2015-03-18

Thinking outside the anchor locker

I was once ignorant and accepting of the logic of boat design. I'm still ignorant...I can't even draw Bambi...but certain features of even the best of boats can annoy me and strike me as continuing to exist not because of logic or even utility, but because of habit. Examples can include restricted access to critical systems or components, like seacocks or engine parts or tankage. Like when I realized my SS water tanks had decent access ports (good) which were within one centimeter of the underside of the pilothouse floor (stupid).
Measure twice, oh, to hell with it.
But nobody's perfect, right? And one person's bad or compromised design is another's beloved vessel. Provided the boat in question doesn't sink while it's spantaneously combusting, de gustibus non est disputandum.
A typical modern design with a typical windlass and chain setup. Photo (c) Tom Irwin

But, having demonstrated love and tolerance for all boats and those who sail in them, why the hell are anchor lockers at the front of most small yachts? It has occurred to me of late that few sailors in my experience does the right thing in terms of the physics of ground tackle. Logically, you would want the windlass right in front or beside the mast, with no centerline hatches in the way, and that centerline space covered in either a stainless strip or even an inset "gutter".
As one does on HMCS Montreal.


The chain or rope rode would go down a spurling pipe forward of the mast (the hawse pipe is where the chain rode is routed off the bow and into the water, by the way) into a bilge or keel locker very close to the center of gravity of the boat. This locker could be in the aft corner of a cabin or would be built as part of bulkhead involving the head, so the chain pipe (which would be removable for servicing or inspection) could be stowed inside that, which could actually strengthen the deck.

If the windlass dies, you've got beefy winches on the mast or deck right to hand. If you choose not to install a chain washdown on deck, you could have the chain flake down in the bilges over a perforated plate, under which is a low-profile bilge pump. So you can "wash without slosh", and then pump the bilge-based anchor rode locker a lot drier than something forward. You can examine the chain for defects or service either inside the cabin, or on the deck in a more stable and sheltered location than the actual bow. Lastly, the wire runs to the windlass are shorter and unburied: easier to service and shorter, cheaper wire runs.
Why, the way this ship does things would wreck the V-berth!
Getting the chain over the keel, like getting the batteries under the saloon settees instead of beside the motor, typically aft in most boats, makes physical sense. I can only assume that habit and an aversion to bringing the potentially mucky "machinery" into the condo-like interior of most modern cruisers (plus their limited bilge stowage of many) means this idea is a non-starter.

But let's look at the problems implicit in the current design choicesd: Having a load of chain and anchor and machinery weight at the bow leads to hobbyhorsing, seas over the bow, difficulty staying upright, harnesses and jacklines for the person handling the gear (which is never a bad idea, actually) and a lot of wear and tear from the movement of the stowed chain...despite this, most sailors will tell you that there isn't really a better spot. Not on most modern yachts. Now, sharp-eyed readers will note that on the ship pictured above, the chain fall (the sloped ramp beneath the windlass) and chain locker are well back from the stemhead, leaving the foredecks blissfully clear and largely untrodden by the crew unless it's Titanic Tribute Night. But this is rarely done on sailboats.
Lots of people put paint dashes or tags or cable ties to indicate the amount of chain rode they've paid out, but not many provide an aide-memoire so convenient. Photo (c) Sauniere59
In the above example, the anchor locker is reasonably well-lidded and the Lofrans Tigres (I think) windlass is bolted to a sunken platform, which, most of the time, will keep it and its electrical connections out of the weather and the deck free of a tripping...or worse...hazard. There's a plastic (probably HDPE) plate forward to take the wear of the chain and anchor shank, and the fall of the chain is being guided forward by a roller. It's as far back as it can go, and this is about as good an installation as is typically found on production boats in my snack bracket.
Uh...did another West Marine close? Photo (c) Artofhookie.org


