Preview: Inadvertently Green, The Budget Cruising Dividend

December 28, 2013

Ellen Leonard

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Ocean Navigator magazine.  With its focus on minimalist boating, I thought it might be of interest to the OCH readership.

When my husband Seth and I started cruising aboard our Westphal 38Heretic, being “green” wasn’t on our radar. But sailing on a shoestring was. We were trying to outfit a 40-year-old boat for a round-the-world voyage; we had to make our money last for the next few years.

green sailing - Heretic with her wind vane and solar panels visible on the stern

Heretic with her wind vane and solar panels visible on the stern

Heretic had come with a VHF radio and a fixed mount GPS; a friend of ours donated an old Furuno 1621 radar to the cause. For safety and communication with those back home in Maine, we decided to install an Icom M70PRO single sideband radio and Pactor modem for e-mail. That was all the electronics either our wallets or our small battery bank could handle, so items like a chartplotter didn’t even cross our minds. Too much money; too much juice. Paper charts were fine. An electric windlass? We were young and winch handles were cheaper. Similarly our fiberglass dinghy never had an outboard motor since oars cost less. A fridge? Not necessary: we had read Hal Roth and Annie Hill on keeping food without refrigeration and were game to try. A watermaker? Again, too much money; too much power draw, and we had two 100-gallon stainless steel water tanks under our settees. Even pressure water was out; instead we used a Whale Babyfoot Pump for our galley sink. If you wanted hot water, you could put the kettle on. Showers came in the form of a 2.5-gallon Stearns Sun Shower bag when we could get water from shore; at sea you got a bucket over the side.

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