on budgets and boat bucks…

Good Old Boat has an article on the subject of Boat Bucks and it got me thinking…

I suspect that if you read VolksCruiser you’re on a tight budget or looking for ways to make cruising more affordable or maybe you’re just slumming.

It occurred to me that the biggest problem of the VolksCruiser gig is that most folks can’t even say what sort of budget they’re on. Admitting that stuff is too expensive because someone might think less of you is a real problem.

It’s not always easy to embrace one’s place in a social order where what’s in your wallet has more value than the sort of person you are. It sucks.

Having a couple of boat blogs, I get an amazing amount of unsolicited advice. About 99% of said advice is people telling me the answer to my problems is to throw money at them. For instance, I have watermaker that works very well. It’s made thousands of trouble-free gallons of water, but I still get emails telling me I’d be better off with a more expensive system.

When I lost our mast, I received many emails. They said either go out and buy a new mast or just get a new boat. I did not have $20K to buy a new mast, rig and sails. If I could not afford a new rig, where was I going to come up with the $750K that a new catamaran would have cost? People were telling me that the only new boat to get was a frelling condomaran. Talk about peer pressure.

I also get emails from people cowed by peer pressure. Since they cannot afford to buy a new cat, they tell me how they’ll put off their dream of cruising until they can afford to do it right. 

What the fuck is that all about?

Doing it right for some might mean doing it at a certain budget and if they can’t do it that way, it’s not worth doing. That’s nuts. Doing it right means getting it done at an acceptable level of comfort, safety, and within an affordable budget.

To steal a line from Dickens, we’re living in the worst and best of times for cruising. Technology is a wonderful thing and if you can escape the consumerism trap there are many advantages you can take advantage of. Being stuck in a consumerist world where anything old has no value, you can pay pennies on the dollar for the gear you lusted after just a year ago.

Today, with a little homework, a bit of sweat equity, and some scrounging, you can outfit a boat for a fraction of the money that the boat bucks crowd can. Even better yet, refitting a classic plastic design with the added tool of affordable tech makes for a boat better than it was new.

The problem is not that you can’t afford to cruise, it’s about trying to cruise on an unrealistic budgetary framework. Admit your budget is what it is. Use your brain power to find a sustainable solution to making it work in a manner you can afford and be proud of.

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