Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stuff: for a boat now

Warning: long somewhat poseur philosophical rambling follows.

As I look at the systems on Brigadoon and my plans on going places in this boat, I have thought a lot about systems that I have, which ones need an upgrade, which ones I need to obtain, and which I need to junk.

I mean, I could load the boat up with the latest in chartplotter/radar/AIS/VHF/depth/fishfinder/watermaker/inverter/tv/vcr/dvd/blueray/blender/microwave/hot tub/etc/etc/etc

I could spend a fortune loading the boat with gadgets. I could also have to quadruple my battery bank to support them. I could get ridiculous with it. Or not...

So I'm looking at what is really necessary, what can be re-purposed, what can be used for dual purposes. In this I'm examining *if* I really need to get an outboard (which requires a place to stow, a lock so it won't get stolen, gasoline, gas/oil mix if it's a two stroke) for the dink. The thing is, as you add one capability, you have to take into account the infrastructure to support it and then, maybe those things need additional infrastructure, etc, etc, etc....

It can be a long and winding road of this thing, supporting that system, requiring an upgrade of another and pretty soon you are so surrounded by what you *have to have* to support something maybe you really didn't need in the first place.

I understand this is blasphemy the manufacturers out there, who want us to consume their "marine grade" pens, pencils, log books, and toasters that they are very very proud of -- just look at the co$t. Well, I don't have to buy all their stuff just because it is shiny and new, because it was reviewed in the latest issue of SAIL, or I think I have to keep up with the Joneses when at anchor.  Frankly I don't care what the Joneses think.  All I care about is whether I have what I need on Brigadoon.

So every purchase is backed up by some questions.

Do I really need this?

Can this capability I'm acquiring be done another way -- especially one that is less costly?

Do I need additional infrastructure to support the shiny new thing and, how much is that going to cost?

What are the unintended con$equences (costs) of the addional infrastructure?

For example, I have looked at a really nice little Honda outboard for my dink. Before I buy that, though, I'm going to get the thing off the davits and row it around for a while before I shell out the money for an outboard. I may find out I don't need it. If I find I do, then at lease I've asked and answered the right questions about it.

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