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Old 08-27-2012, 06:22 AM   #21
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Summary of the budget cruiser's monthly costs:

$150 - Food, including occasional restaurant meals
$0 - Sightseeing costs
$0 - Mooring costs
$50 - Entry and exit fees
$100 - Repairs and maintenance, including replacing spares as they are used
$0 - Health costs (medical, dental)
$0 - Alcohol and cigarettes
$10 - Clothing
$50 - Haulouts for cleaning and repairs
$0 - Insurance
$50 - Sail replacement
$50 - Fuel including diesel, petrol, kerosene and LPG
$? - Bribes to officials
$25 - Licences including passport, ship registration and radio

Total: $485/month out of a $500/month budget

The remainder can be spent on bribes, booze and entertainment. Yes, this is a TIGHT budget but since the cruiser will often be at sea for weeks at a time it's quite doable, even in Australia, provided restraint and planning are used.

Note that if there are no entry/exit fees one month, the money can be used in other ways such as staying at a cheap marina for a day or buying yourself a bottle or two of cheap hooch. Likewise if you're not motoring much, the cost of diesel will be low and thus free some change for visiting places that have an entry fee. It's not set in stone here, be fluid in your thinking but stick to the target.

With secondhand yachts available in the $5,000 range and with $5k-10k of repairs and spares, one could set up for a frugal but interesting lifestyle costing a mere $6,000 a year. Any extra available from income sources can then be invested, and at my age the best place for it would be superannuation, thus reducing tax on my income to zero. A self-managed super fund could, in fact, buy the yacht in the first place.

Other ways to simplify life:

As someone with no fixed address (i.e. either afloat or living in a van) you can, in Australia, change your AEC voting registration to show this. Voting at elections is then totally optional.

Further cost saving ideas:

Grow bean sprouts, herbs and tomatoes aboard.
Use the internet in town libraries.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:50 AM   #22
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Ivo--

Oh, I figured you must be one of the people who have been reading our blog posts for the past 6 years and you remembered something I didn't about our install of the Tank Tender! That happens--I get an email from someone and I have NO CLUE about what they're referring to until I go back and re-read something I wrote 3 or 4 years ago!

There is a little metal fitting that is used at the top of each tank. Its purpose is to mechanically secure the hose to the tank itself, at a minimum. The rather stiff hose which goes straight down into the tank is attached to the little metal fitting and the flexible hose which is routed to the tank tender and used for sending the puff of air is attached to the little metal fitting on the outside of the tank. Pretty simple and yes, it is a place where one could conceivably lose air pressure. However, it is quite accessible, simple (ah, you're just sending air) and easy to get at if you need to replace it. Compared to all the other tank measurement systems one might install (uh, besides a nut on a string...) including site glass, this is pretty robust, simple, and reliable.

Our repair--according to Hubby, we did have a problem with one fitting and it had a bit of plastic sitting in it or some such thing. He can't recall now (it's been a couple years) because it wasn't a big deal once he took a close look at it.

Fair winds,

Haiqu,

You're focused on cost. Don't be. I repeat, simplicty and cost are not the same thing. One can live a frugal life that is very complicated because one is being so frugal. On the other hand, one can live a simple life that is very expensive because the person has chosen expensive but simple things to have in their life. Cost and simplicty aren't the same thing all the time.

We really enjoy the boat--we find it a wonderful experience to live aboard and sail. Believe it or not, compared to many cruisers we know, our boat and our life is pretty simple. We're really not doing things in "style" as far as the average cruiser is concerned! No "regular" marine head, no refrigeration, no pressure water, no chart plotter, no radar (at present), no hot water, no electric winches, no outboard, no propane stove (we've got kero), no microwave, no coffeemaker...it's a long list of what we don't have that almost everyone does expect to have aboard for comfort. Style? no...we're doing things in "deep, deep retro" style which isn't exactly "in." LOL.