Of course, while there is no excuse for poor design, the fact is not only that fewer boats these days anchor much, but also that fewer sailors know how to anchor, and on occasion seem to be unaware that anchoring includes etiquette. I'm no Ancient Mariner on the topic, but I see problematic stuff, like insufficient scope, lack of sturdy enough fair leads, rode left on the roller, rarely a snubber or a bridle, etc. Part of that, to be honest, is where I live: it's mostly fair-weather sailors stopping for lunch. But another part is that the habit of anchoring is being lost, I think, because the activity of anchoring is being discouraged. After all, anchoring is in some ways part of the watery version of the commons, and while the tragedy of shared access cuts both ways, there's more money for a marina in renting the visitor to the fuel dock a slip for the night, particularly when some abuse the resource.
The bigger the boat, the more chance of doing the anchor locker concept correctly by having the chain fall aft, low and with no easily breached lid on deck. This is a S&S 60. Photo (C) 2011 Practical Sailor

But back to the dilemma of anchoring and ground tackle, which is almost invariably heavy (even if there are exceptions) and is best kept aft and low, but usually isn't. It's not like the problem is unknown: Practical Sailor had a couple of really good articles here and here a few years ago. Many of pros and a greater number of the cons are enumerated. But if the best practice of ground tackle management is to stow chain low and aft, why is this so rarely a feature of modern production boats?

A large part of the reason is that many people who own boats prefer not to be reminded that they are actually on a boat, I think. They want the "working" part of the boat (the backing plates, seacocks, pumps, engine compartment, tankage and yes, anchoring gear) to be invisible in the "living" area, and banishing the often smelly and rusty chain to the pointy end is one way to do this, even if in terms of the physics of sailing the boat it's like putting a fat kid on the very edge of the see-saw seat.
Custom, homebuilt projects can think outside of the anchor locker if they are willing to commit to non-traditional layouts. Diagram (c) https://framsblog.wordpress.com/
In the diagram above, which is from the blog of a Dutch trimaran builder, the chain locker is well-aft, giving the height needed for an effective chain fall. This is the distance and angle that chain runs off the windlass's gypsy so that it piles neatly in a pyramid at the bottom of the space provided.

I find interesting this blog author's contention that figuring out the angles of his chain fall had to be derived empirically and not from an established set of parameters. Diagram (c) https://maringret.wordpress.com
Now, getting the chain aft on the premise that this is better needn't involve radical surgery: one boat builder found even eight inches aft made a difference and also introduced me to the rather useful and economical concept of the recycled tire garden trug as a durable receptacle for piled chain. This is easier to remove and clean and cheaper in time and dollars than was my idea of making a triangular box with several coats of Rhino Liner applied.
If you're prone to drug, pay out the trug. Photo (c)http://www.odysseyyachts.com/Odyssey_Yachts/BUILDING_BLOG/BUILDING_BLOG.html
A related approach is seen on the rather beautiful S/V Jedi, a Sundeer 64. Here the chain run on deck is taken well back to an offset windlass and protected hawse pipe straight down into a dedicated locker.
The best option to my mind involves a willingness to surrender a bit of internal space, but so what? It's a boat! Photo (c) http://www.sv-jedi.org/

Now, I thought I had all this ground tackle nonsense sussed out years ago. Alchemy came with a relatively shallow, uncovered anchor "well", which carries some 200 feet of chain splayed about only 14 inches below deck level. The positives were (and remain) that this well is dry and protected by pipe rails. Losing 14 inches in height means the forces in a seaway attempting to throw crew off the boat are mitigated, somewhat. The drain hole for the anchor well is relatively high in the stem; even in a plunging sea, there is enough buoyancy in Alchemy's bluff bows to keep the anchor well drain hole out of the sea, and the area is shallow enough that even brimming with ocean, it wouldn't drag down the bows before it self-emptied.
Conceptually in 2009, because I got absorbed with repowering and detanking.
As can be seen, the "well" is basically just a place to get sorted. So I thought "hey, why not make a nice deep bucket? At the front of the boat? I'm sure I could make a lid for it!"

This is actually a vast amount of cutting and welding.
But while this would work, it turns the bow into a bucket, leaves far less prospective anchor well "floor" in which to stand, and doesn't move the chain back so much as down, while removing the aspect of "self-draining" that is desirable in a steel boat.

