Sense and Simplicity

11 Responses

  1. Matias Vidal says:

    Hi Neil, I can tell I’m in much the same path as you (maybe there is some hidden powers in the wharrams). I’m an (ex)computer geek, liked gadgets and always follow the last tech trend. I’m technically capable to make my boat a floating mess of sensors and computers linked with GPS/HAM Radio, an external website, code an automatic logger, etc etc etc. I could build and maintain such system it myself.
    But some time ago I made the decision to leave that and go cruising in the simplest and non tech way that I consider safe. As you well said, part of this cruising thing is to leave this crust of tech that we have around and get in touch directly with nature, simplifying our life.
    I’m starting walking that path April first, when I will move to my small cat, leave my tech job and start my journey. Time will tell if I’m man enough to live such life.

    Anyway, congrats for your build and sharing your thoughts.

    /Matias

    PD: some other interesting blogs:
    http://adventuresinvoluntarysimplicity.blogspot.com/
    http://sailingsimplicity.com

  2. Chuck says:

    Neil,

    I am in the same situation, although not building my own boat (Shane at budgetboater is building mine). I am considering composting toilets as being simpler (airhead, natures head), good used Itronix computers (sea clear navigation software, digitized music and photos on separate solid state hard drives), propulsion of some sort is necessary for me (nothing to prove), simple GPS. I probably will try to stay as simple as possible and spend 6 months sailing before deciding what I really need. I think I will leave room for the goodies, but install them when I feel it’s necessary. My mind chances daily…………it depends on my finances a lot.

    My current song is the "Mingulay boat song" Try Richard Thompson’s version. It’s stuck in my head!

    Chuck

    Chuck

  3. Martin says:

    Hi Neil,

    I am going through a very similar "mental torture". I want to keep my boat simple enough (and affordable enough) yet there are new "gadgets" out there that really appeal to me. My main dilemmas right now are definitely propulsion and electricity generation.

    I love the idea of electric motors but actual real life data seems to be very scarce. I am now at the point where I pretty much hate oil, petroleum and the companies that make billions in profit with this humongously polluting ressource. However, I feel that alternate propulsion (some sort of motors) is pretty much a must for me (safety and convenience). Finally, electric motors are light but batteries are heavy and they need recharge somehow.

    The electricity generation aspect is much of the same. I am trying hard to do without a generator (even a small one). However, a combination of solar panels, wind generator and towed water-generator is very attractive BUT still pretty complex and overall heavy. The only factor that helps is the same question you are asking: "do I really need that?". If the answer is no, it will not make it onboard my boat.

    Keep up the good work and the good reflexions. If I ever find the "magic" solution, I will be sure to share it.

    Cheers

    Martin

  4. Matias Vidal says:

    Hi Neil, I can tell I’m in much the same path as you (maybe there is some hidden powers in the wharrams). I’m an (ex)computer geek, liked gadgets and always follow the last tech trend. I’m technically capable to make my boat a floating mess of sensors and computers linked with GPS/HAM Radio, an external website, code an automatic logger, etc etc etc. I could build and maintain such system it myself.
    But some time ago I made the decision to leave that and go cruising in the simplest and non tech way that I consider safe. As you well said, part of this cruising thing is to leave this crust of tech that we have around and get in touch directly with nature, simplifying our life.
    I’m starting walking that path April first, when I will move to my small cat, leave my tech job and start my journey. Time will tell if I’m man enough to live such life.

    Anyway, congrats for your build and sharing your thoughts.

    /Matias

    PD: some other interesting blogs:
    http://adventuresinvoluntarysimplicity.blogspot.com/
    http://sailingsimplicity.com

  5. Matias Vidal says:

    Hi Neil, I can tell I’m in much the same path as you (maybe there is some hidden powers in the wharrams). I’m an (ex)computer geek, liked gadgets and always follow the last tech trend. I’m technically capable to make my boat a floating mess of sensors and computers linked with GPS/HAM Radio, an external website, code an automatic logger, etc etc etc. I could build and maintain such system it myself.
    But some time ago I made the decision to leave that and go cruising in the simplest and non tech way that I consider safe. As you well said, part of this cruising thing is to leave this crust of tech that we have around and get in touch directly with nature, simplifying our life.
    I’m starting walking that path April first, when I will move to my small cat, leave my tech job and start my journey. Time will tell if I’m man enough to live such life.

    Anyway, congrats for your build and sharing your thoughts.