You are right that the bigger the boat the more expensive things become in terms of sheer quantity of materials (sail cloth) or equipment (eg that anchor windlass if purchased new would cost more than a cruising boat we used to own and sold to a friend who is now cruising it in Mexico. Of course, I don't see us buying that windlass new...). The cost of the equipment for a larger boat doesn't make it any more complex a piece of equipment though--it's just larger or more powerful thus costing more. So, cruising on larger boats need not necessarily be "less simple" and more complex at all even though the cost of bigger X is usually more than smaller X. When I think of the cost of replacing some of the larger items on the boat, I swallow and hope that we will never have to do so. It's a big dent.

I'd suggest that anyone who is thinking about living a simple life also think about what simple really means.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:29 PM   #23
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RBP and Haiqu

RBP, yup, that connection might have been the problem. The principle of the system itself is genial. Hardly any moving parts, no electricity or electrical interference issues, lightning-proof and almost nothing to corrode. I'm surprised they can still ask like $700 for one but they must be getting it. Perhaps due to a very well written patent and salivating swarms of sea-lawyersters.

The beauty of the TT is that a single pressure gauge will measure any kind of fluid. Usually the Tank Tender is calibrated for inches of water, diesel and gas(liquid) pressure. Mine is called "Tank Sight" and Homeland Security comes snooping every time I google it to see if the defunct mfr. of it still exists. It uses the same principle but I do not know who's the knock-off, both makes look like brother and sister.

Haiku: short, strong, deep.

You obviously enjoy great health to enable your very strict but still do-able regimen. There are others that I guess are less fortunate or worry more. You may be at one end of the spectrum when it comes to optimism and budgeting. I'm also very much like that yet perhaps am a bit more sanguine and realistic about costs.

Bobeep is right in saying that stuff will cost SOMETHING and that there are some basic minimal things most cruisers should have aboard. If not for their own but for other's sake. The Pardees travelled motorless and so did Columbus, but do WE want to hoe that path? Your under $10K figure for a 35-40 (my guess) ft sized cruiser is I think utopia. Figure perhaps 30-60k for anything that you will not have to spend at least as much more on. Yet, there might be that lucky buy out there. Anything below 35' is in my opinion too small to carry all your cruising accoutrements. Youse ain't Lewis and Clark.

Searching far and wide I found my boat. Very good bones, most systems already installed but a few "huh?" ideas too. Owner lost interest and the fixes needed were enough to put off other buyers. That kind of vessel is a very good choice for a cash-poor but resourceful cruiser wanna be, as you will pay pennies on the dollar. You WILL put in a lot of elbow grease and work though. It's Cash, G or A** no-one rides for free.

The used sailing materials stores like in Ft. Lauderdale, St. Augustines, Annapolis etc. are great resources, as are ebay and the marina flea markets and bulletin boards. Put together a shopping list with the idea of only buying at well below new cost and give yourself a year or two to fill it. No rush, stuff will come up. Even obsolete items that you need to repair or find parts for.

Parts: Mfrs. buy the cheapest, commonest parts they can find, slap the label "marine" on it, jump up the price and voila, they have created wealth. Your job is to find the same part under a different name, used in a common tractor engine perhaps, and priced as such. Then repairs and sailing on a tight budget are possible.

Ivo s/v Linnupesa
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:35 PM   #24
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This is a tread that complements very well what I'm investigating.
See, in reference to ports. I have understood that there is a significant difference when the boat is over 40 feet in the daily cost of mooring. It is in this way?

PD: Amazing pictures! TK
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post

You're focused on cost. Don't be. I repeat, simplicty and cost are not the same thing. One can live a frugal life that is very complicated because one is being so frugal. On the other hand, one can live a simple life that is very expensive because the person has chosen expensive but simple things to have in their life. Cost and simplicty aren't the same thing all the time.
Everything has a cost. That may be in terms of money, skills learned to do something yourself or time taken to figure it out as and when needed. Being cash poor and somewhat rich in terms of available time and skills, my focus is on maximizing the ability to stay aboard and cruise rather than going back to the rat race in search of further funds.

