So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, September 4, 2015
Keeping it simple on land and sea
I'm at that point in my life where I've very careful about the stuff I buy. It doesn't matter how much fun something is supposed to be. What are the downsides?
I was talking to a good friend of mine lately. He's been doing a lot of ATV and snowmobile riding the past year. That's great as it it's been something he can do with his dad, but the amount of maintenance and repair involved is a big turn off for me. I'd have to go back to work to support a good mechanic.
Years ago I did own a few snowmobiles. They were primitive machines, even by the standards of the day. That was fine as my goal wasn't to be the fastest on a groomed trail. Snowmobiles allowed me to get into the back country. Then I'd buckle on a pair of snowshoes and climb a mountain, or go rabbit hunting, or perhaps haul my fishing traps out on a frozen lake. Some of my snowmobiles were so simple that the whole electrical system could be disabled, but they could still be pull started and driven out.
Later I gave up on snowmobiles completely and did a lot of cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Frankly, I got sick of buying gas and repairing machinery.
Of course, these days I've pretty much given up on winter, so boats are more my style. I started out in canoes and kayaks. Power boats were never really my thing. It was bad enough chipping in gas money to keep my friend's boats on the water.
Now I'm into sailboats, not something known for economy. Like everything else, it's how you approach it. There are some ways to avoid hassle and expense. Keeping it small is key. Everything on a smaller boat costs less. Big boats also tend to have more “comforts” -big inboard engines, water makers, generators, freezers, AC, extensive electronics packages, and so on.
I'd have to give serious though to a boat bigger than can be pushed by an outboard. Inboard engines on sailboats are bear to work on. Then are usually crammed into tiny airless compartments. An outboard can be easily removed for the boat. Work can be done on land in comfort. If the motor is completely shot it's not big deal to bolt on a new one. In my case I found I could get by with a good electric trolling motor. Some hard core sailors go completely without an engine. While that's tempting, I find my personal trade off is towards at least a little auxiliary power.
Modern electronics like GPS have made boating a lot safer and easier. The good news is that all the key pieces of electronics are available in small hand held versions. Many boaters are proud that all their boat's electronics are meshed together in one massive network. That great -until something goes wrong. I've also see boats with so many screens to watch that they block the view of the water. That's just silly as keeping your eyes on what going on in the real world is the most important thing.
Modern comforts have diminishing returns. I've seen some really nice boats stuck in boat yards while they wait for key parts -for equipment and machinery my boat doesn't even have. While they cool their heels I've sailed down the coast and I'm having a drink on some remote beach somewhere.
There's a sweet spot that everyone has to find for themselves. It's that point where you have just enough to have everything you need and little that you don't. Usually that spot is lot closer to the simple end of things.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.