"Spurling pipe" is number 11 and is the least likely clue in Pictionary.

So my new thinking is to leave well enough alone (pun intended). The forepeak workshop space is seven feet aft of the stem; I can move the windlass about five and a quarter feet back, almost to the forepeak hatch frame. This will keep the windlass slightly more protected and out of the weather and will leave the well as a place for chain management and cleaning, a rode footbath, so to speak. The chain fall can then be a simple pipe from the underside of the deck, in the same "empirical" combination of straight and angled spurling pipe down to a floor-bolted trug. This means there is no bucket, no welding, no lid, just a lined hole in the deck that pipes chain into a sort of soft bucket. Chain is cleaned on deck before it is stowed low and several feet aft, and I can keep the buttons to work the windlass when in electrical mode better protected, another win.

I think I'll start measuring twice and cutting once. I may have just talked myself out of an expensive mistake.

2015-03-03

Getting a charge out of winter

Ice, Sun Dog and Condo Crane: A typical Toronto tableau.


While I can ski, or rather have skiied in the past, I don't do so now, as this car-free sailor doesn't find the idea of taking a bus to and from a place to rent ski gear particularly appealing. I don't skate, either, and hence am not much of a Canadian, I suppose. So my winter sports are essentially identical to my summer ones: lots of cycling and lots of boat repair.
Open water? In my lake? It's more likely than you'd think.

Of course, the more appalling brand of weather, of which we've had an excess since late November, can and has put a kink in those activities; it has been either too cold, too windy or too snowy, sometimes all at once, to get more than essential biking it (groceries and run-dry impellers and Perko seawater strainer gasket kits, for instance). So things have been slowed up.
Allegedly visible: A sundog, as seen by a seadog.

This has created some practical problems. Aside from the cold, which may be testing the limits of my winterizing regime (currently under review, by the way), I habitually "lay on a charge" on both boats several times a winter. For Alchemy, this involves simply plugging into a power stand in the drift-covered boat yard. As long as it's between 0800 and 2000h and the power company is on game, I can get one or two 15 amp circuits aboard, the latter enough to get the sole battery aboard charged and to allow a minimal amount of space heating to occur, the latter being of interest as I tend to stay aboard when charging is happening, due to some early lessons in what can go wrong with unattended boats while plugged in.

During my unfortunate stay at Outer Harbour Marina in 2007, this boat went up in little toxic cinders while charging unattended and took the portable toilets with it
On Valiente, which has a pair of larger-format batteries as a combined house/start bank, it's a case of taking a Honda 2000 generator down to the boat and letting it power the onboard charger for several hours. That means a) finding a day clement enough to do the job, as I have to cart the genset by bicycle trailer, and b) finding a day in which it's practical for me to kill several hours aboard a cold, dim boat. Item B is really more of an issue, inconceivable as that might seem to a car owner, than is the transport aspect, because I don't leave the boat unattended. If it's below freezing, as it has been for a ridiculous, record-breaking stretch here this year, even the useful prospect of swabbing out the interior can't be realized. Besides, that yard's pipes are almost certainly frozen or off.
Roads to nowhere until the ice breaks up in a few weeks
So I may have frozen batteries and a burst block when I finally get to poor, drifted-over Valiente, probably later this week. Oh, well, it'll be something to write about.
"Hank on the drifter", they said.
UPDATE, 15.03.10: I finally got to Valiente and while a surprising amount of snow had to be shifted to even reach the cockpit lockers.revealing an absolutely filthy coaming and deck thanks to the diesel and dust from the nearby recycling plant, the good news is that the engine appears unburst from the anti-freeze defeating cold.
Focused or not, that's a lot of snow.
Perhaps the metre of snow insulated the engine bay?

The penalty for leaving the mast in involves frozen bilges. The sobering thing is that I poured a litre or so of antifreeze in that bilge in the fall.
The batteries, read (quite) cold, summoned up 12.8 volts, which was better than I had hoped for. Three hours of Hondafication later, they read 13.6. I even gave the Coast Guard a radio check to see if the antenna and connections were intact. Apparently, yes.

