Why did I buy that?

I was just sat here watching the swans swimming by under an azure French sky, and thought that it was about time for a ‘boaty’ post.

Those of you who prefer pretty pictures of spectacular scenery and gorgeous meals may want to look away now (or skip to the end). But hopefully a few will be titillated enough to see what I feel are a couple of the things that I shouldn’t have bought and put on Anticus.

Simrad GO 12 XSE

Here we go -I feel like I should be dressed in a horse-hair coat and be self-flagellating with an oar wrapped in barbed wire. I know this will earn me a few “I told you so” moments from Nicola, but hey-ho, in the interests of journalistic and Blog integrity, it is a tale, I fear, that must be told. If you can bare to share my shame and despair, then read on – but please, I implore, think only a little less of me.

So, the picture above is of the 12 inch display screen for our boat navigation and engine instrument display. It is made by SIMRAD, a world renowned company, and I have to say, a lovely bit of kit. Recommended retail price today is somewhere just north of £2000. I upgraded to this size from a smaller screen offered by our boat builders Pipers, and for good measure spent an extra few hundred quid on Navionics navigation software. I have a confession here readers, I have a few vices; gadgets, whiskey, curry, gadgets – oh and gadgets. Hence the fact I was more than happy to spruce up the helm position on the boat.

Here is the first problem – the Navionics display, as you can see above, on the inland waterways of France is worse than useless – not sure Christopher Columbus would have seen the detail on my screen as any sort of improvement from his hand drawn charts.

In comparison my other bit of navigation software, PCNavigo, here on my helm laptop is superb, in ease of use, detail, and accuracy – as by the way is the item in the following picture – a chart book (which unlike the one in this picture, doesn’t always come with a shopping list)!

As a comparison, the all up cost of SIMRAD and Navionics – around £2500; laptop and PCNavigo – around £500; chart book £19.99.

On a daily basis I use the laptop and PCNavigo for planning and also AIS information of other boats, the chart book for a quick idea about where we will be stopping and as a backup for the laptop, and the SIMRAD setup as an instrument panel!

This now qualifies as the most expensive rudder/depth gauge, clock, and speedometer ever installed on a boat! If I had bought all these as separated instruments like the ones below the screen I would have saved £2300.

So with all this in mind – I can officially declare the SIMRAD and Navionics gubbins to be the biggest waste of money on the boat.

Next I come to the dinghy, complete with electric outboard motor.

There is a saying amongst boat owners that B O A T actually means – Bring On Another Thousand.

Guess what, the dinghy was £1000 and the electric motor was (insert your own drum roll here) another £1000. And here it is, in all its glory:

Yep, you’ve probably hit on the theme to this narrative, it is tucked away in a long-forgotten corner of the engine room, unloved and unused (probably for a year). The intentions were good – moor up in a quiet spot, hop on the dinghy into town for a nice curry and a beer – see all my vices covered; curry, beer and gadget.

However, even with an electric pump it is a good half an hour to get the dinghy ready to sail, and then the comfort of the journey – especially on the way back from a hearty graze and sluice leaves much to be desired.

So, without hesitation, I declare the dinghy (and electric outboard) to be the second most poor buy on the boat.

There are, dear reader, probably many more on here, but there are only so many “I told you so’s” a man can take without throwing himself off the yardarm or walking the plank.

Anyway – as a small token of the esteem in which I hold you all, and as some sort of reward for sticking at this non-travelogue of a post – here are some pretty pictures of this mornings sunrise.

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