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Sooner or later (usually sooner) we all ask ourselves this universally difficult question. For most of us it crops up even before we purchase our proud new vessel. Certainly if not then, it will be as soon as we bring something aboard. It could be as simple as groceries, but I'm thinking more in terms of gear and equipment. Do we really need it? Of course we do.

Sailboats are a compromise. Catamarans are the maximum compromise. In order to have something, usually we must do without something else. Comparing monohulls of the same length, cats have more interior space, but there is a weight factor that is more crucial to cats than dogs. Oops, I mean monohulls. We might be considering a generator, a watermaker or a scuba compressor. Maybe its a deep freezer, a washer-dryer, or an extra spinnaker. Where will we put it?

First of all we must consider safety. Will the extra weight put the vessel in jeopardy? Perhaps if we were to put the new freezer in the forward part of one hull the boat might tend to bury its bow in the wave in front of us while screaming downwind in large following seas causing us to pitchpole and ruin a perfectly good spinnaker run. This would be a safety issue. If we were to put this same freezer (loaded with prime cuts, ice cream and pre-formed pizza dough) in the aft part of the other hull, we would bog down and lose speed when motoring. This is a performance issue. We must carefully consider the value of every item of size that we carry. If we are absolutely sure that we must have it, and our weight is not already critical to safety, but more weight will affect performance. Something must go.

Take my case for example. In the last issue I introduced myself and mentioned that I live aboard and maintain a Lagoon 57. Fortunately we already have all of the items listed above onboard. We have a large boat so for us weight related safety is not an issue - yet. Performance is. If we continue with our decadent lifestyle and continue to add "stuff' our performance will assuredly be affected. But we need more. We need an ice cream maker. We had an ice cream maker on our previous boat (60' cat) and it still sits in my garage. It is a 120vac unit approximately 22x14x16 inches and weighs 44 lbs. As a compromise we have decided to remove our washer/dryer. Although this seems a great sacrifice we never use it as it consumes too much water and the dryer uses "condensation" to dry (I'm not making this up) so our towels are always wet.

Now that the W/D is gone we realize that its space is not conducive to placement of our ice cream maker since the space is in the port hull and galley in the starboard. I'm certainly not going to carry it across the boat each time it needs to be cleaned. I already have lower back problems. Instead we've decided to move our compact discs (300+) into that area and buy lots more towels to store there too as we need dry ones. The only question that remains is where to put the ice cream machine? See ya next time.

Capt. Bill

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