Bucket and drop board substituting for shovel is no way to get past winter.
So, while the boat is cosmetically at somewhat of a low, the snowpack is retreating (i.e. "pushed") and while I won't know for sure until a test fire if the engine isn't cracked, I have no evidence in the form of extruded pink tears to indicate it is. A cold, wet, dirty but good day.
On Comet, or perhaps Vim, and a conscientious power washing. Argh.





2015-02-18

Yachtspotting under adverse conditions

Thanks to National Yacht Club member Bill Roulston, who took this icy shot very recently whilst flying over our boat club.
Where's Waldo, minus that eejit Waldo.
Note the hardness of the lake. It's reported that the Lake Ontario ice cover has jumped from "enough to chill the rum" in 2013 to "walk to Youngstown" this year. Weather forecasters, having predicted a typical winter in the late fall, have revised their outlooks to "cold spring". Providentially for those finding it difficult to work aboard this winter, the boat club's spring launch is an uncharacteristically late May 2nd weekend. Perhaps for the best?
The small yellow arrow points at the eight pixels or so that comprise Alchemy, which looks positively and uncharacteristically svelte next to a rather large tarped cabin cruiser and a Whitby 45. Click to expand, if desired. Maybe you'll spot the frozen-open main gate.
I like the dichotomy of using aerial photos or graphical resources such as Google Earth to see my boats. The paradox of pixels making objects I can touch (or indeed, can board and disappear inside of) seem more real to me is amusing. This Franklin Expedition-style icebound vista, however, is less so.

2015-02-17

Cold shots

Not quite the North West Passage, but our club's basin would be completely frozen over were it not for the "bubbler"-type activities of clustered ducks.
Nature is no respecter of my refit schedule, it appears. It's been an appallingly cold winter (yes, even by Canadian standards), and opportunities to continue with boat fixing have been distressingly few. I went down to Alchemy yesterday by bicycle (the roads being dry and me having longjohns) to get a couple of hours of battery charging in. I was concerned that at several weeks between charges (the only draw is the LED of the pump switch, in case...ha!...I had a lot of wind-driven rainwater come in), the single Group 24 start battery I have aboard might undergo a phase transition to fully solid. This has been the case with some bottles of pop on my enclosed porch: even the leaky Victorian brickwork has been insufficient to keep outside temperatures of -25C at bay.

A quick inspection showed the battery unburst and, of more import, no signs of the antifreeze with which I winterize the engine bursting out from, say, the seams of the diesel. The lowest temperature having been -25C, and most of the "pink stuff" RV-type plumbing grade antifreeze being rated for -50F/-46C, why should I have worried about that?
More than I need for even two boats, but if it's on sale, I have been known to buy two years' supply. The difference is applied to the rum budget in order to avoid budget rum.
Well, it happens that I have heard a rumour that the -50F pink plumbing antifreeze sold by the local-to-me West Marine (before it went, as predicted last November, belly-up in January) was, in fact, freezing at -20C. A diesel mechanic reported this to my usually reliable source. Now, I may have used this stuff on either, or both boats: I tend to have half-bottles here and there left over. I don't dilute the stuff: the engine cooling circuits on Valiente (raw-water or "open") and Alchemy (closed with heat exchanger) get full strength, and the "block" cooling circuit in Alchemy is full of undiluted Prestone DEX (good to -84F, which is a brisk day on Mars). So I'm not super worried, but it is indicative of a bad quality control issue if it's true that could, potentially, seriously damage a lot of boats. Most owners do not regularly visit their boats in the dead of winter; I was certainly alone in the boat yard yesterday, and burst blocks or split hoses are not what one would wish to learn about when, on a fresh day in April, it's time to pull the plastic off. In addition, some older and/or wealthier and/or mechanically disinclined boat owners have the process of "winterization" contracted out to services or diesel mechanics, which is not only too rich for my blood, but is not the sort of job I would tend to farm out, having heard of horror stories and half-assery in the past.
Guess what can break a push-broom? This snow can break a push-broom.
I have yet to haul my Honda genset down to Valiente. We'll see if there's an issue when I do. It's important to make time and do correct prep in the boating game.

