on planned and premature obsolescence…

Practical Sailor just put up an excellent article on windlasses that you really should read which touches on the subject of planned/premature obsolescence which happens to be a big part of why I’m promoting the whole VolksCruiser thing. 

It’s not just a cost thing.

Sure the driving force for most folks is about affordability but for a lot of us, it has a lot to do with the fact that a lot of modern gear and boats are not built to last. Having worked in a used gear and consignment shop, one quickly learns that a lot of the newer gear has a much shorter lifespan than than older gear.

A good example are the fifty-year old Barient winches aboard “So It Goes” which have worked hard over the years are still working just fine while a pair of new Harken winches I bought about ten years ago which have never been mounted or used are showing signs of corrosion even though they’ve been stored in a dry locker all this time. But what do you expect when you mix dissimilar metals together in a  guaranteed to corrode fashion?

Another problem with a lot of newer gear is it’s simply impossible to fix and that the companies making stuff are, at best, reluctant to sell you parts. Even worse in my opinion is how a lot of companies no longer support gear that they made as short as a couple of years ago. Sure, I get the fact that fifty-year old Barient winches are no longer supported and one has to sort out work-a-rounds but I was recently told getting an extra plug for a five year old chart plotter is impossible because they are no longer supporting electronics they no longer sell.

Sadly, it would seem that making good products, as opposed to making good enough products with designed in obsolescence is not great for profits.

That being the case, an older affordable boat with built to last systems starts making a lot of sense and, with the added bonus of being the more green solution, it’s something of a no-brainer.

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