Very much appreciated Zephyr's input. Counter argument is wait until you need it before putting major improvements.
Actually it is not a counter argument. I agree with you completely. Not only for the big things but the little ones too. One mistake I made (out of a universe of thousands) was purchasing items because I would need them in the future. Charts - they get revised. Flares - they go out of date. Tow Insurance - your paying for 12 months. When I came back to the United States I had getting tow insurance on my mind. If you travel the ICW you know why. It took great personal discipline (something I don't normally have) to wait until I was off the coast to call and renew my insurance. I most likely only got a week or so of additional time but I promised myself that I would wait until I actually needed the insurance.
The only exception to this rule was noted in my previous post - purchasing parts outside the US. In addition to the higher prices VAT is a killer. Yes, you can get it refunded but that is another process and another wait.
I waited until I was crossing the Atlantic before I purchased a Sat Phone. I was pretty comfortable with the SSB radio as long as I was only about 500 miles offshore. But I was not comfortable with it when I was 1000 miles offshore. A note on that - I know there are people who long distance cruise with just a VHF radio. I guess they assume they can raise another boat if they get in trouble. During our 27 day transit from Tenerife to Sint Maarten we saw exactly 2 other boats and heard a total of 2 more on the radio. I don't choose to bet my life on VHF.
As mentioned in my previous post redundancy is another cost driver. When I originally went SSB I used The Airmail Home Page
Although the software is free - thank you Jim Coreman - the SCS Pactor Modem was about $1,200. Since then the folks at http://www.winlink.org
have created a new mode called RMS that does not require a modem. It is slower but substantially cheaper. When I purchased the Sat Phone (a IsatPhone Pro - Inmarsat
I ended up getting email too. Not cheap as I pay for airtime but I am happy to have a redundant system on board. BTW you are right the cost of these phones is dropping - dropping even faster is the cost of solar panels.
Anyway, I have spent far to much time posting. That may be because it is 21 degrees outside and Reboot
is covered in snow - in North Carolina. Oh well.
Fair winds and following seas.