Re: The economics of sailing around the world
My observations are based on what I see on boats that are far from home and from talking to people that are walking the walk. What Slocum or Aebi or anyone else had is basically irrelevant. If they were doing it today, chances are they souls use modern technology - and I say this as someone who started sailing offshore only with a sextant, RDF, and VHF.
From my perspective, your mileage may differ:
- radar is on 95% of boats. If you are doing a cocoanut rtw you could do without it. For this trip I would prefer AIS
- chartplotter (or laptop charting) is on virtually 100% of boats, must be someone not using this but haven't met them; convenient and saves vast sums compared to paper charts
- VHF -universal, but quite inexpensive,required for entry (and exit) to many commercial harbours
- SSB - probably on 90% of boats, a good shortwave receiver on virtually all. Approaching the South African coast without access to shortwave weather broadcasts would be foolhardy at best and fatal at worst. With SSB it is fairly routine. BTW, the dangers from the Agulhas Current extend beyond the reach of VHF.
- watermaker - probably 75% of boats; rarely an absolute necessity but adds to the quality of life (not talking about hot showers in particular, more about not having to worry about a) quantity of water and b) quality - often times shore water cannot be trusted.
- solar/wind - more than 95% have one or both, the rest run gensets, often twice a day.
- genset - probably 80% of boats, virtually 100% on boats over 40 feet which is to say most boats
- inboard engines - all except one guy on an ancient Bristol 27 even though Slocum did without
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.