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Old 11-29-2014, 01:02 AM   #1
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Minimalistic Approach to Power Cruising

The ultra-minimalistic approach to sail cruising is quite common and well-promoted by the Pardeys and others.

There's lots of talk on the power boat forums about KISS, but I have yet to see or hear from anyone who has truly applied the minimal approach to power that the sailors seem so comfortable with. My previous boats were rather simple by today's standards (no a/c, water makers, SSB, chart plotter, etc.) But still it was a freakin' headache with gensets, vaccu-flush heads, etc.

Has anyone here actually taken the truly siimplified approach towards their own power-cruising? What type of systems and gear did you dispense with that most of today's press would consider "absolutely necessary?"
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:04 AM   #2
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The simplest would be an easy to tow small IO on a trailer.. $5K to $10K easy.

Many about 23-25 ft can live a couple in comfort , and can handle 2 guests for a SHORT visit.

At about 7000lbs with trailer lots of old cars (Caddy , Lincoln) can easily and legally tow it.

Heading south for the winter is a 3-4 day easy drive from Maine to FL.Tolls for 4 axles will hurt tho.

If you prefer to do it on the boat , the fuel cost will be 10X as high (but great fun) but you still need a car in FL, so you will make the drive anyway.

The loop , lefty or right would be a snap, as would maint as parts for a gas engine are cheap.

The difference in cost between a $ 5K boat and a high maint $50K $100+K boat will easily pay for gas if you cruise at 25mph instead of a cheaper 7mph.... 6 quarts of oil or 6 gallons , your choice.

Outfitted , I would use a propane range and vented propane heater.

Showers , holding tanks, Fw , HW and head are all part of most 23+ ft stock boats.

Most have a dual house/start batt set , so a bunch of LED would be easy. 12v tv no problem. 20 inch screen not 72.

This would be practical IF certain considerations were met.

Sitting comfort for each crew, cooking space for the cook, natural ventilation , and cockpit sun covers (a lot of time will be outside) . A manual windlass will do just fine for a 20lb anchor and a bit of chain .

A boat like this can easily do most of the cruising a std >trawler< does at far less expense and hassle.

No Waiting !! for most bridge, so even at 7 mph you will get to the choice AICW anchorages before the TT.

Only loss is the interior wont echo , as some require.

Not a retirement boat , but to get up and go cruising , thats all it takes.
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:36 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:05 AM   #4
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>In fact, even with the stuff that got thrown away, we spent only $70,000 for a well-found, comfortable and efficient 34-foot-long troller yacht.
Of course, from the time we ordered the keel timbers to launch, it took four years. Could have gone quicker, but when Jill would come out to help, she would want a break after 10 hours of working. Rudy found it hard to make progress under such conditions.>


If boat building is a hobby , and you have the skills , 4 years to spare , and $70K this might be interesting.


Used boats cost 1/2 to 1/4 or less of the new build cost , si if someone just wants to go boating used , close as you can to your desirements makes sense.


And then there is re$ale and insurance to consider ,,,,
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:18 AM   #5
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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.
All true; but it would be hard to duplicate Jill, who seems to actually do everything.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:20 AM   #6
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Sorry too old for the minimalist life. My idea of sacrificing is to do without cable TV and a dishwasher.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:41 AM   #7
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Sorry too old for the minimalist life. My idea of sacrificing is to do without cable TV and a dishwasher.
I survive fine without cable TV. .I have satellite tv. I do have a dishwashers but rarely use it when on the hook
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:45 AM   #8
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I agree my days as adventurous young man sailing the islands in catalina sailboat are over

but I have to say it was fun and now I have lots of stories to go with it

I ate lots of fish crabs and shrimp
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makobuilders View Post
The ultra-minimalistic approach to sail cruising is quite common and well-promoted by the Pardeys and others.

There's lots of talk on the power boat forums about KISS, but I have yet to see or hear from anyone who has truly applied the minimal approach to power that the sailors seem so comfortable with. My previous boats were rather simple by today's standards (no a/c, water makers, SSB, chart plotter, etc.) But still it was a freakin' headache with gensets, vaccu-flush heads, etc.

Has anyone here actually taken the truly siimplified approach towards their own power-cruising? What type of systems and gear did you dispense with that most of today's press would consider "absolutely necessary?"
Mako, it sort of depends a bit on just how minimalist you are talking. In our yachting days we though it was luxury to have a two burner stove, a Citizens band radio, a couple of cabin lights, and a Portapotti.

Now, I still consider compared to a lot on here we are minimalist, but in the size of boat big enough and comfortable enough to want to stay out for days on end and go at least coastal, we do need more.

To do this I have only 12v systems, no AC, except when at the dock to power a smart charger, and start the heating of water if necessary before we set off. The frig is converted from eutectic to 12v with Danfoss compressor.

Out on the pick we have radio/CDs but no TV, LED lights all round, two solar panels and a wind genny to back up the engine charge, and gas cooker. We have a 12v TMC loo, two fans, but no AC, and I have a simple but effective fixed GPS at main helm, & two sounders upstairs and down, (new added to older), and back-up nav on iPad. VHF, but no radar and no autopilot, although I'd love one. A GPS enabled EPIRB, plus flares, orange signal flag, and lifejackets of course. Frankly, I would not like to go any more minimal than that these days.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:14 AM   #10
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We started out on a 25' sailboat with bare minimum systems. That worked well for about a year and a half. As long as we were traveling it was fine, but when we would stop for more than a week it got cramped really fast. We sold it and bought our 36' trawler and decided we were done camping. It was a good experience but now we are setup to live at our comfort level for the rest of our days.

