Has Yachting Truly Evolved?

Evolution continues all around us everyday. Plants, humans, animals and the Earth as a whole is changing whether we acknowledge it or not. Technology, however, is undeniably evolving.

It used to be that you needed a bag to carry your cell phone because it was so big and heavy. Now we lose the damn thing in our own pockets! The advancements in technology have been radical to say the least and as a result we have better communication, more reliable systems and have more freedom than we ever did. With the evolution of systems we’ve also seen the price of these fancy devices drop to affordable levels and they’re ease of use less complicated…then came the smartphone.

Is your boat what you really need?

Our desire for more and manufacturers desire for more sales have prompted for ever more sophisticated (and pricer phones). It’s like the cycle started all over again. We went from big to small and from pricey to affordable and now we’re going back for big and pricier.  It’s no longer important to fit nicely into your palm or your pocket. Now it’s all about how big the screen is, how much data it can hold and how much can it do. Meanwhile this makes the phones bigger, more complicated, and more expensive.  And why shouldn’t they, Apple has sold over 3 million of their $300+ phones in just over a month!

We’ve seen the same “evolution” in the boating world. Sail gave way to steam and it to gas as wood gave way to steel and then to fiberglass. We want to go faster and further everyday, all while carrying more and more. Granite floors, 360 degree TV’s, extra generators, more this and more that. Sky’s the limit, right? Wrong!

As boats gets heavier they need more power to achieve the same speed. More power means more fuel consumption. More consumption means bigger tanks which in turn adds more weight, which means more power/more consumption/more tanks…and the cycle never stops.

Boats used to be an escape from your home. Now most of them try to replicate your home. Say what? Look around, the average 70′ yacht sleeps 8 people including crew and has the same TV’s, surround sound stereos, BBQ grill, full size washer and dryer, refrigerators, stove, oven, microwave and dishwasher as your home. However, it also has extra freezers, engines, generators, underwater lights, a watermaker, navigation electronics, a davit, a trash compactor and much more.  Now we need to somehow make all this stuff work together and we need to make it move at 20kts through 6 foot seas!!

The result is a far more complicated and expensive boat than we ever needed in the first place. Boats are increasingly more difficult and more expensive to maintain. You basically need an engineer degree just to use your stereo or turn on the breakers.  Apparently cell phones and these floating mansions are intended for some elite alien race that finds fuel switching valves and programmable app macros “intuitive”. And just like cell phones, all these added features make boats unstable and more prone to downtime. Isn’t that ridiculous? We demand so much that we make these “fun things” so complicated and expensive that now we can’t even use them!!

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and stick to what you actually need. Take a stand. Drop that extra fridge, forget about that extra knot and focus on a boat that works every time you want it to. The fanciest boat (or phone) in the world is just an expensive headache if it doesn’t work.  There’s nothing worse than sitting at the dock watching a group of people laughing on their little boat while you try to get your Blackberry to work.