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Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
There are projects and their attendant gear that promote the safe and efficient running of a boat and then there are hobbies: and hobbies can be fueled by people who have a lot of time and interest in a subject and those who have a lot of money to spare (or both together). It is good to ask the questions necessary to make distinctions between the two.
I am usually interested in the hobbies, as these people sometimes are paving the way for many of us to later follow: lithium battery use for example and more recently the ongoing efforts at electric drive and all electric galleys. There is always something learned, even in failure or frustration.
I do have a problem when these projects are flogged as 1. More “do-able” and “bullet-proof” than they actually are, or 2. When they are portrayed as “essential” to the running of the boat, especially when that “essential” is linked to safety. Commercial companies are often tempted by this latter portrayal.
I have found that, when I make the comment that a described project is more in the realm of a hobby than an important element in running the boat: those who have spent countless hours making their project work take umbrage at their efforts being characterized thus.
So, I am right with you on nailing down the essentials first: then I would include those activities that contribute to the safe running of the boat that are so often neglected by cruisers: crew-overboard drills and fire and flooding drills come quickly to mind.
And more recently, I have been reminded about how remiss many skippers are at ensuring that their crew/partners know how to run the boat: too many skippers do all the radio work, all the driving of the boat/dinghy, all the navigation, all the radar work, etc. It is too easy for many to fall into the skipper/passenger balance rather than do the work necessary for more of a partnership.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy