Fortunately, for my own sanity, I don't worship one author or another and read them all. After over 34+ years on the water I've been lucky enough to find what works for me and I think this is the most important. I've done it both ways, old school and new, and everywhere in between..
From ages 6 through 12 I sailed extensively with my parents and grandparents to places far and wide. Most of this time was spend in old boats with either no or very little electrical systems and usually no propulsion.
We navigated the old fashioned way and used old brass oil lamps as running lights. The decks always leaked and the boat always smelled musty despite exquisite care as they were wood canvas. I grew to both enjoy this simplicity and to hate it.
Fast forward: From ages 12 to 24 I sailed on literally 60-70 different sail boats on deliveries and working as crew and also many different power boats also as either first mate or crew. Many were "fancy" for their day but not by todays standards.
For some strange reason I am always the default mechanical or person folks turn to when systems or equipment fail so I have a fair amount of experience in this department as well.
What I've learned:
I like pressure water but I back it up with foot pumps.
I like GPS/Plotters but always carry two spares and back these up with real charts, compass and DR and off shore a sextant.
I like solar panels and simple battery systems with a battery monitor such as a link 10. I do not like gen sets of any kind including the small Honda's.
I like roller furling and prefer a main sail with a minimum of three reef points.
I like a decent amount of chain on my anchoring system and keep two complete rode sets, beyond my primary, on board.
I don't like electric windlasses. I've fixed far to many thus I now use a manual windlass when and if I ever need it.
I like to have a stereo on board and use an iPod to supply music to it. Properly installed car stereos have worked very well for me and I've never had one fail.
I use radar and prefer a mast mount for performance. Unfortunately I have a stern pole on this boat that I will be converting to a mast mount as soon as I get the chance.
Racing and cruising techniques do work well & blend together well.
I prefer a dry bilge. nuff said
I carry many spares. nuff said
I use a radar reflector.
I don't like metal winch handles and prefer the Titan plastic floating handles.
I don't like 5200 or Silicone and use them very, very carefully.
I don't like exterior teak and I'm far to anal to let it go gray..
I like Tef-Gel, Lanocote, McLube, Boeshield & P.B. Blaster & feel WD-40 is the most overrated product ever produced.
I have davits and like them but NOT in rough weather! They are not however a necessity for me just a luxury.
I like tinned marine grade wire and adhesive lined heat shrink and use it.
I like fuses.
I don't like fancy alternator/regulator systems (had two fail) and prefer a standard large alternator of the maximum size for my belt.
I carry a spare regulator.
I prefer proper sea cocks and AWAB or better hose clamps doubled up.
I like depth sounders but have no use for a speed log.
I like my wind instrument but can do without.
I like my macerator but if going cruising it would be converted to a hand operated pump for reliability.
I like three blade props (reliable) and will never buy a fancy mechanical prop again...
I like ventilation and opening ports.
I like ST winches and rope clutches but would not go out of my way to convert.
I like Gore Stuffing Box Packing & PSS shaft seals.
I don't like computers for navigation and use one for my photography only. Been there tried it went back to a plotter.
I like helm mounted data.
I like nav-pods to keep my instruments dry.
I like a forward facing nav station.
I like at least one proper sea berth.
I like properly placed hand holds below decks.
I like cockpit cushions but they are not a necessity
I like dodgers (won't sail without one) & bimini's (don't want cancer) but they come off in really bad, green water, weather.
I like to eat so a stove/oven is a necessity
I like to BBQ but have yet to find a good one so we currently don't use one. Could care less really.
I like coffee. Been using Folgers...
I like having a real mattress pad and sheets & custom made a set from a king to fit our berth.
I enjoy hot water but it's not a necessity for me.
I HATE showering in the head (mold) and instead have a cockpit mounted wand..
I like redundant bilge pumps, two electric with one spare and one Whale manual type.
I prefer a keel stepped mast.
I like the safety & stability of inflatable dinghy's and a small 2 stroke. I don't like four strokes (been there done that sold it).
I have an epirb.
I like a good fixed mount VHF but also carry two spare hand held units that accept standard batteries.
I carry a ditch bag and a pelican case with spare GPS, VHF, Strobes and a large supply of Lithium AA batteries to power everything in the case in event we need them.
I use a manual flush toilet but carry spares.
I carry extra swage-less fittings and lots of rigging spares.
I carry spare hoses, clamps, electrical, nuts bolts screws, fuses, breakers, o-rings, sail repair supplies on and on and on...
So my preferred luxuries are really pressure water, GPS, Radar and a Stereo (so frivolous I know)..
Please keep in mind the above description is what works for ME and what I've learned personally from my own experiences. This may not suit YOU and I would not expect it to!
Unfortunately, I find the levels of hero worshiping on this and other forums kind of disconcerting and alarming.?
Some worship the likes of Lin and Larry or Casey or the Leonard's but I truly feel that this is a personal issue and one should ONLY be GUIDED by books they read not brainwashed or indoctrinated.
I'm in NO WAY pointing fingers at ANYONE in this particular thread at all and I include many forums from CS-BB, Cruisers Forums, SBO, SSCA, et.al when I talk about hero worshiping not just Sailnet. Sadly, many of these authors, and I've read them all, speak for what works for THEM and some portray this as the ONLY way things should be done.
If you've been around boat a while then you know there are literally 100's of ways to skin the same cat and meet the same end result. People do it differently every single day..!!
My suggestion is read as much as you can, but don't worship, and be sure to know what works for YOU not some author. When I say author that includes MY list of what works for ME above. If you find something in my list or an authors book useful to YOU then adopt it but don't do as some do and blindly accept a printed authors word for it just because it was in a "book"...
To be perfectly honest I have learned more on sailing forums and found far better answers to questions than I have in my very large library of marine related books.