It behooves anyone contemplating cruising to do a budget of minimum cash costs, and I'm sure there are many who haven't gotten as far as analyzing this in any great depth.

As for "cost and simplicity aren't the same thing all the time", I have no disagreement there and the point seems to be laboured. However, one can only choose to live a simple life that is very expensive if one is wealthy.

@Linnupesa: The Pardees had a very liberal budget in today's terms. I don't see them as being anything to emulate at all. Likewise, Slocum was treated like a king almost everywhere he went, from free tows into port to lunches at the governor's house. Sure won't get that kind of treatment any more on a cruise.

As for the figure to buy the boat being utopian, I for one will be keeping under $12k for a fully prepared and outfitted 35' ferro, but I did search for 2 years for the right bargain and haggled, and I'll be doing all the work myself. Really depends on what you settle for here, if I had gone for GRP or steel the price might be $15k higher for the same size. Classic timber ... could be $20k higher again and way more work.

Totally agree about shopping around for parts, there's nothing so expensive as the item you need right away.

Rob
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:41 PM   #26
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The Pardeys are a good example of living a simple cruising life. They were realistic in terms of their wants, needs, and desires. They sailed two different small boats under 30', they did average about half the time working and the other half sailing over their cruising of 3+ decades. Their boat(s) didn't have electrical system, engine, no shower, no toilet (yes, they're bucket people), no outboard for the dingy, nothing fancy. They used kero running lights and had a battery for their VHF with small folding solar panel to keep it charged. I believe by now they've got regular electric running lights. Well, the life they've chosen aboard is quite simple and because they've always chosen to live very small, it is easier to keep it simple. They published their cruising costs back in the 1970's early 80's maybe to be something like $500/mo including sails and all. They did all boat maintenance themselves. If you put in inflation, that $500/mo would be somewhere between $12K and $18K per year these days. The lives they lived for many years cruising were "hard work" but do fit in the description of "simple" because they didn't try to install and maintain a bunch of different systems. They tried to be as simple as possible in method and to use the highest quality materials to make things last as long as possible.


OK, I guess I wasn't really clear. There are so many things to think about when contemplating what is the simple cruising life that Aussee started the conversation with. The things which can make one cruisers' life simple might actually really complicate the life of another cruiser. All very individual.

For example, choosing to sail in places where the sailing is relatively "easy" and one is not likely to get into heavy weather is one way of simplifying one's cruising life. This happens when people leave the US and sail around in Mexico. Similarly, there are reasons why many, many people bounce around the Caribbean for years. In both those locations, one may readily find shallow anchorages (easy to pull up the anchor by hand) and warm to hot weather (easy to forgo hot water for a solar shower). Yet, it is hot enough that most cruisers there want to have refrigeration and thus won't forgo that as a system even though it might come with the headache of finding ways to keep it running. The cruiser will want to think about binini, dodger, and all-boat covers to stay out of the hot sun and may need to have the complication of big water tankage and/or a watermaker since rain collection ops will be few. On the other hand, if one chooses to sail in higher latitudes, one will be forced to consider a heating system aboard, perhaps better ground tackle for the expected deeper anchorages, one might readily foregoe the refrigeration system and boat shade canvas and even the water maker (and capture rain water or fog on the sails instead).

Simple isn't so simple to describe all the time.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #27
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One of my favorite "simple" things is LED lights. They don't burn out, they don't rust, they don't suck your batteries. I've replaced almost all mine with LEDs.

The nav lights don't look as good and are probably more coherent in frequency than I would prefer, but they always work and they are much brighter for much less draw.

This makes a smaller battery system possible which makes the charging system simpler, too. I don't have to worry about running cabin lights at night.

