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Old 06-12-2007, 14:29   #16
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I would agree with your logic, but point out that we are not really talking about cruising so much as survival here (I think?). If you can't get by on 6 gals of water per week per person, you need to re-evaluate.
Sometimes in survival situations, you do things ...
Sean's absolutely right, that SURVIVAL is a different kettle of beans, than mere FRUGALITY, as would be the case in minimalist cruising.

Maggie & I used about 40-50 Gal/Week cruising, on those rare* occasions when we were totally self-sufficient cruisers (*we had lots of connections ashore, in the Islands). This would include only about 4 Gal. of drinking water, used to make coffee. We drank lots of "packaged" fluids.
A 12 Gal. week would have been a mere SURVIVAL situation for these two FRUGAL cruisers. I cannot imagine LIVING this way, on a regular basis.

Back to Steve's original point (to which Sean correctly referes) that a smaller watermaker, with a manual pump option, makes more sense than a larger, more efficient unit (without manual) makes more sense.
I suppose that calculation would depend upon the likliehood you assign to a "powerless" disaster.
If your boat is a LIVABLE home, it's not a bomb shelter.
If it's a bomb shelter ...
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Old 06-12-2007, 14:35   #17
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The fear scenario I have is having to come back to shore some time or another.
They can watch you land/anchor without being seen..........and then when you do sleep..................

Your "stuff" is now theirs etc.

You know..............
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Old 06-12-2007, 14:54   #18
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"Bomb shelter" What a descriptive term. Love it.

All we need now is a nuclear holocaust to justify living in one. I'm looking forward to that day so I can tell what survivors there are how justified I was. Just kiddin'
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Old 06-12-2007, 15:27   #19
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I know it's hard for guys like you (and me), who are/were into technology to understand that, but all the gizmos and inventions stink compared to learning to do without. THAT is the secret to surviving. Meeting the needs you have to live, while using no other energy for anything else.
I agree completely, but really should clarify something. I somehow got a bit of a reputation for being übergeeky with my technomadic adventure platforms, but with the boat there are two key points that I need to make.

First, I am very careful to have NOTHING electronically fragile in the critical path where safety and basic navigation/seamanship is involved.... and if that's unavoidable, then there's a low-tech backup. I've had friends lose all their systems to lightning, and of course there's the brilliant old adage that "water corrodes; salt water corrodes absolutely." So I have an autopilot, but also a wind vane. The navlights can be monitored by electronics to make sure they come on, but there are big old-fashioned switches instead of I/O port bits to apply power (also, I love high-brightness LEDs, but carry incandescent backups due to a mistrust of the constant-current switch-mode power supplies that run them... some of which generate RF interference). And so on.

Second, the electronics in my boat are admittedly a rather large component, as this is not only a survival platform but also my quirky form of geek expressionism). Part of it is purely for fun (the bottom line), but there is also a practical aspect that drives the design: extension of my senses into a much richer "situation awareness" than I would otherwise have. Whether it's the ability to prowl the networks and airwaves, network with other boats without broadcasting on Channel 16, or collect a suite of sensor data and display it as a set of virtual instruments, it all adds to my ability to make decisions (or at least be more amused while performing routine activities). None of it is mission-critical in the escape-pod sense, but some of it may well provide key decision support... elevated levels of gamma radiation coupled with local wind data and GRIB files downloaded via Sailmail and displayed on MacENC might, for example, induce me to tack someday. (But let's hope not.)

All that gizmology, by the way, is a sort of layer atop the ship systems, not integrated to the point of affecting reliability. The boat, from that perspective, looks like a website... visible locally at the nav station or any Wi-Fi connected laptop as well as via the Net if I'm in EVDO range. When the connection is something other than flat-rate broadband, it drops way back and allows text-based queries and pushes updates as needed... even emailing all available data to my base office if there are security violations. This takes place across a range of communication tools to provide redundancy, and also works locally via handheld ham radio with a speech synthesizer and DTMF decoder to accept commands.

Ironically, if I felt this was necessary it would be a trap of deadly complexity... but it's one of the things I enjoy (and there seem to be potential product spin-offs in the form of publications and kits, given what people are charging for simple yacht monitoring systems these days). But most of all, it gives me a deeper feeling of connection to the boat and her environment, even though, fundamentally, none of it is truly necessary for survival.

Geekily,
Steve
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Old 06-12-2007, 16:18   #20
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Back to Steve's original point (to which Sean correctly referes) that a smaller watermaker, with a manual pump option, makes more sense than a larger, more efficient unit (without manual) makes more sense. ...
Yes, but you could also get a hand held survival water maker that the bushwalkers use for emergency and then you could get a big efficient one for normal use.
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Old 06-12-2007, 16:24   #21
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not only a survival platform but also my quirky form of geek expressionism). Part of it is purely for fun (the bottom line),

Steve
And their ain't nothing wrong with that!
Its an enjoyable and useful endevour done intelligently, not by a looney.
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Old 06-12-2007, 16:25   #22
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I agree completely, but really should clarify something. I somehow got a bit of a reputation for being übergeeky with my technomadic adventure platforms, but with the boat there are two key points that I need to make.

