SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

May 30, 20112

The classifieds ad read: Bristol condition, heat/ac, refrigeration, microwave, hot/cold pressure water, full canvas, custom cabinetry, Garmin 182C chartplotter. This was all on a 24-foot boat.

Now, I enjoy convenience as much as the next person: we have a sculling oar, a self-contained head, only 3 thru-hulls and a wide inventory of sails, all which I consider to be the epitome of convenience. But we all, boaters, RV-ers and landlubbers alike, need to honestly consider the question: how much is too much?


Too much stuff

I found it ironic that this ad was in the paper I was scanning while Dave was reading his new book The Compleat Cruiser by L. Francis Herreshoff. Though the story is a bit contrived at times and written like a fairy tale (When he wants to describe how to reef POOF there's a squall.) I found many informative and amusing passages worthy of quoting.

"...I would just as strongly suggest simplicity in cruising, for I feel that the average small cruiser of 50 or 60 years ago is capable of giving more pleasure for the cost than the usual boat of today. In my youth, the small sailboat or cruiser had no engine, toilet, or electrical devices so that (short of a collision or severe stranding) repairs through the summer season were almost unheard of, while we could cruise in most any direction without thought of expense or fuel consumption. Today, however, the usual small cruiser must stick to an itinerary of short trips between the boat yards that have a monkey wrench mechanic. The first stop will be to adjust the engine which cannot be gotten at; the next stop to overhaul the electrical w.c. Then, after covering twenty miles more of uninteresting coast line, there will be innumerable things to be done so the stop will require several days' delay and the shipyard bill will be a hundred smackers. At this stop, perhaps, the compass will have to be readjusted on account of the changes in electronics; two lapping jibs recut, the fire extinguishers recharged and the parachute mended, so the average speed along the coast for these new type cruisers is about 10 miles a day, and the running cost one dollar a mile. In my youth, a sensible cruiser of any of the sizes between 25 and 50 feet waterline cost new about one-tenth what they do now. Yet wages, materials and other building costs have only about tripled since that time. You may wonder why the modern cruiser costs so much. It is only on account of the ridiculous complications that the inexperienced yachtsman requires, for he will fall for any complicated mechanical device that is advertised. When someone markets a twelve cylinder toilet with duel ignition, his fondest hopes will be fulfilled. Sometimes I wonder why we used to cruise farther and faster in the old boats than now, but it is the case of the hare and the tortoise again." This was written in 1956.


Simply sailing

When we left our real jobs, sold the house and the majority of the stuff we had accumulated from decades of life on land, I felt so free and unencumbered. Part of the reason we keep Eurisko so simple is to continue to enjoy that sense of freedom. One isn't free who is tied to the dock "fixing things in exotic locations." I'd rather snorkel and hike and lime with the locals than fix a gadget that we don't really need anyway. Maybe it's the romantic in me.

"...I am sorry to say romance is a rare thing today and some people even laugh at it, where as it used to be the incentive that carried one through fog, calm and tempest. It even seemed to make one enjoy the hardships which occur in cruising. But the modern cruiser has to have a vessel so cluttered up with mechanical gadgets and electrical devices that the cabin no longer is fit to live in and the boat has to be served by a mechanic, whereas a sailorman in the old days could take care of everything if he had a spark of romance in him."

I have been accused in the past of being opinionated (guilty as charged) and of being too harsh on those cruisers who choose to motor along with all the modern inconveniences and snub their noses at simplicity. So rather than tell you how I really feel, I believe I will let Mr. Herreshoff say it for me, since he does it so well:

"I must tell you I do not recommend my type of sailing to fools, as they should have all the artificial aids they can afford. Nevertheless, it is a great mistake for them to think these gadgets can take the place of a knowledge of seamanship."

And finally, on this beautiful Memorial Day, I will end with my favorite Herreshoff quote.

"But some love privacy and the thrill of exploring uninhabited islands and coves is their greatest pleasure. Such a man loves to take his family day after day to new natural views; places where they can bathe in the pure water and breathe pure air, while the eye feasts on the ever-changing colors of sea and sky. For him, there has never been a better moving home than the sail boat. Perhaps the sail boat will always be the best source of pleasure to the lovers of nature for if in camping the tourist must carry his shelter and food, in sailing or cruising the boat is your shelter and carries you and your food."

One of the most potentially costly mistakes that I see cruisers make on a daily basis involves something as simple as getting into their dinghy. MONDAY we'll discuss this surprisingly simple to remedy error in judgment.

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