I consider a reliable stove to be a necessity along with decent cooking gear.

I am sinfully attached to pressurized salt-water. Mine is rigged to take input from the bilge in an emergency. My engine is, too.

I like good hand tools.

I like good plastic boxes.

I love my wool blankets and clothes.

GPS - I admit it: I'm too lazy to learn sextant navigation. A cheap backup sealed with fresh batteries is good enough for me. My main system has moving maps with tide information and keeps me out of trouble.

I have a 10 inch DVD player as a luxury. I love to watch movies at night.

Really good anchoring gear. I can bring it up with my jib halyard winch, but I can't keep it down with anything but a good hook, good chain, and good line.

My dodger is a luxury I won't give up.

I have a head and tank and I hate them. The tank and the plumbing take up too much space and require too much maintenance and seldom smell quite right. I would prefer a bucket, but that excludes me from too many places.

The "bucket" I envision would be under a sturdy toilet seat and built with stability in mind. It would have a sealing cover so it could be conveniently carried ashore and washed out.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:59 PM   #28
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One of my favorite "simple" things is LED lights. They don't burn out, they don't rust, they don't suck your batteries. I've replaced almost all mine with LEDs.

The nav lights don't look as good and are probably more coherent in frequency than I would prefer, but they always work and they are much brighter for much less draw.


We love our LED lights as well. Masthead is LED for use when sailing but our deck level nav lights (can't legally use the tricolor masthead while motoring or motor sailing) remain the old-fashioned high energy use ones simply because we ONLY use them when motoring--and when motoring we can be charging batteries so it doesn't matter that we're using less efficient lighting.

This makes a smaller battery system possible which makes the charging system simpler, too. I don't have to worry about running cabin lights at night.


We are retrofitting the interior 12V Perko lights with warm white LED and really like them as well. There are nice 12V compact fluoresent lights available (more internationally than in the USA) which are more energy efficient (and cheaper up front) for the given level of light than the LED lights are. You may consider a combination of both as we have both.

I consider a reliable stove to be a necessity along with decent cooking gear.


Yep.

I am sinfully attached to pressurized salt-water. Mine is rigged to take input from the bilge in an emergency. My engine is, too.

Same here.

I like good hand tools.

I like good plastic boxes.

I love my wool blankets and clothes.


Yep, yep, yep.

Really good anchoring gear. I can bring it up with my jib halyard winch, but I can't keep it down with anything but a good hook, good chain, and good line.


Yep. Boat size dependent though and to think "simple"--most boats small enough for the jib halyard winch to bring up the anchor chain don't even need the complexity of a jib halyard winch--they could make do with a Laurent Giles type block setup at the masthead and/or maybe a jig on the halyard. Our mainsheet winches can be used to break out and bring in a 95# danforth in Delta mud (have done it when using that as a stern anchor and didn't feel like running the line forward to get the whole boat muddy by using the foredeck windlass.... but my back was in pain afterwards) but in general its a smart and simple move to have a windlass in place for use.

My dodger is a luxury I won't give up.

I'm a fair-skinned girl--bought a boat with a charthouse to avoid thinking about needing that dodger. Wouldn't give up the charthouse, no, and it shields the forward part of the cockpit from winds nicely as well.

I have a head and tank and I hate them. The tank and the plumbing take up too much space and require too much maintenance and seldom smell quite right. I would prefer a bucket, but that excludes me from too many places.

The "bucket" I envision would be under a sturdy toilet seat and built with stability in mind. It would have a sealing cover so it could be conveniently carried ashore and washed out.


We're with you there--holding tanks and associate plumbing are a hassle. Consider the composting head option--it really is small, simple, and deals with everything nicely and legally.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:25 AM   #29
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Regarding the bucket: Camping shops sell an arrangement which uses a toilet seat on a foldable frame. It is easy to store, comfortable and, the true benefit is that the receptacle is a biodegradable plastic bag. So, even in a marina, the toilet can be used, the bag removed and sealed and can then be taken to the marina's toilets for disposal. It's an ideal solution for after hours pooping for those without a holding tank.

