SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Simple Doesn't Have to Mean Old-Fashioned

April 22, 2013

We are not purists by any means. We have a motor that (usually) works and when it's the most prudent course of action, we use it. We have electricity (on both boats) and we have electronic navigation equipment (a hand held GPS and even an AIS on Eurisko) to supplement our paper charts, sextant and dead reckoning. We do insist on simplicity in all we do and strive to make our lives as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. This does not, however, necessarily mean we're old fashioned.

If what we're looking for is simplicity, then in many cases our solution is doing without. We do not have a fridge or even buy ice. All our food is kept at room temperature and keeps very well. This is not done out of a desire to be old-fashioned, but as a way of simplifying our lives. As a friend of ours on a big boat with all the bells and whistles says, "Refrigeration is the root of all boat problems."


We find it simpler to have a laptop onboard

We enjoy sailing; sailing is free, a challenge, and much easier than having to work to buy fuel and spending time and money maintaining and repairing motors, so we sail as much as we can. Again, not out of a desire to be "purists," but because it is the simplest way to move around a world mostly made of water and (almost) predictably go where you want for free.

Some of our "simplicity" decisions bother other sailors who are also trying to live simply. When I told a reader of the site that my books were available electronically he was very offended, saying, "In an effort to keep my life SIMPLE, I read only paper books." Well now, that's a shame. We have room for hundreds of paper books on Eurisko, yet we have about 3,000 books total. (This is not an exaggeration at all.) When I order a free classic in electronic form, I've started ordering collections of all of the author's works. I have every Poe, every H. G. Wells, every Thomas Hardy, every Charles Dickens, every Arthur Conan Doyle, many Flaubert, Melville, and hundreds of other authors' compilations, all in a device that fits in the palm of my hand, conserving both weight and space on our little boats. It may be modern, but modern is sometimes the simplest way.


12-volt chargers for the laptop

And yes, I have a laptop onboard. Honestly, we have two. It's just simpler that way, giving me the opportunity to work while Dave entertains himself with every WoodenBoat Magazine ever published, stored electronically on a laptop barely larger than three magazines. We power these laptops in a decidedly modern fashion. We found 12-volt plugs for both of them, eliminating the need for an inverter. Not very old-fashioned, but definitely simple.

We do have kerosene lights: interior, anchor, stern, and running lights. But we also recently discovered the simplicity of LED lights. Technology has finally made this option cheaper and easier than finding kerosene in some places. No more trimming wicks and fighting burners. No more hanging over the leeward rail to hang the nav lights. Now, that's not to say that we are giving up on kerosene. When the heat allows, I still prefer it for our cabin lights. And we will always have kerosene nav lights for when we do not have electricity for any one of a dozen reasons. But for everyday use, LED, while not at all old-fashioned, is our simplest solution.


Walküre's solar panels on lifelines

How do we have the electricity to power all of these electronics: GPS, LED lights, 12-volt computer chargers? Simply: we have solar panels. Because we recently added an 80-watt solar panel to our old 100-watt array, we have nearly twice the electricity we need. But it was cheap, our old panels are not as efficient as they once were, and Eurisko deserves new panels when we get back to her, so we made the simple, but decidedly modern, choice. No moving parts, no noise, no hassle. Simple, renewable energy, and more of it than we could ever use.

And of course, readers of the site are familiar with our composting head. This is a relative new-comer to the solution of disposing of waste onboard. But it's simple, easy to maintain, has no odor, and does not force us into marinas every week for a pump out.

We're not denying that our thought process is often old-fashioned. We currently have a gaff-rigged wooden boat with varnished spars. But we don't deny ourselves modern conveniences for the sake of simplicity. Sometimes, modern is the simplest way of all.

We are not pot luckers. We don't stand around on the dock and BS much. We don't even like being at a marina unless we have no choice. But once in a while you find a jewel hidden among the rocks. MONDAY we'll share a marina where we "stopped for a week" and stayed for almost two months.

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