First, I am very careful to have NOTHING electronically fragile in the critical path where safety and basic navigation/seamanship is involved.... and if that's unavoidable, then there's a low-tech backup. I've had friends lose all their systems to lightning, and of course there's the brilliant old adage that "water corrodes; salt water corrodes absolutely." So I have an autopilot, but also a wind vane. The navlights can be monitored by electronics to make sure they come on, but there are big old-fashioned switches instead of I/O port bits to apply power (also, I love high-brightness LEDs, but carry incandescent backups due to a mistrust of the constant-current switch-mode power supplies that run them... some of which generate RF interference). And so on.

Second, the electronics in my boat are admittedly a rather large component, as this is not only a survival platform but also my quirky form of geek expressionism). Part of it is purely for fun (the bottom line), but there is also a practical aspect that drives the design: extension of my senses into a much richer "situation awareness" than I would otherwise have. Whether it's the ability to prowl the networks and airwaves, network with other boats without broadcasting on Channel 16, or collect a suite of sensor data and display it as a set of virtual instruments, it all adds to my ability to make decisions (or at least be more amused while performing routine activities). None of it is mission-critical in the escape-pod sense, but some of it may well provide key decision support... elevated levels of gamma radiation coupled with local wind data and GRIB files downloaded via Sailmail and displayed on MacENC might, for example, induce me to tack someday. (But let's hope not.)

All that gizmology, by the way, is a sort of layer atop the ship systems, not integrated to the point of affecting reliability. The boat, from that perspective, looks like a website... visible locally at the nav station or any Wi-Fi connected laptop as well as via the Net if I'm in EVDO range. When the connection is something other than flat-rate broadband, it drops way back and allows text-based queries and pushes updates as needed... even emailing all available data to my base office if there are security violations. This takes place across a range of communication tools to provide redundancy, and also works locally via handheld ham radio with a speech synthesizer and DTMF decoder to accept commands.

Ironically, if I felt this was necessary it would be a trap of deadly complexity... but it's one of the things I enjoy (and there seem to be potential product spin-offs in the form of publications and kits, given what people are charging for simple yacht monitoring systems these days). But most of all, it gives me a deeper feeling of connection to the boat and her environment, even though, fundamentally, none of it is truly necessary for survival.

Geekily,
Steve

Ahhh... makes PERFECT sense, Steve. Not only that.. I'm awed once again by your systems, as I was back in the old days. Cool!!

PS: Just got on the EVDO bandwagon and I love it!
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Old 06-12-2007, 16:27   #23
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The fear scenario I have is having to come back to shore some time or another.
They can watch you land/anchor without being seen..........and then when you do sleep..................

Your "stuff" is now theirs etc.

You know..............
This is very true. In pure survival mode, I feel the boat has those very drawbacks. You can run with it (for many thousands of miles), but when approaching land, you cannot hide.

Best to get a submarine for survival! ha ha
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Old 06-12-2007, 16:35   #24
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Best to get a submarine for survival! ha ha
Yea, a Nuke.
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Old 06-12-2007, 17:53   #25
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After 3 years of living in places where we had to haul our water in in jugs, and had no running water, so baths consisted of pouring from a heated kettle, water is the one thing I will not scrimp on. Moreover, my wife would not be on a boat without either a watermaker, or shore water available to fill the tanks. Aside from that, we are fine sleeping early, reading, an eating canned beans. In fact, these are part of the enjoyment.
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Old 06-12-2007, 18:08   #26
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We are not minimalists or survivalists and we do not cross oceans; nevertheless we are firm believers in self-sufficiency. This is primarily because we like to cruise out islands. So when we cruised the Bahamas/Caribbean we had solar, wind generator, a large battery bank and a watermaker. Our backups were ... uh, spare parts.

Here’s a tip - In an emergency rum is a pretty good heater: Because of our cruising grounds, we did not need a heater - actually we had reverse cycle AC/Heat, but it would only run on shore power. So of course, 3 weeks into the trip we got caught anchored in the Abacos in the winter when a norther came through and the overnight temperature dropped into the 50s - not exactly life-threatening. My wife was wrapped in blankets on the settee and I thought it would be kind of funny to point out that we probably wouldn’t be trapped in the pack ice. She gave me that single raised eyebrow thing that most people can’t do. I decided I better go topside and check the anchor for about an hour. If I hadn’t taken a bottle of rum with me, I probably would have frozen to death.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:15   #27
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If you live +-10 degrees from the equator you can practically live for free if you really want to. Asians and South Americans have been doing it for thousands of years. You just have to decide that you don't need any "stuff."

I have friends who live on less than $4,000 per year.
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:41   #28
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An interesting little survey might be to ask the question:

How do you rate your cruising lifestyle rating?

1) POSH

2) Comfortable

3) Frugal

4) Survival

5) Masochistic

Maybe with categories for single handers, couples, and families. Except that I think for most single handers it would by default have to be between Survival and Masochistic!
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:45   #29
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Read this: An Island to Oneself (Hardcover)
by Tom Neale. He did it in the early 1950's, while in his fifties, by himself. Lots of interesting tidbits and tips could be culled from his pages.
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:52   #30
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An interesting little survey might be to ask the question:

How do you rate your cruising lifestyle rating?

1) POSH
1) POSH

Are you insane? Didn't I just read a thread about $5 per hour massages?

I want to go posh because if theres a nuclear war I'll have servants to dig the bunker
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