Sense and Simplicity
I was having a bit of thinking time over a mug of tea early this morning and I wanted to pass on some of what was going through my head. As the build progresses my thoughts are turning to things like electrical systems, propulsion, plumbing etc. I confess to being a bit of a gadget sucker always looking at the latest ‘must have’. Although it’s a fairly harmless vice that gives me pleasure I dread to think how much money I’ve spent over the years and I’ve been continuing with this mindset when browsing for ideas that I could use on Gleda. There are some electric propulsion units coming through now, innovations with LED lighting, ‘marinised’ laptops, revolutionary ‘microwave’ radar …….the list is endless. At the same time that I’ve been looking though I’ve had a nagging guilt that none of these things fit comfortably with the rugged simplicity of a Wharram. What’s the point in having a simple, low maintenance, easily repaired boat and then making her reliant on sophisticated auxiliary systems. Apart from that, one of the most important objectives for this whole project is to achieve a ‘better life’ something that means reducing the stress and hassle that the ‘normal’ cluttered existence has in abundance. Over the past few months I’ve been reading quite a lot and a couple of authors in particular threw some stuff at me that started me thinking that I needed to change tack. Lin & Larry Pardey’s publications are well known and are a goldmine of information gleaned from many years of liveaboard cruising. Even the titles of their books fit perfectly with the Wharram way….. Cost Concious Cruising and The Self Sufficient Sailor to name but two. They are advocates of engineless cruising, they use oil lamps, they have no electrical wiring systems and no complicated plumbing. It all works and it’s all easily maintained. I also read a thought provoking book by Jay Fitzgerald called Sailing with Purpose: The Pursuit of The Dream, he is the author of several books about sailing and the opportunity it affords us to change our lifestyle, our outlook and ultimately our world. He’s an advocate of sailing without an engine, of making the sea our home, and of consciously leading lives that veer toward simplicity rather than consumption. I think it’s fair to say that Jay puts forward more than his fair share of controversial and thought provoking ideas and I don’t agree with some of the things he says however there is some really good stuff in there. He is currently homesteading in Hawaii and keeping an interesting blog called Sense and Simplicity. I’ve put a link to that over on the left. The books I’ve referenced above, along with many other things have led me to conclude that although I want Gleda to provide a high degree of comfort that doesn’t mean loading her with complicated equipment. I’m seriously considering going ‘engineless’ and I’ll be writing more on that subject later. Of one thing I’m sure though, before any other sytems are installed I will be asking the questions ‘can I live without it?’ ‘can it be easily repaired?’ ‘is there a simpler alternative?’.