I think it makes a big difference if you are talking about full time cruising, part time cruising, or just living aboard in one place. Nothing wrong with any of them, they are just different and you set the boat up accordingly. Some comforts you can do without for short periods or even a year or so if you know it is for a limited time. If your boat is to be your only home (cruising or stationary) there are some things you won't do without.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:53 AM   #11
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>but I have yet to see or hear from anyone who has truly applied the minimal approach to power that the sailors seem so comfortable with.<

Our 50 Ft Uniflite ex US Navy Utility boat might come close.

Hiller propane range on gimbols for cooking in summer

Dickinson diesel oil fired range for winter heat and food.

RV propane reefer in custom box located outside on self draining aft deck,, 20 lb = 30 days. 7 or 8 cu ft.

Multiple overhead hatches , pilot house windows fore & aft swing out to open.

Wet head, shower curtains surround toilet on shower drain pan,,to bilge.

PH settee is couch cushions on ply with pull out table , resting on 3 drawer file cabinets from Pratt & Whitney.

Autopilot hyd with hyd steering with wire remote to reach settee.

Hyd windlass works on steering pump.

One windscreen wiper -3 speed.

Sun cover for 15 ft long cockpit is 10x10 patio style , 4 legs, $ 60 at home cheapo.

Folding lawn umbrella for short trips , ez open & close.

Dink is Grumman aluminum sailing model , simply arm stronged aboard over the transom.

Really nice is the 10.5 ft air draft for going under the many bridges.

Hand held GPS and VHF,

Couldnt get much simpler or easier on the budget.

Was great for the loop (both) and the AICW.

Size , yes 50 ft is no bother as we anchor out 99% of the time , and the DD 6-71 is easy to maintain.and take out of service , by Da Book.Keel cooling and dry stack, no maint.

IT is a small boat not suitable for the roomaran folks.

50ft minus 15ft aft cockpit- 6ft collision bulkhead leaves only about 30 ft of boat.

10 pilot house 12 main salon 8 fwd cabin (not standing headroom) is about all there is.

Works for 2 ,and is in no way ,Camping Out.
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Old 11-29-2014, 11:47 AM   #12
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FF about nailed it for us. Simple boat, simple systems life is good.
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:11 PM   #13
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Over seven summers, we cruised in our 22-foot C-Dory anywhere from a week or two in the San Juan and Gulf Islands to two months in SE Alaska. No fridge, so we lived out of a cooler, and had to haul ice blocks to the boat regularly. No hot water other than what the teakettle could provide. We did have a two-burner stove. Water pumped by hand. Porta-potty rather than head. Cockpit deck not self-draining, with no bilge pump. No windlass. Super-simple, with a 90hp outboard for power.

It was fantastic. We traveled challenging waters, anchored in a zillion remote coves, enjoyed wild and beautiful places and wonderful critters, and caught some mighty fine seafood. Could never have afforded or maintained a more elaborate boat back then.
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:21 PM   #14
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Sorry too old for the minimalist life. My idea of sacrificing is to do without cable TV and a dishwasher.
That's about where I stand.

We all have different ideas about what we want or need, but there's a comfort level loss that would keep me from boating. I boat to enjoy myself so my boat has what I need or want. If someone dropped a couple million dollars in my lap I might change things but the way it is now suits me and my wife.
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:34 PM   #15
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:42 PM   #16
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Richard,

Ditto on the C-Dory. A motor, stove, a chart plotter, radio, 7 years 10,000+ miles all in south central Alaska. 20 minutes to winterize and an hour to wash and wax.

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Old 11-29-2014, 01:13 PM   #17
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It can be done. An easy to drive 25-30 foot hull maybe a used sailboat without the rig or a cut down rig. A old 15-20 hp Yanmar or other motor that can be hand cranked. A alcohol or propane cook stove. Oil lamp for light and minimal battery power for running lights. Five gallon water and fuel jugs and a porta potty. Good sleeping bags and a dinghy for deck or tow behind with oars. All this will not appeal to the many who sneer at a trawler because it has side decks and lacks a fly bridge and does not have the internal room and comforts of a land based home. When I started cursing over 50 years ago in 19 footers then 30 foot boats that is how it was.
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Old 11-29-2014, 01:29 PM   #18
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Does six months on BC's coast by sea kayak count? (That's about as minimalist as you can get.)
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:08 PM   #19
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I've got the systems I need to be comfortable in the SE USA: Reverse cycle heat and AC, heat from main engine bus heater, fridge, manual head with tank, water tank and 12v pump, gas stove, coffee pot, small inverter, radar, chart plotter, depth, searchlight, gennie.

Listed out it is a lot of stuff. But in setting up these systems, I tried to keep things as simple as possible and used low-to mid range equipment. Nothing fancy. So far it has made cruising comfortable and the boat has been fantistically reliable.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:53 PM   #20
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One of the older, scandinavian Skilsö or Saga-boats would be my choice for a minimalistic approach to power cruising the local waters (Baltic Sea). Small diesel engine, tiny cabin, open cockpit. No need for radar, VHF, bowthruster or windlass, but I'd love to have a simple autopilot for longer legs and a cheap chartplotter.
I see many happy sailors cruising around in old Nordic Folkboats and almost any powerboat is more comfortable than those ;-)
But different waters, different climates will require different boats.
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