Yeah, yeah, yeah...the grass is always greener on the previous side of the century.
Personally, I'll take the gizmos thanks. I mean, it's not like their failure prohibits a Pardey-esque jaunt, they just make the other 99% of passages that much easier and relaxing.
You don't have a motor or radar or vhf or gps in your boat right? (chortle)
Nah, I like my gizmos as much as the next guy, and I would guess that my little tub has more of them than most cruising boats of comparable size... I was simply pointing out how commonplace it has become, for cruising plans to become altered, or aborted, due to issues with such "accessories"...
However, I will always view the incredible complexity I see creeping into so many modern cruising boats as a dangerous trend. I've not had good luck with some of these networked/daisy-chained systems, which as Michael seems to be finding out, can be very difficult for most of us to troubleshoot... I much prefer systems that stand alone, and don't take down other features with them, should they crash... If my chartplotter goes TU, for example, I can still have a functional AIS simply by plugging the GPS input into one of a few other backup GPS units I carry... Unfortunately, these fully-integrated systems are what all the manufacturers are pushing, these days...
Again, I don't mean to be critical of Michael or anyone else, here, but there is also a tremendous value in installing as much of this stuff as one can, yourself... For example, seems to me he might do well to just rip out his entire SSB installation, and start over from scratch. Installing an SSB is not rocket science - trust me, if an electrical/electronics dumbass like ME can do it, ANYONE can... No matter how buggered the original installation in Vancouver was, unless the equipment has been actually somehow damaged, there's no reason he shouldn't be able to get it functioning reliably, assuming he has access to any parts or materials he might require... Obviously, by heading to Uruguay, he'll hopefully manage to accomplish that...
Black boxes on a boat can be nice to have, but they should always be viewed with fear, and trepidation (grin) And, in my observation, the cruisers out there who appear to be the happiest, and most likely to stick with it for the long haul, are those who've made carefully considered choices to avoid unnecessary complexity in their boats, or reliance on the uninterrupted flow of electrons inside of tiny black boxes that most of us would not dare to attempt to open...
Anyway, while the following doesn't necessarily relate directly to some of the issues Michael has experienced, Beth Leonard & Evans Starzinger have said it far better than I ever can... And so, without further ado, may I present the Single Best Article EVER Published in a Glossy Cruising Rag...(grin)
You'll have to download the pdf file here:
WHAT TWO CIRCUMNAVIGATORS LEFT OFF WHEN THEY EQUIPPED THEIR
© 2006 Beth A. Leonard & Evans Starzinger
Sailing, like life, is about tradeoffs. One of the most basic tradeoffs has to do with when
we stop working and start cruising. If we buy into the boat show hype and the “must-have, can’t
leave without” equipment advertisements, for many of us the “when” will fade to an “if”—and
eventually into a “might-have been.” A second basic tradeoff, as we discovered over the course
of our three-year circumnavigation, has to do with how much time we spend seeing the places we
sail to and how much time we spend in chandleries, boatyards, freight offices and on our
stomachs in the bilge of the boat. The more comfortable and convenient a boat, the more
complicated—and the more time will be spent fixing it instead of sightseeing.
The main thing we tried to leave off the boat was complexity. We can always make our
simple boat more complex, but it can be almost impossible to simplify a complex boat. So far,
we’re very happy with our decisions. By leaving off the things on the list above, we saved at
least $15,000—one year’s cruising budget. Even more importantly, after four months and 3,000
nautical miles, we don’t have anything we need to fix. We’re more relaxed, seeing more of the
places we visit, and enjoying ourselves more. Compared to our last voyage, not only did we
leave off the complexity, we also left off a lot of the stress. And that makes sense.