that time. If you are invested for the long haul you just ride out the panics.
Do you know how long the "long haul" is? Do you really believe that index funds will keep you ahead of inflation? Have you made any independent evaluation of what true inflation has been?

This kind of talk is derived directly from the Wall Street and government propaganda systems.

The reason for the large number of recently wealthy people appears to be the propagation of the IPO game, and to a smaller degree the "discounted future cash flows" valuation system - a method of systematically extracting money from people who believe that if they merely invest a little of their excess income in index funds for the long haul, that they will be able to retire comfortably and stay ahead of inflation.
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Old 21-11-2012, 01:58   #724
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Re: The Philosophy behind Sailing Simply and cheaply

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Do you know how long the "long haul" is? Do you really believe that index funds will keep you ahead of inflation? Have you made any independent evaluation of what true inflation has been?

This kind of talk is derived directly from the Wall Street and government propaganda systems.

The reason for the large number of recently wealthy people appears to be the propagation of the IPO game, and to a smaller degree the "discounted future cash flows" valuation system - a method of systematically extracting money from people who believe that if they merely invest a little of their excess income in index funds for the long haul, that they will be able to retire comfortably and stay ahead of inflation.
All I know is it's worked great for me for over 30 years. I retired early (mid 50's) with a retirement home in Thailand and two sailboats in the US, one of which we live aboard and cruise six months of the year. My investments are doing fine. I also had clients that have been equally satisfied and successful.

My comments are only based on my personal experience, as an investor and an advisor, not anyone's propaganda system. Sorry you don't agree. Maybe your experiences and returns have not been as positive.
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Old 21-11-2012, 10:38   #725
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Re: The Philosophy behind Sailing Simply and cheaply

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All I know is it's worked great for me for over 30 years. I retired early (mid 50's) with a retirement home in Thailand and two sailboats in the US, one of which we live aboard and cruise six months of the year. My investments are doing fine. I also had clients that have been equally satisfied and successful.

My comments are only based on my personal experience, as an investor and an advisor, not anyone's propaganda system. Sorry you don't agree. Maybe your experiences and returns have not been as positive.
I think it depends on your timeframes. It has worked great over periods of 35 years, but far less reliably over periods of (say) 5-10 years. If you are 45, and want to retire at 50, it is not a reliable system.

Also, if you've been offshore you might not be familar with the inflation manipulations that have been going on in the U.S. Inflation is far greater than is currently being stated, and is likely (IMO) to hit double-digits ala 1970's style very soon.

Here is my experience with being a high income earner:
After a while, your wife (who doesn't understand the combined effects of debt and taxation) begins to resent your high income and your constant efforts to curb family spending.

Soon, she "discovers" that she is literally free to spend your family into oblivion, and that she will bear no personal responsibility or liability for it.

Later, during the divorce, she leverages a combination of high priced attorneys (you pay for), your own kids (you pay for), and a pack of lies about how you mistreated her to get access to all the income that she feels you have been cheating her out of.

Finally, you are sending here the equivalent of a $50,000 salary out of your own salary. You are maintaining a separate household so that you can continue to visit your own children. Because of the huge burden of the taxation, support, and debt you are only able to work in travel positions.

In the end, you have spent 8 years of your life living off your own per-diems while your 6 figure salary goes to children, homes, ex-wives, and an incompetent mother-CPA who is supposed to be defending your income and your business against taxation and finding ways to leverage your unusually large income to reduce your debt. Oh and a new partner who steadfastly refuses to do any work which is helpful to your business, and is only interested in work that wrecks your personal tax strategy.

I've left out the bad investments...

So clearly there is more to this than taxation, inflation, and debt but they are the very first line of this story.

Children and exwife will be gone in 3 more years. I can only hope that I'm able to maintain 200k+ income for that length of time, as I am already sliding further into debt for every expenditure that exceeds my small apartment, cheap car, and my (thankfully) tax-free per-diem income.

Now that GST are greater than 10%, however, even "tax free" income is no longer "tax free"
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Old 21-11-2012, 10:47   #726
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

I forgot the punch line - anything I earn in excess of this in an attempt to reduce the debt (currently rising at 10%) is taxed at 50%+

Further, the interest on that debt is to be paid with after tax dollars, which is effectively 100% taxation. (this is the way taxation rates are hidden.. income taxes are stated at 50%, but that translates to a 100% rate on consumption -or in my case debt repayment)

As a result, it will take well over $200,000 in income to repay only $100,000 of debt, increasing at an EFFECTIVE rate of 20% per year, and that is ONLY because I have a very low rate of 10% interest. If my interest rate were 20%, the effective rate would be 40%. However in that case the bank would give me a 5 year payoff schedule with a rate of only 3%. Because of my "low" 10% rate, that option is not available to me.

