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Old 11-29-2014, 05:29 PM   #21
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Sorry too old for the minimalist life. My idea of sacrificing is to do without cable TV and a dishwasher.
Perfectly stated
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:45 PM   #22
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The big question is why minimalist?

The even bigger question is why be minimalist on a boat large enough not to be minimalist?

Most of us started out with trailer able boats with few amenities. we all have great memories of the simple boating life when we were young.

But I for one don't want to go back there. I like my amenities.

That's why we moved to larger boats, to get those amenities.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:24 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
The big question is why minimalist?

The even bigger question is why be minimalist on a boat large enough not to be minimalist?

Most of us started out with trailer able boats with few amenities. we all have great memories of the simple boating life when we were young.

But I for one don't want to go back there. I like my amenities.

That's why we moved to larger boats, to get those amenities.
Exactly how I feel. I got out of small boats to escape minimalism. I like having the comforts to which I have become accustomed within arm's reach.

However, I like the idea enough that I subscribed to this thread to see if others have ideas I might be able to adopt or adapt to my needs. Never too old for a few new tricks!!
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:50 PM   #24
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Check out Briney Bug. Its a very minimalist cruiser thats out there doing it. Very interesting boat. No VHF (gasp) but the captain is proficient in sound signals. No engine gauges, but the captain knows what the engine is supposed to sound like. Etc.

I just read up on this girl. Good looking- very efficient as well. Oil running lights...


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Old 11-29-2014, 10:11 PM   #25
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It's all a question of perspective. To some folk, a boat of any sort big enough to sleep on is luxury beyond their wildest imagination. To others, an N64 would be roughing it.

A good level of size & fitout is to get what you would regularly enjoy using, and can afford to buy and service. Forget the things that are there to impress, or stretch you beyond your financial or technical means.

Even if you have the air-conditioned king sized stateroom, you may not sleep well if you are up to your neck in debt.


With my boat - the biggest luxury is the views out the pilothouse windows.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:10 PM   #26
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We are definitely minimalistic on Willy. Starting out w min power. Perhaps min weight depending on perspective. No fridge, inverter, genset, power dinghy launching, AC, AP, ect ect.

I sometimes think about why some skippers don't have a 40' boat w only the equipment that we have. You could probably afford a boat 10' bigger if you didn't have all that convenience stuff. But most everybody's perspective is dictated by money and the psychological need. There seems to be a need to have all (or as much) stuff as you have at home and this is where I get off ... just don't understand that at all. A TV in a boat goes a long way to destroying the boating experience as I see it. All the time you're watching TV you're not boating. But then if you do a low tech equivalent you could play cards instead on watching TV. For some reason I can't explain I find the card playing acceptable and the TV not. So its a money thing but also an attitude or attitudes that percolates down from our other life. And in addition to money and attitudes there's quantity and capacity. Our Albin had a porta-potty and a 17 gal fresh water tank. Willy has 100 gallons. We have a shower in the boat but shower ashore. I could put yet another tank and pump and pluming in the boat to keep the soap out of the bilge but it's just not that big of a priority. We could afford it and we have room and maybe to probably enough time to install the sump system so it comes under the attitude part of the minimalist force.

I suppose when we put windshield wipers on Willy you-all can take us out of the minimalist category. And then again maybe not depending on attitude, money and capacity. And the relativity thing is ever present. We think living on Willy is like a hotel compared to the Albin 25 but most of you would equate living aboard Willy as camping. But we have enough to go for quite lengthy cruises and have a very good time.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:10 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
It's all a question of perspective. To some folk, a boat of any sort big enough to sleep on is luxury beyond their wildest imagination. To others, an N64 would be roughing it.

A good level of size & fitout is to get what you would regularly enjoy using, and can afford to buy and service. Forget the things that are there to impress, or stretch you beyond your financial or technical means.

Even if you have the air-conditioned king sized stateroom, you may not sleep well if you are up to your neck in debt.


With my boat - the biggest luxury is the views out the pilothouse windows.
Tipping my hat your way, good Sir!
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Old 11-30-2014, 12:34 AM   #28
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For myself I think minimalism is not so much about doing with out something like a fridge or a freezer on board as it is with making the system as simple as possible. I would rather have a switch to run something than an automatic device that may fail. I can bypass the manual switch in a pinch. I have a lot of trouble doing that with printed circuits. I think Flow scans and tank minders are cool - I still want sight gauges on my fuel tanks.

I have a hydraulic windlass. I can also run it manually with a bar. I could set it up so I could run it from the helm. But it seems needlessly complex so I will not. I am working on dry stacking the engine. Eliminate 1 more through hull/seacock and one pump from the system. I guess minimalism extends to the galley too.
I like to boil water on the stove in a pot then pour it in my french press instead of using a plug in coffee maker. Plug in coffee makers die. So far the pot has outlasted several coffee makers.
But that is just me. Simple reliable systems that I can trouble shoot myself and mostly repair myself. As with all things, there are trade offs that we each have to weight by our own standards and decide which we should have.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:22 AM   #29
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> but I'd love to have a simple autopilot for longer legs and a cheap chartplotter.<

If the boat is tiller steered many of the $300 or so tiller , push pull, units will work.

With a wheel steering setup , the hard part is disconnecting the steering to allow the AP an easier task.

Some folks simply attach the tiller AP to the wheel.

