Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sailing Minimalism

We are still here in PV working on boat projects, which is actually pretty fun. As mentioned in my last post, it is both challenging and very rewarding to learn-- often by trial and error-- how to work on boats.

As the old saying goes: "What's the definition of sailing? Fixing expensive things in foreign ports..."

Actually, we are very fortunate in that our boat is very simple (I like to call it "minimalist sailing"). When outfitting our boat, we put most of the $$ into the core essentials...new rigging, new sails, new anchors, etc...things that make a boat 'go' and 'stop'. Thus, most of our current boat projects are cosmetic, maintenance, or preventative work...re-doing the teak varnish, polishing the decks and stainless, changing the oil in the diesel, etc.

I contrast our work with the daunting tasks that some of our dock neighbors are doing....rebuilding engines, overhauling entire (and very costly electrical systems), fixing esoteric plumbing systems, etc.

Which brings us to another relevant saying: "The likelihood of major systems failure increases exponentially with system complexity." And boy, are some of these boats complex...to wit:

They have wicked cool navigation / communication / entertainment systems, all integrated together and talking to one another, with lots of flat panel displays throughout the nav station and cockpit. We have a handheld GPS and some paper charts.

They have $7,000 water maker systems with multi stage filtration and advanced reverse osmosis membranes. We have two built-in water tanks (that we fill with a hose) and two $20 jerry cans.

They have forced-air air conditioning systems. We have two battery operated fans we bought at Target for $5 (and amazingly, have never used, although we have actually loaned them out to one of our fancy-boat friends).

They have high power, generator driven refrigeration and ice-making systems. We have an icebox with a very small cold plate (although we did, in fact, once make a tray of ice during the 31-hour motor-crossing from Baja to Mazatlan). (We also have friends with ice-makers...)

Yes, I admit to sometimes succumbing to "gadget envy." But then again, we both enjoy the exact same sunsets, sandy beaches, and snorkeling. And, while they spend half of their time sitting in a marina, waiting for parts to arrive from the U.S....we are out blasting around the bay at 7.2 knots!

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