I cannot sell my house (currently being rented for a few dollars of free cash flow, also taxed at 50%), nor a beat up old airplane because of the current economic environment.

If I do sell the house, I'll be facing nearly 50% taxation on the proceeds from that as well. It will not go far in reducing my debt burden.
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Old 21-11-2012, 11:43   #727
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

Anywhooo...

To try and rescue this thread, can I ask about how people decide what goes on their boat, and what does not? In terms of simplicity and sustainability, what drives your choices?

As I've said elsewhere, my objective is to maximize freedom. To that end, I look to systems (and indeed my whole boat, and my house) that do tasks well (quality), but are also ones that will be sustainable by me over the long term. By sustainable, I mean they either have to last long (ex: a good anchor), and/or I must be able to repair and maintain them (ex: manual pumps, windlass).

This latter consideration is highly dependent on each individual person; my skills, knowledge and financial resources are not the same as most (and probably a lot less ). I gravitate to simpler systems, as much for their perceived reliability as the fact that I can better understand them, and can afford to keep them running.

What drives your choices? How do you choose?
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Old 21-11-2012, 11:58   #728
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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Couldn't agree more! The water in the Baltic is usually VERY cold, even in the middle of summer. A jump off the stern for your morning bath is, shall we say, invigorating?

Sometimes it is so cold that I can understand how Jesus managed to walk on water

Hard to clean some parts when they disappear as well.

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Old 21-11-2012, 12:24   #729
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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What drives your choices? How do you choose?
I think for the economy cruiser, it is a combination of these things:

1) Whatever came with the boat when you bought it
2) The relative cost of NOT having an item (i.e. watermakers in the Caribbean, items needed to be on the hook vs cost of staying at dock, etc)
3) The wants/needs of your partner or potential partner and your dedication level to having said partner aboard
4) Items needed to supplement the sailor's skills/abilities to maintain safety of the boat and the crew (i.e. chartplotters, radar, etc)

I'm leaving out available cash because, at this level, a lack of available cash means "no more boat", and therefore no more outfitting costs. "Simply and cheaply" means you sail with what you need, and no more, whether or not you could afford to have more.
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Old 21-11-2012, 13:53   #730
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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Anywhooo...

To try and rescue this thread, can I ask about how people decide what goes on their boat, and what does not? In terms of simplicity and sustainability, what drives your choices?
......
How do you choose?
The biggest factor driving choices on board our boat is safety. No minimalism there, although all purchases are very carefully thought out. Best quality systems are installed for reliability and these are maintained faultlessly. We have a large new generation anchor with 100m of high tensile chain, windlass with extra grunt, numerous backups with GPS and chartplotters, two depth monitoring systems, radar, dual independent autohelms, low power draw Furuno mapping GPS by the bed with an anchor alarm set 24/7 when not underway, oversized Raycor filters for engine/generator/fuel polishing that are interchangeable in emergencies. Probably lots more I can't think at this moment.

All work on the boat is done ourselves.

As most systems require maintenance and time can be lost waiting for parts when breakdowns occur, if something is not required from a safety point of view, we try and do without unless we feel it is vital for our comfort or pleasure. This really does minimise hassles. So no hot water, no heating or airconditioning, no electrical appliances in the kitchen, no washing machine etc. I hate running a generator (it was there when we bought the boat and retained for emergencies), so we restrict our power consumption to whatever the solar panels provide.

After nearly a couple of years of transporting all water on board in gerry cans (in addition it was a pain to source), I felt a watermaker was important for me. Water consumption is still kept low, around 25 litres (6 gallons) a day between the two of us, so the water maker only needs to be run every second day and runs off solar.

What is also vital for me is somewhere comfortable to sleep, so our oversized bed has a good mattress and thousand count cotton sheets and pillow cases and good quilts.

Reading is a huge pleasure, so no skimping there. Now that I have a Kindle and access to new books is easy and storage is not a problem, I indulge freely.

Internet too is vital for weather forecasts, communication with family and friends, information (and of course access to CF ). Don't know what I would do without it!

We have no TV, but plenty of movies that we watch on our 26 inch LCD/LED screen, run off a notebook. A decent hifi system provides listening pleasure.

No corners are cut on food (although we eat very little meat and most food purchased is simply seasonal fresh stuff) and we enjoy good alcohol (life is too short to drink bad wine or cheap Scotch). We rarely eat out.