2015-01-29

Transports of de light

I'm looking rough at the periphery these days, but at least I've still got nice legs.

I have made somewhat of a point, perhaps at times a point both prideful and smug, of mentioning that we aren't rich, that we do not own a car and that this Not Ownership has played a favourable role in being able to afford the protracted and expensive process of refitting a boat for world travel.

If I haven't, let me know and I'll scribble some hot air.
These have diesels in them slightly less powerful than my Atomic 4 direct-drive. They must burn two cups a week.

The fact is, of course, is that having a car, or rather, some sort of utility van of the Ford Transit or any number of unimported Japanese diesel van models (or even the very modest and unavailable in Canada Piaggio "Ape" above), well, it would be handy. My recent trip to Whitby to see the man who might blast my bottom (why does everything in sailing sound sexual?) was at the favour of the kind Captain Matt, and he's not the only fellow sailor who is generous when my cargo needs exceed that of my many bike trailers.
The new ride: a Brodie Argus with a cut-down Chariot, now more cargo, less child.
Speaking of which, much like a car owner, I have to occasionally buy a new bike, usually when the cost and incidence of repairs exceeds the remaining value of the bike. Such was the case recently, and I bought the above model, my first "road bike" in a long time, at a decent January discount. Unsolicited pro-tip: If you buy the previous year's model from a bike shop in January or February, it's possible to save hundreds of bucks as the stores must make room for the inevitable newer and shinier mount.. Pushing through the tumbleweeds at the bike shop was worth it and I received a lot of good advice from cyclists more up-to-date on makes and gear than myself.

The bike plus cart combo is similar to a tender to a boat as it's a means to transport more provisions at one go than would a simple backpack or shoulder bag.
So the land-dinghy involved some fabric amputation, the removal of the kid seats, the replacement of the near-done tires and tubes, some lubrication and a quick torquing of bolts. As can be seen, the old standard 26-inch wheel size of mountain bikes and the even older 27-inch class of older road bikes has been superseded in many cases by 700c wheels (definitions and debates of merits found here), which are big enough to have given me a turn when I first threw my relatively stumpy leg over what seemed to be a very large bicycle. But it isn't, and while a 57-cm frame is as big as I would like, I ended up raising the post a bit for a more effective stroke. Above, it can be seen that the trailer just misses the fender...I don't have to kludge together an extender.
It's crowded back here.
On the other hand, I must use up every millimeter on the chainstay to get this to work, and that fabric "safety strap" is too short to reach. So I may take a spare clevis pin from my sail repair box and pin that latch shut. With the mechanical disc brakes and spokes so close, it would be like ninjas with Cuisinarts if anything came apart.
If you see me (and with the flags and lights I carry, you bloody well should!), please don't honk. I might honk back.
The cart adds both rolling resistance and windage (although less that when this was a child-sheltering wedge shape) when compared with the one-wheel, low cart I usually use. But besides been old and unable to be retrofitted to the new, slightly larger bike, my one-wheel cart is corroded after nearly 20 years of service 12 months of the year (it's the grocery getter), and it carries a recommended 70 pounds, although I have had heavier loads that made it emit alarming complaints. The two-wheeled cart, by contrast, can carry at least 100 pounds, meaning (and here's where boat stuff comes in for those readers who have yet to enter the coma state), I can bring batteries, pails of paint, engine parts, small tankage like the water heater and yes, sail bags to and from the home base to the boat(s). With a web of shock cords, I can haul voluminous if relatively light loads without resorting to taxis or accommodating, if pitying, friends.
The white bin under the blue was seven bucks. I'm going to see if the UV or the friction kills it in months; if not, I can fit several of them on Alchemy.
The bike-orientated plans play further into the world of boats as our ideas evolve around how to get around the various countries to which we hope to sail. The current consensus is that bikes can be found nearly everywhere; that most (but not all) of them rust to bits on deck, and that folding bikes, while compact enough to seal in a bag, are expensive if at all good and are just not great for distances or much in the way of cargo. So the idea was, and remains, that we would bring the cargo "system" of a bike rack or two, and a couple of panniers both sufficient enough in capacity to transport laundry or provisions (assuming we didn't need to actually dock and shop for several months) by hand or bike and waterproof enough to stand drizzly trips in a tender between boat and shore.
Thanks to kitty, more money's in the kitty. Photo copyright © 2006-2015 byBrian Huntley
Now, while there are perfectly economical, not to mention easily built, ways to carry stuff on bikes, the customary method is to use panniers, which range from more or less soft cloth bags to hard plastic shells similar to those found over the back wheels of motorcycles.
Ortliebs: pricy but cyclists seem to love them with Apple-like devotion.
So far, I am looking at Ortliebs, which have very few critics among cyclists, who like to argue about gear almost as much as the posters at Sailing Anarchy like to mock production boats and yacht clubs they don't like. Also under consideration are updated versions of Seattle Sport Company's "Fast Packs", allegedly fine in a monsoon, and the somewhat similar XLC Globetrotter bags, which seem obscure but the right sort for us, in that they are more or less duffle bags with straps and handles that can mount quickly on a bike and take a bit of sloshing.

