How a boat mirrors the world and ecosystem we live in

by Chris Kameen on September 28, 2013

Vaka sailing HardWe can all do our little bit, to reduce the amount of finite resources that we use to enjoy our wonderful sport. The fact that we engage in sailing puts us in a significant minority of people in the world as wealthy with some disposable income. We have the freedom to make choices about how we look after our lake or harbour and surrounding areas..

Provisioning for the long trip

As sailors we should be acutely aware of the importance of conservation of resources and being self sufficient at sea. Why should we act differently when based ashore. Let us explain.

Most of us will have thought about what it is like to do a long ocean passage or sail round the world. In thinking thus our mind likely questions what and how much ‘stuff’ we would take or could fit on to the boat. We would ask questions like how much food, water, fuel, toilet roll, spare equipment and safety equipment could we fit on to the boat.

In 1998 I made such a trip and without realizing it, I was first exposed to what limited resources really mean. We were to cross the Atlantic (Roughly 2500 miles longest sea crossing) on a 26 foot yacht with no water maker, or HF radio, we did have an EPIRB and Life raft and a sense of adventure. We provisioned for 40 days and enough water for 3 litres per person per day for 40 days. Fresh food was bought from market stalls rather than refrigerated supermarkets. All excess packaging was removed before anything went on the boat. Plastic packaging where possible was removed, before we set off.

Once we set off we had to make do with only what we had on board, we didn’t cook too much food, we didn’t waste anything. We even had to limit our tea drinking to one cup a day, until at least we were able to catch rain water as we neared the Caribbean! Amazingly our fresh food lasted for a long time despite no refrigeration, as we hung it in nets in the forepeak. With limited fuel we were forced to conserve battery electrical power and so only ran the stereo when the engine was running and charging the batteries.

The purpose of this story is to highlight that as sailors we know what to do on our boats, and perhaps could use some of those lessons when we are ashore and especially around our sailing clubs

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