We need very few clothes and as space is an issue, generally something has to be thrown out before there is room for anything new. We have no special clothes that are only worn for best and we are both barefoot most of the time and very little is worn all summer, so I guess we are pretty minimalistic there.

The boat has been home for us for just over five years now (it is not just used seasonally) so I have a few luxuries on board. These are a nice rug, good china and crystal, good quality saucepans and knives. These will all last a lifetime and there are very few items, so cost per year will work out low. Many of the pieces were brought from home and are already several decades old. Everything is used frequently and I feel earns it keep.

OK, I look at this list and realise I am not really living simply at all LOL, so I should not really be posting on this thread. But I have very few possessions on board and nothing will ever be replaced just for the sake of change as it may have once been at home. I also live without lots that I once would have considered vital. The boat, however, does get pampered a lot .
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Old 21-11-2012, 17:38   #731
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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OK, I look at this list and realise I am not really living simply at all LOL, so I should not really be posting on this thread. But I have very few possessions on board and nothing will ever be replaced just for the sake of change as it may have once been at home. I also live without lots that I once would have considered vital. The boat, however, does get pampered a lot .
I disagree - I think this post is perfectly relevant because it shows that simple living does not have to be inelegant living, nor does it need to be high cost
- a few crystal pieces can be inxpensively purchased at Marshalls or Home Goods. These do not ned to be $100 pieces. I have glasses at home that were $3-$5
- even plain glass glassware can add a large element of elegance compared to dingy plastic cups
- More care is needed to handle glass and crystal, which may detract from the element of "simplicity", but what else do cruisers have to worry about but their boats and the quality of their lifestyles?

Even a few expensive items or heirlooms, well cared for and treasured, can be part of a simple-yet-elegant lifestyle.

These are the things that can make the difference between having a woman companion and not. In a squall,these might be the first things to go, but most of us -especially those trying to maintain a family life on board - are planning for blue skies and blue water where we have the time and leisure to enjoy those small luxuries.

Internet service may seem complicated and non-simple, but it replaces so many other things that it truly is a simplifying factor. Sure there are those who want nothing more than a stick and a rock for companionship and entertainment, but for the rest of us an iPad and some means of accessing the internet fulfill a lot of needs in a small package.
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Old 21-11-2012, 18:03   #732
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]
What drives your choices? How do you choose?
Our choices are timeline-driven. I bought my boat at the age of 50, putting it on a 15-year mortgage, so that the day I turn 65 and retire, I'll own the boat.

Likewise, we've been improving the boat on a 15-year plan, with one major project scheduled each year. Year one was the wind generator and spare rudder, year two the davits and solar system, et cetera. Many of these improvements are hidden, such as a dual Racor fuel filtration system I installed last year.

We're purposely putting off some improvements until the very last year. The best example would be the watermaker. It doesn't make sense for me to buy this now, because I have no need for one currently, and it would just be sitting there getting old. Similarly, I want to replace the sails and rigging right before we leave so I don't have to deal with that abroad.

I'm crafting my career goals in a similar way. A couple years ago I shifted my major research to Baja, which will probably become my home base when I'm no longer teaching. That way, when I'm down there, I can continue to write and supplement the cruising kitty that way. The nice thing is that I won't have to work if I don't want to because we've also structured retirement so that we won't have to cruise on a budget. It's nice for Wonderblond to know that if there's a wedding in the family we'll be able to afford sticking the boat in a marina and flying home.

Some cruisers will see this timeline as delayed gratification. But that's not the case for us. Wonderblond and I both enjoy our jobs. Part of why I love teaching so much today is that I know I've only got seven more years of teaching ahead of me. I've come to enjoy being the most senior faculty member in my department, and being able to help the newbies establish themselves in the profession. Knowing that my time is short helps me make the most of what I'm doing on a day-by-day basis.
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Old 22-11-2012, 00:43   #733
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post

To try and rescue this thread, can I ask about how people decide what goes on their boat, and what does not? In terms of simplicity and sustainability, what drives your choices?
Thanks for getting us back on track. One of the best sources for me on how to keep things simple on board has been Beth Leonard's list of things they left "off" of their new boat Hawk. Some items left off may surprise you but in every case I think they make a good argument for the decision, so I have tended to follow their lead when making my decisions.

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/Leftoff.pdf
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Old 22-11-2012, 00:55   #734
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
The biggest factor driving choices on board our boat is safety. No minimalism there, although all purchases are very carefully thought out. Best quality systems are installed for reliability and these are maintained faultlessly. We have a large new generation anchor with 100m of high tensile chain, windlass with extra grunt, numerous backups with GPS and chartplotters, two depth monitoring systems, radar, dual independent autohelms, low power draw Furuno mapping GPS by the bed with an anchor alarm set 24/7 when not underway, oversized Raycor filters for engine/generator/fuel polishing that are interchangeable in emergencies. Probably lots more I can't think at this moment.