These would be easy to stash when not in use.
I may be swayed a bit by the International Orange Colour of Nautical Safety.
So we'll see what the future holds for the role of bikes plus cargo plus boat. Sailing is evidently not just your old man's ditty bag anymore. Although I will have a number of those, as well...they stuff into corners nicely.
If you have two of these, they're called ditto bags.



2015-01-22

Short cuts and long views


Illustration by Gary Clement, @garyjoelclement, via http://www.greaterfool.ca/2015/01/21/the-second-coming/

We live in low-interesting times. Saving is barely worth it, and overextension of one's finances in order to buy, say, property at the top of the market has never been so attractive. At the same time, the irrational commodities markets have been seizing over the drop in the price of oil, which has (once again) revealed Canada's lack of economic diversity in our horrible, dopey reliance on resource extraction (which seems to have surprised only the economists), and which is partly subsidized by incentives and (frankly) graft, and partly paid for via damaged or destroyed ecosystems. Not that this seems to make much of an impression on the average North American; as soon as gasoline prices began to drop, environmental concerns were trumped by penis compensation.
Guess what? It's hardly worth it at the moment to destroy the environment.
Of course, just like the last time, which was a mere seven years ago, a lot of people will be caught owning newish Canyoneros and F-250s they can't afford to run, or, thanks to easy loans, to pay for. For someone like myself, who is tiring of waiting for the basic diesel-electric box on four wheels I could run short distances, it may make sense to wait for the coming flood of SUVs purchased with low-interest credit to hit the market as "gently used" when interest rates inevitably rise.
Too easy by half.

Whither cruising in all this? Well, the rates I charge my clients and the modest take-home my wife brings in have been static for some time, even as our taxes and fees and utilities, such as gas, electricity and water/waste, have risen, in some cases at rates multiple that of the rather abstract "inflation". I can't charge my tenants more than a figure (1.6% in 2015), even if they leave all the lights on and the water (which has gone up 8% per year for many years now, ostensibly to pay for replacing Victoria-era piping) running 24/7. So there are "bottom line" impacts in that it is difficult to both save for cruising, to refit the boat properly, and to have a life less austere. One somewhat counterintuitive course is to get the boat livable enough to move aboard, and to rent out the part in which we currently live. But this would mean more commuting (my son walks to school and will walk to high school next year) and the logistical craziness of camping out in a boat that is still a worksite. I'm not sure that the extra $1,200-$1,500/month, minus the cost of overwintering in the only marina in the same general area as to my kid's school, minus the insanity of living in a plastic-battened boat with roaring power tools, jerry-rigged heaters and rotating bunkage, even makes sense...although some have done it quite successfully
This is the deal living aboard in a Canadian winter. I see someone bought this boat. I considered doing so way back in 2004.

But that's the micro-picture. The macro picture involves energy, food, water, and therefore you and me and everyone we know. Amid all the current babble about freedoms and liberty, I'm not convinced that our vaunted democracy is the answer to solving situations demanding a planetary response. Democracy is great on the level of the local and the immediate, just like capitalism is fabulous if you've got capital.

