Sunday, October 09, 2022

on decision fatigue...


Not the oceans I dreamed of sailing, a book on my must read list, and in the "What's the cost of fish going to be?" department......

The whole sailing/cruising gig is fraught with a minefield of decision making situations that can induce stasis or worse. For example just the number of decisions needed to outfit a sailboat for cruising is enough to make your head explode.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Back when, when confronted with outfitting a cruising boat the available selection of gear was pretty sparse and, when combined with economic reality, the selection process was dead simple. Back in the early 90s outfitting Loose Moose 2 we did not have the cornucopia of instruments and systems at the time there were only two GPS units within our price range and while I lusted for the Magellan the Trimble cost less so that decision was made.

We wanted a simple depth/speed instrument and I don;t recall there being a lot of choice within my price range and we could get the B&G Focus at discount through our boat building coop. Pretty much that was how it worked for almost all of the fitout and I don;t think I spent more than a couple of days musing on what was needful to allow LM2 to cross oceans with.

Now, of course, it's a whole new ball game as there's a plethora of gear and choice vying for one's attention. Just looking at whats available in terms of chart plotters you could spend weeks sorting out the various systems pros and cons of the available units. Which, when you consider that most of the products all do the same thing very well, is kind of nuts.

When buying a small chart plotter for "So It Goes" I bought a "Last years model" at a giveaway price and while it does not talk to any of my other instruments it still works finest kind. As it happens a while back I bought another chartplotter/fishfinder for cheap as it was less expensive than a repeater for the cockpit would be and while I have not got around to installing it yet the combined cost of the two excellent instruments is a fraction of what most chart plotters cost.

A reader who writes me fairly often told me recently that he'd written a spreadsheet to wrangle all of the information he needed to sort out his electronics purchases.  Now, while I admire his attention to detail, I'm not sure the time invested is saving him any money or getting him a better set of instruments when all is said and done. Though he won't make a decision until he can input the data for the new products at the boat shows.

The fact is that a lowly fishfinder/plotter for $300 contains all the instrumentation anyone actually needs with the exception of a speed through water (SOG is OK but does not quite give you all the information you really need) and a compass.

And, that's just instruments. Combine the time involved and stress to make decisions on for all of the various systems and miscellany that goes into a cruising boat and you're getting into throwing a circuit breaker territory (AKA stasis).

The trick is to get with the simplify program and minimize.

While having nothing to do with cruising boats this video has everything to do with cruising boats.

Listening to John Hiatt

So it goes...