Keep it Simple

On a sailboat, everything will eventually come to an end. Either it will corrode, break, or fall overboard.

Tools, plates, cups, and trinkets will eventually find their way to the bottom of the sea. Safety lines will prolong the inevitable, but at some point, an accident will happen and it will go over the rail

Gadgets and electronics can fall overboard, but they are at greater risk of corroding and breaking. The marine environment is a wonderful place to watch metals decay as the salt and humidity will eat away at the metals involved. Electronic gizmos are like Olympic athletes who will dash at record speeds to their demise. Salt will destroy the tiny circuits that will make them operate and will instead fail you when you feel you need them most.

If you fill your boat with many electronic devices, you will simply live a life of sadness as they all begin to die on you. You will mourn their loss as you shell out more money to replace them. This costly cycle will continue as your cruising budget turns into an electronic purchasing account.

You will also need more power production as all these devices will pose a considerable electric draw. The more you have the more you need, and you will begin a downward spiral towards a life of obsolete or broken electronic devices. Instead of cruising, you will be funding the lives of electricians around you as you constantly pay them to repair your equipment.

The alternative is to simply keep it simple. Instead of air conditioning powered by a generator while at anchor, why not have enough hatches to allow proper air flow. Instead of a water maker, why not set up a rain collector. Instead of a refrigerator, why not have a well insulated ice box.

We are starting out our trip with very few electronic devices on board. We have the interior lights, but we have flashlights and solar charged lanterns should they fail us one day. We have a GPS, but we also carry and know how to use a sextant and paper charts. We have a refrigerator, which I have made some modifications to make it more of a "fancy icebox" with a chill plate present.

Should our electronic devices fail, we will simply carry on using the simpler backup plan. This will allow us to cruise with less worries and less headaches. Repairing the electronic devices when we want rather than when they break.

The last point to remember is "the less you have, the less you have to break" and this could be no truer than on a sailboat. When I hear other sailors complaining about all these components breaking down on them, I think to myself how glad I am I don't even have that component!