As far as holding tanks go, I agree they are a less than ideal situation and sooner or later I had planned on the composting dunny as described by Bopeep. However as the new boat is fitted with a brand new Lavac, that will not occur for some long time.

Refrigeration simplicity. Again the new craft is fitted with a 12v Adler Barbour system. I won't change it, but I do prefer the engine driven compressor and eutectic tank arrangement. 20 minutes of engine each day (makes hot water, keeps the freezer at -17c) keeps everything rock solid and, with a spill valve into a small cold box, keeping perishables such as dairy products fresh isn't a problem.

The simple versus complex is, as Bopeep says, not necessarily a low cost exercise. Keeping a car in a garage and driving it to work everyday is a totally different arrangement to a horse and cart. But, space to keep the horse, keeping the horse fed, healthy, clean and the environment poo free; along with maintenance on the cart requires a depth of committment which would phase the average motorist.

Bopeep. In an earlier post you wrote of your compressor. Is it a dedicated dive compressor or is it a motor parts store 'cheapie', that can be attached to a regulator? I always had a dive tank with a 30' hose so I could dive on the boat but not have to bother with hauling the tank about. Nowadays In Oz particularly, a tank fill is a hideous cost and the cost of recertifying the tank every 12 months is plain extortion.
The idea of a small reasonably priced compressor on board seems ideal. Whats the biz?
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:55 AM   #30
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If you put in inflation, that $500/mo would be somewhere between $12K and $18K per year these days.
If it's calculated in terms of renting in Sydney, the Pardeys' $500/month budget now translates into $4000/month or $48k/year.

In 1978 I earned $18.5k and my highest ever income in the same industry - a mere two years ago - was $42k. Inflation happens.

Sure, there are people out there earning $150k+ in high tech industries. I'm not one of them, and the only people I know personally who are have double degrees and were lucky enough to get into contracting on large, stable projects at management level.

Technicians are a drug on the market in Australia. We have a government that simply leaves the floodgates open to skilled people from Europe and Asia, while meanwhile the whole industry gradually shifted to China in the late '80s.

Rob
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:01 AM   #31
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Quote:
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Regarding the bucket: Camping shops sell an arrangement which uses a toilet seat on a foldable frame. It is easy to store, comfortable and, the true benefit is that the receptacle is a biodegradable plastic bag. So, even in a marina, the toilet can be used, the bag removed and sealed and can then be taken to the marina's toilets for disposal. It's an ideal solution for after hours pooping for those without a holding tank.
Like this?



That's what I'd call a bucket! Wouldn't literally use a simple plastic laundry bucket, too easy to tip it over.

Rob
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:54 AM   #32
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No, more like this: Mitchells Camping, Outdoors, Military Surplus and Disposals | Online Shop
Unfortunately I can't dig this photo out of its attached page, but it will give you an idea of what I mean. (The one at $39.95)
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:46 AM   #33
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Oh right. Naah, I wouldn't touch that one. Besides I don't like the idea of trying to find a place where it would be appropriate to dispose of turds in a plastic bag.

The one I pictured can be found for $99 in some camping stores, and I've seen them on eBay too. Simply unclip the lower section and empty it ashore into a regular toilet, then give it a flush out.

I plan to get one for use at my mooring, since it's illegal to operate the straight-though head within Sydney Harbour.

Rob
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:03 AM   #34
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Here's another possibility, the "Thunder Down Under". $39.95 retail, biodegradable liner bags available.

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Old 08-28-2012, 06:18 AM   #35
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This 30' ferro yacht based in Brisbane just sold on eBay for $2,650 ... the bargains are out there.