All work on the boat is done ourselves.

As most systems require maintenance and time can be lost waiting for parts when breakdowns occur, if something is not required from a safety point of view, we try and do without unless we feel it is vital for our comfort or pleasure. This really does minimise hassles. So no hot water, no heating or airconditioning, no electrical appliances in the kitchen, no washing machine etc. I hate running a generator (it was there when we bought the boat and retained for emergencies), so we restrict our power consumption to whatever the solar panels provide.

After nearly a couple of years of transporting all water on board in gerry cans (in addition it was a pain to source), I felt a watermaker was important for me. Water consumption is still kept low, around 25 litres (6 gallons) a day between the two of us, so the water maker only needs to be run every second day and runs off solar.

What is also vital for me is somewhere comfortable to sleep, so our oversized bed has a good mattress and thousand count cotton sheets and pillow cases and good quilts.

Reading is a huge pleasure, so no skimping there. Now that I have a Kindle and access to new books is easy and storage is not a problem, I indulge freely.

Internet too is vital for weather forecasts, communication with family and friends, information (and of course access to CF ). Don't know what I would do without it!

We have no TV, but plenty of movies that we watch on our 26 inch LCD/LED screen, run off a notebook. A decent hifi system provides listening pleasure.

No corners are cut on food (although we eat very little meat and most food purchased is simply seasonal fresh stuff) and we enjoy good alcohol (life is too short to drink bad wine or cheap Scotch). We rarely eat out.

We need very few clothes and as space is an issue, generally something has to be thrown out before there is room for anything new. We have no special clothes that are only worn for best and we are both barefoot most of the time and very little is worn all summer, so I guess we are pretty minimalistic there.

The boat has been home for us for just over five years now (it is not just used seasonally) so I have a few luxuries on board. These are a nice rug, good china and crystal, good quality saucepans and knives. These will all last a lifetime and there are very few items, so cost per year will work out low. Many of the pieces were brought from home and are already several decades old. Everything is used frequently and I feel earns it keep.

OK, I look at this list and realise I am not really living simply at all LOL, so I should not really be posting on this thread. But I have very few possessions on board and nothing will ever be replaced just for the sake of change as it may have once been at home. I also live without lots that I once would have considered vital. The boat, however, does get pampered a lot .
+1

Your thoughts tend to match mine. No minimalism on the safety issues, nor on maintenance of the boat. If it is worn or needs fixin' - it gets done.

Personal items - well, cruising shouldn't be equated with survival mode in my opinion. Cognac, for example, seems to taste much better when drunk from very nice crystal cognac glasses. So we have a set we wrap in untold numbers of bubble plastic and hope they will survive (so far so good). The same for a few wine glasses. We don't use them every day - but when we splurge on a really good bottle - it seems to taste better.

There are a few other items like that. When and if they do break - we will replace them. We do have a rather large CD collection on board - but we really do like music and crave a varied diet of it. I know I probably cold replace the stereo system and go with flash sticks (less space) but for the moment - the CD rack is fine.

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Old 22-11-2012, 07:43   #735
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Re: The Philosophy Behind Sailing Simply and Cheaply

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Thanks for getting us back on track. One of the best sources for me on how to keep things simple on board has been Beth Leonard's list of things they left "off" of their new boat Hawk. Some items left off may surprise you but in every case I think they make a good argument for the decision, so I have tended to follow their lead when making my decisions.

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/Leftoff.pdf
It was really interesting reading how someone else's thinking aligns with ours:
Beth writes:
"The more comfortable and convenient a boat, the more complicated—and the more time will be spent fixing it instead of sightseeing".

Beth and Leonard do without so many if the things we do and obviously very happily (including things like hot and pressurised water) in an aluminium boat the same size as ours. Our boat was originally commissioned by and designed for a couple at the age of 60 who wanted to fulfil their dream of circumnavigating and the original owner's ideas seems to have coincided very well with what we were looking for.

The only thing I would place as a high priority that Beth & Leonard didn't is the water maker. They also manage to make to with the power generated from only 75 watts of solar panels while on passage. We tend to use more than that.

So many people we come across have repeated equipment failures and are in port for lengthy periods either awaiting parts or repairing breakages. Sticking to the KISS principle (and having redundancies for vital things) means much more time is spent enjoying cruising rather than, as Beth puts it spending time in "chandleries, boatyards, freight offices and on our stomachs in the bilge of the boat".
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