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Old 15-05-2024, 10:57   #16
dlj
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

As I age, I find I prefer more creature comforts. I think each individual needs to determine what level of comfort they require. It also depends upon where and how you are sailing.

I have pressurized hot and cold water - but I have systems in place that make it actually more conservative in water usage than using my foot pump. I do also have a foot pump - I've measured the difference.

I run composting heads - I have two heads. One is part of my aft cabin and the other is for the whole boat. On long trips having a separate cabin with everything I need makes for a much better experience.

I hate electronics but find them a necessary evil. I don't know where I would store all the paper charts needed to sail to all the destinations I've been. Plus, I doubt I could afford to buy them. Bad enough just buying the electronic versions. But thanks to OpenCPN, at least that is not too bad.

I have a windex on the top of my mast. Best wind direction indicator I have. My boat also came with an electronic version. I haven't removed it just because it would be a large effort. I do look at the anemometer read-out mostly for curiosity.

I very much like my electronic depth sounder. I do have a lead line and use it. But the ease of having the depth right there visible from the helm as I'm moving is really nice.

Stove - oh yea, a very nice propane stove with an excellent oven. I mean really, it's all about the food...

Autopilot - I have an electronic autopilot and a windvane. OK, I consider an electronic autopilot to be pretty much an essential element. I've been on boat where they didn't have one or the one they had was broken - spending 24 hours a day - 7 days a week steering the boat - no thank you! Been there done that. Give me an autopilot. The windvane, well I do consider that a really nice to have. But that is a very simple system.

Music - Yeap, I have a music system with speakers in the cabins, main saloon and cockpit. What can I say? I love music! Now just a FYI, I'm not one of those that drops anchor in an anchorage and turns up the music so everyone else can hear. I keep my music to my boat. I can turn on or off any specific set of speaker systems. So if I'm at anchorage and need my cockpit speakers off, I simply turn them off. I'm also not one to listen to music all the time. I love listening to nature. I actually spend more time listening to nature than listening to music, but when I want music, I have it.

Radios - VHF is really handy. Coming into ports, hailing another boat. Heck, I was a several days off St. Lucia coming across the milk run and spotted the Starlink ship. It was retrieving a launch right next to me. I was able to hail them and got to chat with the engineer on board for a bit. Now I thought that was very cool!

I also have an SSB with modem. Well, that system will come out the next time I have to change my standing rigging. I won't replace the insulated backstay antenna, it's just added complexity and I found that the airwaves are just to close to dead now with that system (sorry to you SSB lovers).

Rigging - I run a cutter rig. Both my fore sails are on roller furlers. I would never pull those off and go back to hank-ons. The ease of use, the ability to reef from the safety of the cockpit is just much preferred than going back to hank-ons. My main sail is a roller furling main sail. I do have to go to the mast to run it. It is all mechanical so it's about as simple as that complex system can be. Again, the ease of changing your sail size, either reefing or extending is so much easier that I am definitely keeping that system.

Anchor - Electric windlass. Well, if I could find a reasonably priced reliable mechanical windlass that was properly sized for my boat, I could entertain changing that. But I have a pretty big anchor and a couple hundred feet of chain. It would be very difficult to pull that anchor up by hand. It would sure make for a very strenuous activity that one would not want to do except in emergencies.

Can't think of what I've missed. I wouldn't call my boat simple, but it has the systems in place that I find make living on it very comfortable and enjoyable. This is what I think each individual needs to assess for their own sailing realm. Could I make my boat simpler? Sure. Am I going to? Not much, it's pretty much how I like her and how I like to live... Lots more creature comforts than boats in my early years, but I find that's what I want now...

dj

p.s. Ah right, Starlink... I'm running starlink. It's a game changer. I absolutely love it!
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Old 15-05-2024, 14:52   #17
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

Sailing, and cruising, close to home, and round the world, can be done with just any boat.


Some opt for boats very simple : no electricity, no electronics, no toilets, no nothing. No APs, no VHFs, no EPIRBs, no GPSs, no watermakers, no fridges, to liferafts, and no Starlinks.



Some opt for bots with all the toys mentioned above and then a few more.


As long as I can have my free choice and go, where is there any problem?


Yes, each toy deprives us of a skill, giving us some comfort in return. Again, where is there any problem or conflict?


The point is to be out there sailing, rather than down here talking. And this can be hard to achieve, with all the toys as much as without any toys.


