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World Tour


If I had to come up with a single piece of advice to newcomers about cruising yachts, I would say, "Keep it simple."

If you want to be a world cruiser, "complicated" is not good.  Everything on your yacht that is difficult to maintain and fix distracts you from the heart and soul of what cruising is all about.

You can tell when you have a simple yacht, because it's affordable and relatively easy to maintain.

One of the things I liked about Exit Only was that I didn't need to be a billionaire to make an eleven year trip around the world, because Exit Only was affordable. 

During those eleven years, I had problems with the autopilot only twice, and both times I repaired the problem myself with spares I was carrying on board.  I replaced pieces of  1x17 rigging wire that developed broken strands at various times during the circumnavigation.  Whenever there was a rigging challenge in a remote location, I fixed it myself using extra long Stalock terminals.  The Yanmar engines ticked over nearly flawlessly all the way around the world, requiring only periodic oil changes and  salt water pump impeller changes.  I also had to change alternator belts frequently until I started using ribbed drive belts.

Systems that lasted the entire eleven year trip included the Raymarine radar, GPS, depth sounder, Power Survivor 80 watermaker, Kenwood TS-50S ham radio, and Force 10 propane stove along with the aluminum propane cylinders.

The most complicated system that I used the least during the circumnavigation was our watermaker.  It produced only 3 gallons of water per hour, and the only time we used it was on passage.

Because we had a simple yacht, we didn't spend large amounts of time in port waiting for spare parts.  When we flew to the USA for a visit, we picked up needed spares so we could perform quick repairs in an emergency.

In eleven years, we went through two genoas and two mainsails.  We replaced the genoa because it was stretched out of shape by the time we arrived in New Zealand after 5000 miles of downwind sailing.  We replaced the mainsail after eleven years because the fabric was rotten from UV exposure.

Today, the simple yacht has been replaced by floating condominiums.  Nearly every shore side convenience has found it's way on board.  Cruising is less like camping and more like staying at the Hilton.  There's nothing wrong with transforming your yacht into a floating condominium with all the conveniences of home, as long as you understand that it won't take long for those conveniences to become a millstone around your neck when you need to repair them in some remote corner of the world.  It's only a matter of time before those conveniences become inconvenient and deplete your cruising funds as well.

Joshua Slocum said, "You must know the sea, and know that you know it, and know that it was meant to be sailed upon."  This statement reminds me that sailing is about the sea, and interacting with the sea in a seaworthy vessel.  It's not about trying to replicate my shore side existence on board a yacht.   When my yacht starts looking like a floating condominium, maybe it's time to move ashore where all those conveniences make more sense.

Exit Only is a simple yacht, and I intend to keep her that way, because simple works for me.  Simple is good.

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