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post #30 of Old 04-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Why a racer for cruising discussion...

Originally Posted by One View Post
I'm a minimalist. Even at home I don't have many things. I have good things, but not many. Reading your list, it seems you're carrying everything that can possibly fit somewhere on the boat. Obviously, if you consider everything a necessity, you will have a hard time carrying less.
What do you consider a minimalist? I hear that term thrown out a lot, generally by Americans (which I dont think you are) who think a minimalist is someone without a TV or microwave. I have never met a true minimalist as a cruiser, but have met a two or three in my previous life as a backpacker. Here is a minimalist to me:

They carried everything they own in a backpack. They caught rainwater or drank out of the stream. They fished for food, generally supplemented by what they could find on the trail. No radio. No electronics. Little to no money. They cook on a campfire and start the fire with flint and steel (a long lost art... though we had to do it many times too). The only modern part of them was their backpacks, tents, and hiking boots... all well worn. They disappeared in the wilderness for weeks at a time. Nice enough people, but not for me. That is a minimalist to me. If you are putting batteries in your boat, I personally would not consider you a minimalist. And the batteries you put in are very new technology, again not what I would see a minimalist ever doing.

The label is not important to me, and if you want to call yourself a minimalist or anyone else does, they are welcome to. Makes me no difference. Just my opinion.

Originally Posted by One View Post
It seems, that not only are you carrying everything and then some, but that you're not considering lightweight options for each items. For instance tools - A lot of my tools are (reasonably lightweight) motorcycle tools.
I find that comment pretty typical of someone who has not spent a lot of time cruising. It is one of those things that sounds good in theory, but in reality and practicality does not work.

The tools are what the tools are. Again: every tool has been used on this boat. The weight saved by using the Motorcycle type wrenches may be lost the first time you break one. Not to mention, we are splitting hairs on the small amount of weight saved with the few tools that can be purchased lightweight. I prefer solid, well made tools that will take a beating. If you are land-side, and your wrench breaks, no big deal. Go to the store and buy another. If you are at sea or a secluded anchorage and it breaks, you are screwed... just as screwed as if you didn't bring one in the first place. Modern sailboats, especially American made boats, are filled with a variety of different sizes and bolts and screws. A sailboat by its very nature is 80% made up of things bought from vendors. You will have to carry a full set of metric and american. You will have to have a variety of bits. You will have to carry both metric and american alan wrenches. A drill. A jig saw. Hole saws. Hack saw. A large variety of plumbing and electrical supplies. Can you get away without it? Certainly... until the first time something breaks. Better hope its not a critical system if you don't have the tool for it. Nothing pisses me off worse than hearing some cruiser complaining about a broken waterpump - not knowing where it is, not having a spare, and not having the tools to fix it. Those people are best left back at the yacht club where fixes are a phone call away. As an old Boy Scout, I say, "Be Prepared."

Originally Posted by One View Post
I will never carry anything cast iron, nor will I want a micro wave. It's a sailboat, and besides the space and weight it takes up, the micro wave uses a lot of power.
Another common misconception I see, generally from those that have not spent a lot of time cruising or away from the marinas. There are several modern items that have really changed sailing. The microwave is one of them. My microwave pulls 80 amps/h. Sounds like a lot, but it is not. Why? Because it only is run for minutes at a time. That comes out to 1.33 amps/minute. In three minutes, I can cook two cans of canned peas. In two minutes, I can heat up an entire can of soup. In one minute, I can cook fish fillets, which come out surprisingly awesome in the microwave - both juicy and tender. Those same items take considerably longer on the stove, and the fish for example, cooked in the oven, will use a LOT of gas and really heat up the cabin.

Microwaves can be run from an inverter - they do not require a generator. Their power use is minimal. They are quite light. Their size is small and they make a great place to put things in when at sea because the door can be easily closed and has a positive lock. And most of all, and maybe most importantly, they are readily available everywhere and are very cheap to obtain. Walmart sells them for $35. Your stove can easily run over a grand. Your stove uses propane or alcohol.

Now, as a cruiser, let me tell you what IS a real PITA to get: Propane. This often involves a long trek to some far off propane dealer to get it filled or exchanged... if available at all (not too many propane dealers in secluded anchorages). You can get diesel and gas on the water (to make electricity). No prob. A decent solar system will easily keep up for any loss of electricity the miserly microwave uses. But propane is a RIGHT PITA to get and we covet it, as do all cruisers I know.

Originally Posted by One View Post
As for the generator. If I was to carry a generator, it would be in lieu of the diesel engine. In other words, I would carry a generator only if I could get rid of the engine, and I mean that if at all possible, I'd get an electric engine.
Is this on your "canoe" boat? Is this something you would do or you have done? Not sure where you would put a generator on that boat anyways. However, the theory behind not having an engine and the reality I think are two different things. WHen a storm is bearing down on you, it sure is nice to have an engine as a calm often proceeds the storm. When going down the ICW with the Sportfish running you over and cutting you off, it sure is nice to have a engine. When trying to make against the current into a tight channel with breakers and shoals around you, it sure is nice to have an engine. When coming into a crowded marina where currents and winds are not favorable, it sure is nice to have an engine. I can think of a thousand reasons to have an engine, but cannot think of a single reason not to have one. An engine can make electricity, but I certainly do not see that as its key purpose. I believe an engine makes up not only a valuable asset on a cruising boat, but it also is a critical piece of safety gear.

You better research those electric drives pretty good, especially if you are worried about weight. I thought I heard even Lagoon dumped them? This is hearsay, but I was told a couple with a 420 was spending a LOT of money to have their electric drives ripped out or considering it. They were at one of our previous marinas. They HATE them.

When cruising, I believe that tried and true and dependable is more important that new and fashionable. Let the guys that don't leave the marinas horse around with the new technology. My life, and that of my family's, depends on my boat and its proper functioning. That is the mindset of a cruiser.

Originally Posted by One View Post
Speaking of which: Batteries! I already have LiFePo4 batteries. I will never go back to lead-acid, agm or whatever. Not only are the LiFePo4 batteries lighter for a given Ah rating, but they have many more useable amps than similarly rated old-tech batteries. And, since things needs to be charged: They are charged much faster, not least because they have next-to-no loss.
Lead acid batteries are tried, true, and inexpensive. More importantly, they are readily available anywhere. It baffles me why anyone would put a battery in their cruising boat that is not only incredibly expensive, but its availability in most areas is zilch. I paid $135 for my last 4d wet cell. When it goes out, I can probably replace it at any decent port, and if near a major port in the US, probably for the same $135. I plan for failure and how to work around it. Inability to replace systems, or rare and complicated systems without a working knowledge of them, is like playing with fire to me (as a cruiser).


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