Purser’s Principles

Like the laws of physics, the universe imposes rules about sailboats

Kingston, Lake Ontario, June 2019

Pleasure paradox

The more time you spend maintaining a boat, the more time you have to sail it uninterrupted by failure. But the more you maintain a boat, the less time you can spend sailing.

Revenge of the pleasure paradox

Lock it up for zero maintenance

A boat will last forever if you keep it away from water and sun.

Sailor’s dozen

Ask 12 sailors for advice and you get 13 opinions. All of them are wrong.

Contagious idiocy

The previous owner of your boat was clearly an idiot. You are the future previous owner of your boat.

Ice box drains don’t need pumps

Convenience is proportional the cost of maintenance, repair, and replacement. Corollary: The most reliable, least expensive, most inconvenient part on your boat is the one you don’t have.

Cupid aims at your wallet

Cupid is a cruel sailor

It’s cheaper to fall in love with a boat after you buy it. Corollary: falling in love at first sight is expensive.

Gold is denser than water

The speed at which gear sinks when (not if) it falls overboard is proportional to its price. Corollary: Buy inexpensive gear, buy spares, or spend more for floating gear.

Sail it, don’t break it

There are two ways to use a part on your boat: the way for which it was intended, and the way in which it will fail. Corollary: The failure will surprise you because you are using the gear in a way that its designers and builders did not anticipate.

One sailor’s electric cup holder is another sailor’s stubbed toe

A boat fitted for daysailing is uncomfortable for offshore sailing. A boat fitted for offshore sailing is uncomfortable for daysailing.

No such thing as a free boat

Given two boats for sale of the same model and year, the more expensive boat costs less. The boat with the higher price is closer to you and requires less repair. The cheaper boat is further from you and needs more repair.

Filling the wrong hole

There are two steps to solving a problem: first understand the problem, then fix it. The order of these steps is important. It’s good to repair a hole. It’s best to repair the hole that’s sinking your boat.

At your service

Humbly yours,
Supreme Purser