This is the only problem.


(Makes one recall one hippie Berger dancing on a table.)



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Old 15-05-2024, 15:12   #18
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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^^This^^ Except, I don't even have any wind instruments or a radar. Each person will have their own level of what they consider "essential," but I think those of us who have been sailing for a long time and began back when most of this stuff wasn't even available have simpler needs. It's the same with homes on land. My mind boggles when I visit contemporary homes and see all the technology that they lard them with today. But, I think those growing up in these homes and looking for their own homes have a different baseline than I do. I keep thinking there will be a revival of the go small, go simple, go now movement in cruising, but maybe it never went away. Look beyond the YouTubers, the magazines, and the online forums and you start to notice small, simple boats in harbors all over the place. Sure, the numbers aren't big, but they are out there. I often anchor near these folks and chat with them. They're the ones often rowing ashore, not watching TV, not running generators, not down below in air-conditioned cabins. They often raise sail at anchor and sail out of the channel, and you'll find them ghosting along on light-air days. They often have manual windlasses, or no windlass. They don't have stern arches covered with antennas and solar panels. Their decks are clear of junk like electric bikes, though you might see a kayak or a surfboard. Look around, the simple boats are out there doing it.
I'm a little surprised that you don't have a simple radar onboard considering your cruising grounds.
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Old 16-05-2024, 02:54   #19
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

I think it just boils down to money. If you have the money you will have the luxuries.

If you don't - you won't !

That's the simple truth.

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Old 16-05-2024, 03:09   #20
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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I think it just boils down to money. If you have the money you will have the luxuries.

If you don't - you won't !

That's the simple truth.

Maybe for some, but for many others of us, we don't buy what we don't need.

I have an autopilot, solar, Golf Cart Batteries, and a small outboard without an alternator to get my boat out of the slip or to my next destination if the wind drops off.

I built a chart plotter and have AIS Receive which is nice but that's about it.

I may add an AIS Transponder if I sail longer distances since I sail solo and possibly a fridge if I start sailing distances over say 500 miles where it will become harder to keep stopping for ice.

The chart plotter and AIS I added after owning and sailing the boat for 10 years.
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Old 16-05-2024, 03:14   #21
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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….
Am I an outlier with these kind of thoughts?
No, but I suspect you are suffering from owning a French boat. I suffered a similar affliction while owning a French car.

In fairness we ticked most of the items on your “simplicity” list with the new boat. Not the small battery though, because we’ve phased out gas. (Arguably the bigger battery sans gas IS the less complicated option.)

But we’ve held fast to the idea of keeping it lean, mean and clean. I’ll see how we go with that.
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Old 16-05-2024, 04:23   #22
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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I think it just boils down to money. If you have the money you will have the luxuries.
I think there's some truth to this. For those with the financial means, and the easy access to professional help, then being chequebook boat owners can make perfect sense.

The counter to this is that, even if you have the money, it's often hard to access professional services in a timely manner. So even if one has the money to buy luxury systems, one still needs to be aware of how these fancy systems are to be maintained and repaired.

A gold card is no good if there are no workers around to pay.
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:08   #23
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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The counter to this is that, even if you have the money, it's often hard to access professional services in a timely manner. So even if one has the money to buy luxury systems, one still needs to be aware of how these fancy systems are to be maintained and repaired.
I meet people in the boatyard every year wasting their boating season while awaiting repairs. And, once you leave the modern marina and boatyard track forget about being able to access repair help at any price without extraordinary effort, time, and money. I've told the story many times of the modern trawler yacht crew in Panama that had to fly in a mechanic from California to take care of electronic engine management issues.
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:13   #24
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I think there's some truth to this. For those with the financial means, and the easy access to professional help, then being chequebook boat owners can make perfect sense.

The counter to this is that, even if you have the money, it's often hard to access professional services in a timely manner. So even if one has the money to buy luxury systems, one still needs to be aware of how these fancy systems are to be maintained and repaired.