Yacht / Sailboat Hartley Sloop Boat For Sale | eBay

Looks like it might be Hartley Tasman / Tahitian 30.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:24 AM   #36
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A true dive compressor must be able to provide a very high pressure. That pressure is then lowered (as all you divers know) down to about 150 psi with the first stage regulator on a dive tank or the end of a hookah hose hooked up to another type of compressor. In our case, we use an oilless Porter Cable construction compressor which has a max pressure of 150 psi but typically we run it at 110 psi when cleaning the boat. You'd have to have the 150 psi if you were diving very deep on your anchor or something. In any case, a good quality oilless compressor with a couple gallon tank is minimum. We also happen to have a (maybe 5 gallon) portable gallon tank that we happened to already own--we can use it for a quick dive to check on something w/o running the compressor. The hose must be one suitable for breathing and you'll get a filter to pull out water so you're not breathing it--yuck. There are companies that sell entire hookah diving systems but we had the SCUBA stuff and the compressor so all we had to do was purchase a little harness to wear which you attach your regulator to and the proper fittings and hose. There are regular Hookah (low pressure) regulators out there but they're not necessary unless you're going to use a lower pressure compressor. Moderator JeanneP has some stories about doing that as I recall.

Other uses for a compressor--as an aside--We used a different compressor (with larger tank) extensively with air tools when doing the boat's rebuild and we thus have lots of air tools aboard. We do use them from time to time on various projects but you really don't need air tools aboard the boat if you're not an automotive hobbiest or someone who just can't live without tinkering.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:55 AM   #37
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I'm not bad at swimming under water (at least as a kid I could do it, don't know about these days!) so free diving will probably work. Might just get some flippers and goggles, and maybe a cheap wetsuit for colder waters.

A compressor would be useful in the long term but I can do without it. Certainly not on my priority list right now.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:30 AM   #38
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Haiqu--Ya always say "I'll make do..." on que. LOL. We've done a lot of "making do" and it's a good trait to have the ability to skip the extras and go for the basics for the task needed.

I have to laugh about the compressor thing--in clear, warm, tropical water, mask and a snorkel is all that may be needed to clean the hull or dive on the anchor to make sure it's set properly. Give a bit of cold water, or murky water, or currents, or all three--then things start taking longer and longer down there. If you've ever dived with a hookah you'd love how much nicer it is than using a tank. If you've ever had to lug your tank in the dingy and haul it around finding a place to fill it, you'll start looking lovingly at the little oilless construction compressors. LOL.

You'll be able to make realistic decisions about what you need or don't need once you start sailing your boat and going places. Things happen and you'll figure out quickly what is needed to keep things going. What we've seen of the successful folks who want to cruise and make it happen is that they are those folks who adapt and work with things--changing the plan and getting more stuff or getting rid of stuff--until it's all a very efficient set up working well for their voyaging life.

There are a couple types of folks who don't ever make it out of the harbor: folks who either have way too high of expectations of what they need --so they can never really get it together and sail anywhere, or those who think they can make do with very little and then can't get those things working together sufficiently to ever go anywhere either. The rest of the folks--those who manage to get out and cruise--they're the ones who know how to evolve and make it happen.

Just getting the boat moving is a major step and the first simple step on the path to getting on with cruising--and how simple is simple? Do you and the boat have what it takes to sail out of the harbor? That's the first--and most important-- part for all cruisers. Get the boat moving--whether its with a motor to start off because you don't yet know how to sail or whether it's taking the plunge and sailing everywhere because using a motor is against your religion--get moving and you'll quickly learn what's REALLY needed--and it will likely be pretty simple.

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Old 08-29-2012, 11:28 AM   #39
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Well one thing is for sure, it won't be SCUBA gear for me. My brothers were both into that when they were younger but gaining the certification and having to get tanks filled by someone else is too much of a hassle.

And yeah, point taken. I need to get back to Sydney and do some actual sailing. Been up here in Brisbane lately due to my father being ill, he passed on a couple of weeks back.
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