Now, suppose Neptune came tromping aboard your boat . . . . - SailNet Community

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Old 01-07-2012
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Now, suppose Neptune came tromping aboard your boat . . . .

From Jim Howard's bible (2nd ed.) of offshore cruising (an X-mas gift, thanks!):

"Now suppose Neptune came tromping aboard your boat in a particularly bad mood one day and said, 'OK, Captain Oak, I'm tired of pandering to all you fiberglassed, electronic, polyester polliwogs. Starting right now we're going back to the good old days of wooden ships and iron men. Say goodbye to all of your high-tech goodies. From now on it's hand, reef, and steer for every man-jack among ya . . . Well, OK, you can keep one of your toys--but only one.'"

Now we know what Howard's answer to this question is, but my question to you all is: which one would YOU keep and why?
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Old 01-07-2012
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Does the marine head count as a toy?
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Old 01-07-2012
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A self inflating life raft....... inevitably
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For my kids and occasional soused landlubber crew it does! But seriously, would the head be your choice? I suspect not, but let us know!
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Google any of the graveyards of the Atlantic to find the ratio of fiberglass polliwogs to wooden ships on the sea floor. This Neptune guy is tough.
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The old wooden buckets have splinters galore. Yes, the marine head is it!
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Old 01-07-2012
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I know a fella who says that the only thing that goes wrong on a sailboat are engines and electronics -- so he carries neither (his outboard is a non-functioning ornament on his sternrail).

I dunno... electronics are a convenience that's nice to have but given the time to study I could do celestial nav I guess. I could probably get used to 'hanging it over the side' as well.

Tell Neptune to take it all and I'll get back to him in a week as to which one I'd want.

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Old 01-07-2012
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Great question.

My first reaction was that I would like to keep my chartplotter - then I started to think about it. Almost all of my cruising is within sight of land; I use my paper charts to plot my courses and to ascertain my positions; I use my chartplotter to confirm where I already (think) I know where I am and as a speedometer (log).

I think I could get by without any of the technologies that I have on my boat - although the engine is handy for when I positively have to get there.

If I could keep one, it would probably be my autohelm. I am usually single-handing and my TillerPilot sure makes things easier. If the autohelm failed I know I could still get by pretty well.
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Old 01-07-2012
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I've only docked a sailboat one time without an engine--I got lucky and didn't hit anyone, and didn't kill myself. So I guess I really don't need an engine, but it would be difficult to give it up.

I tried using a sextant in the lower reaches of Chesapeake Bay, and from my viewpoint, it was worthless. Of course, this may have something to do with my ineptitude, but I won't say this was the only reason.

The one item I rely heavily upon, whether on a powerboat or sailboat, is my GPS/plotter. The accuracy has been uncanny, and if it were not for unlit pound nets, day markers and crab pot markers, I would sail on the GPS day or night without any qualms. Because of my recent incident of nearly nailing a pound net in the middle of the night, one that was set illegally I might add, I decided to install broadband radar on the boat as well--just to be on the safe side.

So, if there were only one item I could keep, it would definitely be the GPS Plotter. I'm not at all good sailing by the seat of my pants, slinging a weighted line to determine the depth, and I sure as Hell don't want to rely on a sextant while bouncing around in 10-foot swells in the middle of the ocean.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 01-07-2012
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I'm not sure he meant the engine. My boat is already wooden, and has only two installed peices of electronics: the vhf and the depthsounder. Both are nearly indispensable. I've always thought that if I could only have one electronic geegaw, it would be the fathometer. Before anyone tells me about lead-lines, I know all about them. I had to learn to use one in the USCG (yes, in the 20th century). But that doesn't help you much as you feel your way singlehanded into a new harbor or anchorage. Nothing beats knowing the water depth at a glance.
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