A gold card is no good if there are no workers around to pay.
That's a big one. I very much take the attitude that if we want to travel, I need to be able to fix any important system on the boat with minimal outside help (even if I have to get parts shipped in). If it's a system I can't fix, I need to be able to bypass it or just turn it off and live without it until repair is possible.
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:21   #25
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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That's a big one. I very much take the attitude that if we want to travel, I need to be able to fix any important system on the boat with minimal outside help (even if I have to get parts shipped in). If it's a system I can't fix, I need to be able to bypass it or just turn it off and live without it until repair is possible.
Even within the USA one can often be days away from professional technical help, and getting a tow for 50 miles adds up really quickly. Plus, the time, trip disruption, etc. I once towed another sailboat through the entire Dismal Swamp Canal in North Carolina so he could get to Elizabeth City where there was a possibility of getting parts. It was a trick doing the locks while towing!
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Old 16-05-2024, 07:25   #26
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

I am a supporter of the KISS principle. While I **might** like to have a bunch of assorted boat stuff, I don't really have the room, inclination nor money Besides...where would I go with all my other crap? LOL
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Old 16-05-2024, 08:00   #27
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I think there's some truth to this. For those with the financial means, and the easy access to professional help, then being chequebook boat owners can make perfect sense.

The counter to this is that, even if you have the money, it's often hard to access professional services in a timely manner. So even if one has the money to buy luxury systems, one still needs to be aware of how these fancy systems are to be maintained and repaired.

A gold card is no good if there are no workers around to pay.
So far since I bought my boat in 2011, no professional has worked on it.

It's a true simple boat.

I replaced the diesels, installed the solar, built the chart plotter, replaced the interior curtains and lamps, am in the process of replacing the rigging, installed the inverter, batteries, etc., etc.

The new sails were made by professionals, but that's about it.

I call my boat a check book boat because I bought and maintain it from my checking account as I have extra money to blow.

Even purchased it from money in my checking account since that price was $2000.

Main sail back then was $1600.

Outboard $1550.

RPi's for Chart Plotter $99 ea.

HDTV for Chart Plotter $75.

VHF w/AIS $335.

Running Rigging $300.

4 Bottom paint jobs which I did, etc. as well as topside paint, deck, and interior over the years.
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Old 16-05-2024, 08:08   #28
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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That's a big one. I very much take the attitude that if we want to travel, I need to be able to fix any important system on the boat with minimal outside help (even if I have to get parts shipped in). If it's a system I can't fix, I need to be able to bypass it or just turn it off and live without it until repair is possible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I meet people in the boatyard every year wasting their boating season while awaiting repairs. And, once you leave the modern marina and boatyard track forget about being able to access repair help at any price without extraordinary effort, time, and money. I've told the story many times of the modern trawler yacht crew in Panama that had to fly in a mechanic from California to take care of electronic engine management issues.


These are my sentiments as well. I try hard to install systems I can maintain and repair given my limited skills, and financial capabilities. But I've always found getting skilled professionals to be difficult, or impossible. Maybe that's because I'm often slightly off the beaten path, but even if I had the money (which I rarely do), finding a professional is usually hard to impossible.

Matching skills to systems also means "simplicity" is a relative concept. I'm not very skilled, so my systems need to be very simple. But I know many accomplished cruisers who have far greater skills than I. They can maintain and repair stuff that is far more complex than I would ever touch. So a "simple" boat for them might be ridiculously complex for me.

As with most boating question, the answer is: It depends...
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Old 16-05-2024, 08:11   #29
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Matching skills to systems also means "simplicity" is a relative concept. I'm not very skilled, so my systems need to be very simple. But I know many accomplished cruisers who have far greater skills than I. They can maintain and repair stuff that is far more complex than I would ever touch. So a "simple" boat for them might be ridiculously complex for me.

As with most boating question, the answer is: It depends...
Yup, what's reasonable to maintain definitely depends on each person's skillset. Within reason, I take the attitude of "if I want to have X, I'm going to learn how to install and maintain it".
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Old 16-05-2024, 15:04   #30
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Re: Considering simplicity on sailing boats

Other things that helps those of us who keep things simple on our boats is a background of even simpler boats. (engineless and without instruments)

I did six 100 mile races on beach cats with no instruments or autopilot.

Sometimes you were on the tiller for 20 hours straight, and of course, we had no engines.

Then there were 40-50 shorter 20-30 mile distance races and maybe 400 buoy races.

When you sail without instruments, you don't need things like wind indicators because you develop a feel for the wind direction on your skin.

When sailing offshore out of sight of land, you can use the Sun or possibly a high rise condo or even wave direction to guide you back in and that means not just getting back to the coast but close to the mark as well since we are racing.
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