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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    189

    Default How much simple is simple?

    Common wisdom says that a blue-water sailing yacht is best kept simple: less initial expenditure, and less money - and time! - spent on maintenance/repairs.

    So far, sounds logical.

    But then, when I started equipping my new(ish) pride and joy, I came up with a list of stuff which I rate as essential or greatly contributing to comfort or safety, which really leaves out only the very extravagant / too expensive items.

    So, I would like to hear comments on my personal list of equipment I would not do without (I am not listing the obvious - like engine, sails, ground tackle - the mandatory - bilge pumps, liferaft, etc - and the non-techy stuff which does not break - charts, pilot books,...):

    - Electric anchor windlass with manual fall-back (serious ground tackle is too heavy for me)
    - roller-furling genoa AND staysail (staysail and deeply-reefed main can stand a LOT of bad weather!)
    - chartplotter (not really essential, but I find it very handy when sailing shorthanded - not in pilotage situations, though)
    - spare fixed GPS
    - a substantial autopilot (with hydraulic drive unit)
    - wind-pilot (saves energy on long voyages)
    - Radar
    - EPIRB and SART (in the grab-bag, wrapped in aluminium foil)
    - fixed and hand-held VHF (the latter in the grab-bag)
    - 3rd GPS (handheld, kept in the grab-bag)
    - SSB with Pactor modem and a PC (for inter-yacht comms + email + weather info)
    - spare aerials for VHF and SSB
    - wind generator
    - solar panels
    - water-powered generator
    - "smart" alternator regulator
    - watermaker
    - refrigerator
    - a substantial battery bank!... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

    Indeed, most of the above is not essential, and in case of a massive failure sailing can continue safely without them, possibly at the expense of more stress for a short-handed crew, but there is not much I would deliberately do without, money notwithstanding.

    So much for the "simple" boat. Heck!!
    Gianfranco

    OVNI 385 "Shaula 3" http://www.shaula3.ws

  2. #2
    jerryat is offline Registered User
    Location : Nr Plymouth
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,571

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    Except for the chart plotter, watermaker (waste of time IMHO) and radar, that's what we've got, so a pretty sensible list!!! We've never wanted any of those three and we don't have a windpilot either because it's cheaper and easier to use autopilots for our 'little' boat, though we do carry four of them when cruising!

    We also carry three H/H gps's too in addition to the fixed one. Not sure I'd bother wiring in a second fixed one.

    Yep, that should do it, as i assume you've got hot and cold water, computer and loads of spares for the critical stuff like pumps, heads and engine.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    Tools, tools and more tools not only for fixing your own problems, but helping out other like minded souls we invariably come across.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    All good stuff if you ask me.

    Pesonally I would not be without my chartplotter. You don't need it but it's a great time and worry saver. Prevents arguments with the wife too about which island is which!

    I am sceptical about windgenerators having been tempted often but never converted. Having quizzed many users the best they can come up with is often "useful addition" - though there are fas. Quite often it's "not really worth the hassle". Depends a lot of course on where you will be sailing and other sources of power. With windgens look at the power created at low wind speeds - that is what really sets them apart (and the racket). You can't have too much solar...

    Water generators are very efficient but can get scary (judging from users reports) when the boat speed gets up. The Duogen is an interesting solution.

    Watermakers are pretty reliable and many cruisers love them while others do happily without. Depends on how much you hate fixing stuff, available power, how much space you have, how much you like to shower and where you will be. You can catch a lot of water with a good catchment setup (not in the Med in summer of course) and a salt water water tap in the galley is a big saver of water.

    If you are not sure, then maybe don't stick the stuff in initially. Work out where it would go and 'reserve' the space. Then when you have been cruising for a while you will have a much better idea. We fitted our boat out fully ahead of time and later realised we'd have done some things differently based on real experience of the way we sail and live.

  5. #5
    jerryat is offline Registered User
    Location : Nr Plymouth
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,571

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    Couldn't agree more!! We carry extremely comprehensive toolkits that allow us to do all our own maintenance and repairs except for electronics/pcb's, and I've even managed to sort these occasionally [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    We very often end up helping others who don't know how to repair or deal with pretty basic problems on their boats. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] I guess we just like to be as self-sufficient as possible when cruising. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    1,319

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    [ QUOTE ]
    .... watermaker (waste of time IMHO) .....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Completely disagree - but it depends on where you go and how long you go for! Me I would not do without one although I can cope when it breaks!
    Temptress of Down
    http://gbr195t.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    jerryat is offline Registered User
    Location : Nr Plymouth
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,571

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    As always it's a matter of personal opinion.

    We've done transat circuits and cruised in the Med. with and without during several years cruising. We found that the hassle of 'pickling' and other maintenance, allied to the limited occasions one can use it when anchoring in/near harbours just didn't stack up against the gains.

    We thought we'd 'need' the facility for 'unlimited' water, but it didn't actually work out like that when on long passages. We never got anywhere near running out of water when we didn't have one, and when cruising in, say the Med., getting water from ashore was part of the fun and very easy in lots of different places.

    Obviously many people value them aboard and that's fine but, having tried one and got rid of it, it wouldn't be on our list if equipping a boat from scratch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    3,531

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    I've just got as far as I'm going on this trip and Busby is having a few upgrades (a new northern lights generator - dead exciting, it's 'the biz'!) so I was considering my - hopefully last - wish list.

    I crossed off SSB yesterday even though it's been there for months and we've made good friends with many other yachties who use them - but my logic went like this :-

    I'd want an iCOM 802 and with antenna and installation etc it would cost me about $6000.

    I've just got a 15db WI-FI antenna and I'm getting internet connections in most places (and that's only going to get better) so downloading e mail by SSB would seem antiquated.

    The cost of satellite phones and call costs will keep coming down.

    My cell phone works in most places and I'm struggling to find people to phone on skype it's so cheap.

    So, the way I saw it was, yeah ok, you'll be able to chit chat with friends, you'll get weather forcasts from herb, there's a bit more safety there but - too much money for something that is becoming outdated. As much as I love my toys and would still love one if someone wanted to give me one, it's just too much money and, not only not essential, but it's going to be outdated very soon.

    I am definately having a water maker though. Up to 75c a gallon to buy water in some places in the caribbean and who wants that plus having to tailor your cruising in search of water?

    Here endeth my two pennuth [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    3,531

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    As you say, matter of opinion like most things but, we've found ourselves stopping for fuel when we don't need to because we actually need water.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,583

    Default Re: How much simple is simple?

    To do an Atlantic circuit on our 10m cruiser-racer, a Contessa 33 (NB not a 32!!!!) I did the following mods:

    Bring the safety equipment up to ORC cat2.
    Water cooled fridge
    Big alternator + Adverc
    Bendy solar panel
    Honda Petrol generator
    Shore power
    Crappy Selden Furler (failed twice on the trip)
    New Main
    New Genoa
    Extra Anchor + rode (s/hand)
    SSB + modem
    Holding tank (never used)
    Revamped the upholstery (new canvas covers + new foam for main berth)
    Zodiac dink with high pressure floor (s/hand)
    Crummy Honda 2hp outboard (later replaced with Yamaha 4 2-stroke)
    Monitor vane gear (from previous boat)
    Tp300 Navico tiller pilot (from previous boat)
    Lots of jerry cans for water and fuel
    Plenty of spares.

    Boat was stuffed with gear and supplies. Every time you wanted something it was like reassembling a 3D jigsaw puzzle [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] After we sold her in the Azores and had to ship a lot of the gear home I reckon that she was carrying 800kg more thab when in cross-channel trim.
    "Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy" B. Franklin

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