Not seen: Hubris.
Both doctrines, however, have got a dubious track record when the timeline involves decades and requires individuals used to individual freedoms (like buying SUVs because gas gets cheap for six months or houses because money is close to free to borrow) to expect those freedoms to be modified or curtailed for a greater good, a greater good that may be both nebulous and unavailable to those making the "sacrifice" of reducing personal choices. The climate change debate is fairly obviously framed in these terms, and, historically at least, the history of altruistic self-denial is not great, and in fact, such sentiments have frequently been considered weaknesses or politically idiotic. Hence, if gas is cheap, burn it. If it isn't, burn less. That's a dichotomy only if you fail to rule out burning gas.

On the other hand, the British wartime economy became a Soviet-style command economy with restricted civil liberties (like driving what you wished when you wished) in order to preserve a parliamentary democracy from Axis fascisms. Food itself was strictly rationed. When the British public had little or no access to crappy or excessive food, health improved dramatically.
Blunt, but effective: No rationing equals class warfare.

Would Americans and Canadians, who, historically at this point, experienced far less rationing inside America, accept a "war footing" economy in order to transform their countries into ones that greatly reduced personal car use, energy consumption and sold only healthy, local foods in local shops, instead of cheap sacks of corn chips in WalMarts out by the highway?

Hell, no. That's why we fought the war!
This, however, would have to wait several decades.

Strangely, the very restrictions for which most people would be unwilling to submit on land are seen as rational at sea on a small boat (unless you "sail" a dock queen). It's clear that if you make every amp aboard through diesel, sun or wind, you can't leave lights, even LED ones, on, can't leave the stereo blasting and can't, mostly, have hot or pressurized fresh water in practically unlimited, municipal quantities. Everything must be planned and measured...even if you have money...if shortfalls that haven't been customary since the mid-19th century on land are to be avoided.
Five cabins and three toilets? That's a small motel.

Boat living is therefore intrinsically "greener" if only in the sense that the skipper and the crew are directly involved in the means of energy production and its storage and rationing. Be oblivious to these aspects of life aboard, and you are soon reading by oil lamps, assuming you remembered to bring lamp oil, and you are also trying to spin your diesel's flywheel with the crash-gybe method, assuming you have compression levers. Of course, simplicity while sailing can be considered virturous, certainly in the sense that there is less to buy, and therefore less to break. Some rather famous sailors have made a living at living a cruising life of near-Luddite parameters.


No mention of rum, I note.

In this sense of being aware of the non-infinite nature of the resources on and within it, Earth can be considered to be a very large passagemaker. We jumped-up apes may disagree on how best to address the excess and bulky crew who are forgetting to turn off the lights, but can we agree that the lights need more turning off? One can only hope so, before that decision is removed from the realm of choice.
Perhaps too cost-conscious?

Fascism can come in any colour, in my experience. The paradox is that a more ecologically oriented democracy would, as happened in some senses during the Second World War, in terms of curtailed domestic fuel usage and food wastage, have to restrict freedom of choice in the marketplace in order to preserve freedom of quality of life on the planet.

High-fructose cornucopia.

It's a tough order. People have difficulty working credit cards 30 days into the future (which is in fact the whole basis of the credit card industry), so saying "we need to do X.Y and Z for the next two centuries in order to make a better, more sustainable world, and it will involve not having everything you want at a cheap, Chinese factory serf-price shipped overnight to your front door, which won't be made of tropical hardwoods" is, frankly, going to be a hard sell, and not just in Western, land-based culture. If one isn't actually being kept down by the excesses of capitalism, it's easier to pretend there's no problems and to enjoy the discounts. Ultimately, most of us are only grabby monkeys with a slightly better puzzle-solving talent.


But with less stuff, we may have more contentment. "Less stuff" is the mantra of the active cruiser, who can see with the disappearing waterline stripe the consequences of unthinking acquisition. In this sense, the cruising life is good preparation for a future in which there is very likely going to be more diners splitting up a pie that, at best, gets no bigger.