As we ready for trying to get out of here and go cruising it seems we are constantly set back by equipment failures and the ensuing repairs that need to be made. This could be considered a nuisance but it is tapping into our sailing funds and using up other resources such as time. It seems that every time we turn around we find that we are having to spend time and money to fix the very  things we need to make money such as our cars. It is a sort of Catch 22.

This got me to thinking and realizing that we are slowly becoming slaves to the very same Machines we build to make our lives “easier.”  Think about how much time we waste screwing with computers that always seems to get some weird virus or suffer from crashed hard drives.  Cars that won’t run right and every other piece of mechanical or electrical gear we use on a daily basis. All this stuff sooner or later breaks down and demands our attention and money.  Unless you are one of the lucky rich and can either simply buy a new car or pay someone to fix the problem, we all have to deal with this.

I think the scenario of the machines suddenly gaining consciousness and realizing humans are of no use to them is way wrong.  I do not think it will be like in the Terminator where the machines decide to wipe us off the face of the earth because we are in their way. Far from it, it will not be a sudden change that happens overnight but rather a slow process that I believe has started already. Think about it, we are slowly becoming slaves to the machines we build, it is a sort of symbiotic relationship where we cannot get by without the machines but they cannot get by without us.

We are enslaving ourselves, the machines do not have to lift a cyber finger to force us to obey, we do it freely and willingly. Every year that passes we become more and more dependent on the machines and technology we work hard to build to make life “easier.” We work all day long so that we can buy the latest and coolest new toy. We spend hours and hours on the computer surfing the net. And when we take a break from that we are driving our cars or watching TV. There really is no escape anymore.

Now I am not saying this is all bad (at least not yet) but I do think we need to be careful here. I am not one to go the way of the Pardys who advocate a very simple lifestyle but I am beginning to think they may have a point. Yes I do want an engine in my boat and I do like the convenience of electronic navigation and there is no way I am giving up my tunes or ice in my rum and coke. It is nice to be able to get high tech weather reports and yes I admit to liking the cute cat videos on YouTube.  But I do think there is a balance to be had here. At some point we have to decide enough is enough!

I for one will be glad to lose the cars; those things give me more grief than I care to think about. I still want my computer as it allows me to type this crap. (Holy crap would I be in trouble without spell check!) I do not however feel a need to run out and buy the latest new tablet or get that new cell phone that I can talk to and have it talk back, that is what friends are for. I am also beginning to realize what a time vampire the internet is. Back in the day they worried about TV wasting our time. TV is kids stuff for wasting time compared to the internet.  I will keep my diesel engine the one made long before they became computer controlled. I will keep my sextant thank you, even if I do have 6 GPS unit aboard. I still like to turn off the plotter and steer by compass and stars at night.  (I still blame the glow of the screen for the attack of the killer flying fish that late night off shore!)

There is a balance and it is up to each of us to find that balance when it comes to the machines of convenience we are so fond of. For the Pardys it was very basic, for others it will be a bit more. I will say that some of the most frustrated cruisers I run into are the ones that have all the latest toys on their boats. They seem to be the ones talking more about where to get spares than the great snorkeling.  I will admit it is frustrating when the toys I think I need quit working, I suppose if I am going to have this stuff aboard I will just have to not get stressed when it quits working.  When I started sailing back in the seventies things were very basic on my boat. I know I can get by with little, the trick is to remember that it is possible to do just that, get by with very little. As I recall I was pretty happy back then.

Capt. Wayne


About the author: Capt. Wayne


Boat builder, Sailor, Surveyor, and freelance writer.