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.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. We seem to offer that piece of advice more than any other since when we say, "You can't do that," the response we get is often, "Sure we can." Well, OK, you can, but should you?
One of our major considerations before making any changes to Eurisko is whether it will affect her sailing performance. We will never sacrifice her ability to sail for our comfort because on a sailboat offshore, how well a boat points and how quickly she sails could affect your lifespan. On a passage beyond your fuel tank's capacity, you will have to sail, and the less time you spend out there, the safer you'll be. Yet people continue to add gizmos and creature comforts that hamper their boat's sailing capability and their own safety. Common offenders are those who change the sail shape of their main in order to have a taller oxygen tent. If these were mangrove monkeys whose boats never moved, fine. But these are people who claim to be "sailing around the world." Can you sacrifice your boat's sailing performance for the sake of being able to do jumping jacks in your cockpit? Obviously you can--lots of people do. But should you?
We are continually pointing out the inefficiency of pressure water. By the time you turn on the water, wash your hands, and turn it off again, you have used several cups of water. (Try it, even if you live on land. Plug your sink, wash your hands, and measure the water used.) With a foot pump, no water is wasted. Both hand are under the faucet, ready to catch every drop. I can get as little as a teaspoon of water out of the faucet by using gentle pressure on the foot pump. Can you have pressure water on a cruising boat? Most boats do. Many also have a watermaker (or jerry jugs on the rail) and a generator (or run their motor) to provide the necessary electricity to run it. But should you?
Water produced onboard cannot be included in your rations for an offshore passage. The changes of your watermaker not working at some point (due to its own malfunction or a lack of electricity) is too great to risk your life on. So water should be used as if what you have is all you'll have. Which leads some boaters to undermine their boat's sailing capabilities (and righting moment in the event of a knockdown) by lining their side decks with water jugs. Five gallons of water weighs 40 pounds. Five jugs on either side deck (of water or diesel) change your boat’s stability by 400 pounds. While we are in port, we move our water jugs out of the cabin and on deck for convenience. Because our water tank is small, we have seven jugs and I can feel the change in Eurisko's motion immediately. At anchor. Imagine the difference it makes when beating to windward at 20 degrees of heel, or in the event of a knock down. Any extra weight on your rail is hampering your boat's ability to right herself. Sure, you can sail with your decks lined with jerry jugs. But should you?
The paper charts versus chart plotter discussion creates the same separation among conservative, old-school sailors and the over-confident and under-experienced that GPS versus sextant once did. (And yes, we have two sextants aboard and know how to use them, but we also have a handheld GPS.) When I tout the praises of paper charts, someone always responds with stories of peope how have sailed around the world with not a single one. Great. You obviously can, but should you? Paper charts give you a better sense of the overall picture. They also force you to consider the feasibility of what your GPS is telling you. We've all read about tragic accidents caused by over-reliance on electronics, but most people think it could never happen to them. In the case of paper charts, just like a sextant, there is no harm in having them and knowing how to use them. Even the Navy has returned (after a hiatus of several years) to teaching celestial navigation. Just in case.
Oxygen tents, pressure hot water, generators to run your a/c and heater, dinghies in davits 10 feet off the water, a plethora of gizmos and a lack of skills seem to abound as "cruising" gets easier and people believe they can strong arm their way to Paradise. And they're right. (You could just fly there, too, for that matter.) And just like the Bag of Tools people, these boats show up in Bequia and Panama along with those of us who sail there, relying on our skills, working with the elements instead of against them, watching phosphorescence in the dolphins' wakes and the stars and clouds instead of a screen. They sit in the same anchorage, maintaining their generators and working on their broken gadgets while we explore the islands or make friends with the locals. We may be in the same geographic location, but we are worlds apart in philosophy and definition of "the dream." I've been told, "To each his own." Absolutely. They can do it their way. But should you?
We've been asked a lot of questions about HOW cruise with kids, but only recently were we asked, "SHOULD we?" MONDAY we'll share our thoughts on the pros and cons of cruising with kids.
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