Wednesday, April 13, 2005

To Buy or Not to Buy

Shakespeare's Hamlet contemplated death through suicide and he soliloquized,

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”

My dilemma is not nearly so dramatic,

“Should I buy, or should I not buy?”

When endeavouring to be a minimalist, the answer to the question becomes easier because choices are lessened. A small amount of space aboard ship means less equipment, but a Reeds Nautical Almanac takes up as much space in a small boat as it does in a large one, and in proportion to the whole, the amount of space taken up by the almanac is much more in a small boat, likewise is the relationship in terms of weight.

The solution for the minimalist is to go to the local library and photocopy the essential pages of the almanac for the proposed sailing programme, whether it’s exploring an estuary or making a coastal cruise, but the more capacious the vessel, the more opportunity there is for bundling items into the space – that’s assuming one has the cash in the first place to buy such items.

In this quandary where space and money is no object, answering the question, “Should I buy, or should I not buy?” becomes more difficult.

I’m considering the purchase of a barometer, knowing how useful it would be for forecasting local weather, but at the same time I have access to several weather forecasts through radio, VHF, and more recently, the Internet via my laptop computer. So do I really need a barometer?

I also have to make a choice whether to buy an inflatable dinghy. There’s enough room for one on the foredeck of ‘Bumper’ – just about – or should I make do with my Seahopper dinghy which has inflatable rubber fenders? The Seahopper is a bit more problematical for storing.

If shortage of money is not a significant factor, although in truth it is, space aboard most certainly will restrict what I buy; but most of all common sense should prevail.

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