From Frank and Judy Durant
Simplicity.....I HATE SYSTEMS !
Although I have sailed since 1977, I have not cruised
other than weekends and the odd week. I live on
the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada. I had read
your book, Cruising in Seraffyn and watched your
video, Cruising with Lin and Larry. But I did not
realize the validity of your opinions until I purchased
a new Beneteau 331 with a centerboard and short
twin rudders, only 2ft11in draft with board up!
I figured it would be the perfect Bahamas boat.
I purchased Cost Conscious Cruiser from you at the
Miami Boat Show to read along the way.
We brought the boat down from Charleston to the
Keys, then over to the Bahamas. My 'perfect boat'
soon proved not so perfect. Docking was a real
adventure as the prop blast I was accustomed to
while docking now went through the twin rudders
NOT OVER THEM, very poor low speed control, any
wind and I felt 'trapped' a dock while alone...too
much money and too new to scratch.
Our 'in mast furling' jammed, halyard tension
had to be perfect or else! Refrigeration is great
BUT we soon had to run the engine daily to keep
up the batteries. Hot/cold pressure water was
a real luxury...until on evening after a great
dinner, wine, sunset...we fell asleep without
switching the batteries over. Next morning we
had no engine...no water (pressure system) and
no stove to heat the water (solenoid wouldn't
open without electricity)...real vulnerable!!
Your book was making real good sense!! Shortly
after that, the solenoid packed it in. Salt water
I presume. Ever try to boil water on a stern hung
BBQ? No morning coffee=grumpy. I was quickly beginning
to hate 'systems'. We did enjoy our cruise...love
exploring, BUT the 'perfect boat' was now not
the one we had. Too big(33ft11in), too many worries
at anchor on windy nights, too much money tied
up, too worried about scratches, too little control
at docking times (I'm usually very good at docking)
too many 'systems'.
After our return home I began to paint a picture
of 'my perfect yacht'. Small, offshore capable,
no complex systems, full keel, easy to handle
alone and hopefully classic looks. I ended up
buying a 1962 Pearson Ariel. A full keel Alberg
design of 25ft 6in.I turned the V-berth into a
'garage' incl. a head and a self designed shower
(inspired by yours) I redid galley with lots of
storage, a super insulated ice box with a drain.
I installed the biggest water tank I could fit
in. Put a deck fill on the bridge deck so it would
be easy to fill from the cockpit AND arranged
a way to fill with rainwater from the bimini.
I put fillers in the cockpit for those nice 'sleep
outside' nights. I installed all new proper sea-cocks...A
saltwater pump for the galley to keep fresh water
use down. An exterior bilge pump. an interior
bilge pump complete with a Y valve that pumps
out the shower sump and the bilge. I added additional
reef points in the main and jib complete with
down hauls...no more furling !! We now have 2
simple propane stoves and the BBQ. No soleniods!
We now rely on nothing...when the ice runs out
either we have people along the way freeze our
tupper ware 'blocks' or go iceless.
Speaking of true bilges...This is my 1st !! LOTS
of usable space that IS
cooler and both easy to access and out of the
way. This ole girl has a full keel, only 3ft 8in
draft, a proper bridge deck, straight drop boards.
Low free board and cabin. To my eyes this boat
IS beautiful, classic, full of character, warm
interior with ample drawers ,lockers and shelves
It sails beautifully with good motion, is easy
to handle alone. With my upgrades it is a very
What was before a marginal anchor is now the
same as a storm anchor...less 'sleep with one
eye open' nights. We use 2 oil lamps, bright enough
to read or turn down for real 'warm' atmosphere.
Our modest electrical use is easily restored by
the 6 amp charger on the small 6hp outboard when
running and a flex solar panel. No more 'hard
to get at' engine servicing. At 62lbs,I carry
it off the dock. We can sail more ..explore more...worry
less. Less IS more with a cruiser!!
I want to thank both of you for sharing, inspiring
and guiding us and I'm sure thousands of others
along the way. Hopefully we will someday share
an anchorage and a glass of wine.
Frank & Judy Durant