This can work with mechanical steering , not well with hydraulic steering
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:32 AM   #30
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"A TV in a boat goes a long way to destroying the boating experience as I see it. All the time you're watching TV you're not boating. But then if you do a low tech equivalent you could play cards instead on watching TV. For some reason I can't explain I find the card playing acceptable and the TV not."

The above quote shows that there's plenty of opinions.

It shows that no matter what activity that takes you away from exploring, fishing, crabbing, rowing, swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, etc, etc...cards?...really?....so what if the distraction is high tech?

Many that watch TV aboard are liveaboards or long term cruisers and may watch no more TV per week than if dirt dwelling.

The only reason not to go beyond minimal of a boat is so you spend less time repairing things. Televisions are pretty low maintenance compared to most things on a boat.

If you like camping, go camping whether by water or mountain trail. If you like nice accommodations, you pay for it either in hotel costs or boating costs.
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:53 AM   #31
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Our old Carver was as primative as we want to go. The refer used too much battery power so it was dry storage only. Igloo 66 qt with blocks of ice, alcohol stove, spinning flasher depth finder. Our luxuries were a fairly spacious cabin, a reading light over the table, dropping the dinette to a lumpy double bed, and the 4 hp for the dinghy. We had a lot of good times then but we're not going back!
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:58 AM   #32
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Most of us started out with trailer able boats with few amenities .
Some of us did serious blue water work when sextants, charts, navigation tools and RDFs were the standard. No radar, chart plotters or inverters were available. We even used tell tales on the sails as digital wind direction sensing was unheard of! Water makers, huh?

Point being, minimalist depends on your boating age.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:34 AM   #33
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Some of us did serious blue water work when sextants, charts, navigation tools and RDFs were the standard. No radar, chart plotters or inverters were available. We even used tell tales on the sails as digital wind direction sensing was unheard of! Water makers, huh?

Point being, minimalist depends on your boating age.
I still use tell tales on my sails, as well as cassette tape on the stays. An old Cat Stevens tape gives me a 10 year supply. Does that make me old or young?
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:45 AM   #34
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Does that make me old or young?
It makes you smart. I actually don't know of any electronics that gives you sail shape like a tell tail does?
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:54 AM   #35
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Imo, minimalist in sail boating stems from limited funds. I doubt 10% would practice it if funds weren't an Issue. That being said, I applaud any and all who do it if that is what allows them to go boating. When I was in my 20s, I use to sleep in my truck in parking lots or camp in state campgrounds when I went on scuba diving trips, because I couldn't afford the cheapest motels. Don't regret having done it, but it was done out of necessity nothing else. My days of nautical camping are long gone.......I hope.

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Old 11-30-2014, 10:00 AM   #36
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Check out Briney Bug. Its a very minimalist cruiser thats out there doing it. Very interesting boat. No VHF (gasp) but the captain is proficient in sound signals. No engine gauges, but the captain knows what the engine is supposed to sound like. Etc.
"No VHF (gasp) but the captain is proficient in sound signals."

How does that work out when the boats he is trying to communicate with are not very proficient in sound signals?

Yes, you can do without a lot of things on a boat but why would you want to? How is that better than living in a box under a bridge?
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:15 AM   #37
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Jill a Rudy's (briney bug) minimalist approach allows them to GO BOATING NOW. And they are, enjoying every minute of it. A broken AP or waiting on parts for the watermaker never slows them down. The only bank they have to look out for is the mud beside them. Insurance, probably not or just minimum liability. A lot of folks boats are just to intimadating to even leave the dock. What happens if this happens they think, and are paralized into inactivity. On Briney Bug there is not much to go wrong, so going is easy. I have not kept up with them in awhile but always enjoyed reading there posts on the "other" trawler forum. Rudy is a kind and very knowledgeable fellow and I'm sure he could build or install anything he wanted. Jill is apparently tireless and may have been an actuall galley slave in a previous life. There sense of humor is grand. Maybe that comes from not having to fix broken stuff on a boat.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:22 AM   #38
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I am not condoning the absence of a VHF, just saying its not neccessary. I have 3 on the flybridge. Lack of same would not stop me from going. Rudy could easily have 1 if he wanted it. He may have 1 now. But, where does it end ? a VHF now, SSB next,then full on nav system, etc. Now we need a genset for the tv and toaster. We need 10 more feet of boat !!
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:23 AM   #39
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The sole purpose of pleasure boats is to make us happy. So whatever makes you happy is good. There is no one answer.

I am in the process of thinking about my next boat and its systems will be no more luxurious than my present boat. My current boat (a sailboat) would be regarded as basic by most posters standards.

The main reason for these basic systems is reliability.
I would rather go for a swim than repair/maintain complex systems. Unfortunately paying someone else is not practical if you cruise full time in deserted out of the way places.

My wife wants a washing machine if we go ahead with the new boat, so we are not evangelistic in our minimalism, but each luxury has to earn its keep to be included.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:58 AM   #40
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I began cruising with a compass, charts, depth sounder, ice chest, alcohol stove and a Danforth.
None of that ever gave me any trouble except the Danforth. Later in the colder waters off CA oil lamps provided welcome heat as well as light. All of that was better than when I went backpacking. []


Today I enjoy having the creature comforts but would have no problem driving a boat without all the toys. It would not be my preference but I would not be stuck at the dock if the GPS failed.


I just don't see the attraction of minimalist boating or backpacking any more
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