    /Matias

    PD: some other interesting blogs:
    http://adventuresinvoluntarysimplicity.blogspot.com/
    http://sailingsimplicity.com

  6. Matias Vidal says:

    Hi Neil, I can tell I’m in much the same path as you (maybe there is some hidden powers in the wharrams). I’m an (ex)computer geek, liked gadgets and always follow the last tech trend. I’m technically capable to make my boat a floating mess of sensors and computers linked with GPS/HAM Radio, an external website, code an automatic logger, etc etc etc. I could build and maintain such system it myself.
    But some time ago I made the decision to leave that and go cruising in the simplest and non tech way that I consider safe. As you well said, part of this cruising thing is to leave this crust of tech that we have around and get in touch directly with nature, simplifying our life.
    I’m starting walking that path April first, when I will move to my small cat, leave my tech job and start my journey. Time will tell if I’m man enough to live such life.

    Anyway, congrats for your build and sharing your thoughts.

    /Matias

    PD: some other interesting blogs:
    http://adventuresinvoluntarysimplicity.blogspot.com/
    http://sailingsimplicity.com

  7. Jacques says:

    Hi Neil,

    Exactly, the same for me. Motorless, I dont think I will do that, just for safety. It is easy to lose a boat just because you miss a channel inlet and cannot avoid the rocks (I have read stories like this and recall a personal experience on a small Edel in mediterranee). A Tiki38 is not exactly a bicycle, more like an aircraft carrier. This said trying to not use the engines is my goal.
    Otherwise, I am in the process of sorting the "nice to have" opposed to the "have to have", meanwhile watching closely my finance. There is no doubt that i can only afford the have to have and that is fine with me.

  8. Shane Miller says:

    Niel,

    I have already gone through the torture that you feel. Having spent 12 years living and cruising on boats (2 of which were Wharrams – Tangaroa and Tiki 30) I have come to find that some "simplicities" are far more complicated and expensive that some modern forms. I will use lighting for one example: Good oil lamps are very expensive, they put out meager amounts of light, cost more to operate, and weigh more than an LED type system. LEDs use small amounts of power, have very tiny and light weight wiring, last longer than you or I will, can be very bright, and can run for weeks on a tiny battery. With a small solar panel, they are by far the simplest lighting system you can own, with maybe a 10-15 battery change as the only form of maintenance they will ever need.

    This is just one example. I could go on and on. I lived the Pardey’s way. My fist boat was an engineless sloop with oil lamps and self steering gear. My tangaroa was also engineless (most of the time since the 22 year old outboard usually never ran) and had only a small electrical system for nav lights, interior lights and fans. From these experiences, I can reliably tell you that if you do not start out with an engine, you will eventually get one. I was in my early and mid-twenties when I was engineless, and still found many times when I really wanted one. They are good things to have, even if you only use it occasionally.

    You have to look closely at what simplicity really is. Some of the old ways are still the simplest ways – like good anchors and chain – and some are far more difficult, time consuming, and/or expensive than modern versions. Weigh each one carefully.

  9. Beat Rettenmund says:

    I totally second Shane. Experience is an asset that makes many things easier. I guess the question is what do you do if you don’t have the experience, if you are one of those who always have to venture into new territories and constantly find themselves having to make decisions without having the necessary experience. My strategy with equipping Aluna has been that nothing comes on board until I absolutely need it, until I have made every effort to conceive a way to live and thrive without it. After five months in the water here’s where I’m at:
    Electronics: handheld GPS, handheld VHF, once delving into the blue waters, the computer will be on board, hooked up to USB GPS and a small World Band receiver for a "gods view" of the weather. I’m anxious to see how often i will actually use the latter.
    Lights: So far been living quite well with just flash- and headlamps. Roofs are wired for LED ceiling lights and switches, I am presently casting the LED lights in epoxy. Have plenty of materials on board to eventually wire the boat very basically; one 100Ah battery in each hull, small auxiliary battery in pod.
    Motors: All the painstakingly collected parts for a low tech electric motor system have been sold off by now without too much of a monetary loss. This decision was arrived at less than a minute after putting the 8 100Ah batteries on board and seeing Aluna sinking an inch and a half into the wet. Now have two 7.5hp gas suckers installed. In all the outings done so far have never felt the need to use both at the same time.
    Departure for the crossing to Hawaii is set for June and I don’t foresee any major expenditures equipment wise before that.
    So in that sense there’s nothing wrong with launching Gleda engineless, taking her out a couple times with plenty friends on board who can wield sticks, oars, hands, feet and what not, to ward of immediate dangers and some other forms of embarrassments. You’ll soon get a good sense if you want an engine or not.
    Looking good, Glenn, you’re picking up the pace!

  10. Thomas Nielsen says:

    There is a warmth to the light thrown from a kerosene lantern as it swings on its hook. It is the flame of human civilization. But it is anything but simple. self-contained LED lights with 50,000 hr lifespans powered by a small solar array with the energy stored in 2 to 4 AAA batteries though complex in their engineering are simple in their performance. No wicks to trim, no kerosene to spill, no soot to breathe.

  11. Beat Rettenmund says:

    Oops, just realized that I threw a wrong name at you, Neil. Any way to correct this?

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