John Fletcher is angry. Mutiny on the Multihull !

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My Planet For A Coffee!!

"Stop the computers, cut the lights, 
Quieten the microwave and the radar.
It is your north, your south, your east and west,
Your week’s cruising, your Sunday sail,
You think that electricity will go on forever but you are wrong."


These few lines, inspired by the wonderful poem by  Wystan Hugh Auden cannot hide my anger! I have had enough of watching us become prisoners in the vicious circle of unbridled modernism. What could be more annoying than to watch us creating more need for things once our desire for others has been sated.    Let me explain. The arrival of LED lightbulbs, whether for navigating lights or for interior lighting, and the progress made with automatic pilots should have freed us up from any energy constraints. However, all we do is to look for other, new ways to exponentially increase our consumption. Perhaps we should put a 12 inch color plotter at each helm station, another by the chart table, and why not a fourth one in the owner’s cabin!  Computers running 24/24, the coffee machine, a washing machine, a dishwasher, air conditioning like in a Miami hotel, a desalinator so that we can shower “just like at home”, when there are plenty of good ecological soaps, adapted to the sea water which surrounds us. Then there’s the radar, plug sockets everywhere for our ‘phones, MP3 players, watches, iPads, laptops, satellite TV with surround sound for the kids because the great spectacle that is the sea, the sun, the waves, the clouds, the bow cutting through the water, the dolphins, the fishing, the stars, the sails, the coastline, the landmarks, the lighthouses, the other boats, the cargo ships and the birds aren’t enough for your little cherubs ; they need to watch the latest episode of Game Of Thrones in HD! Stop! I can’t take any more! My hulls are full!     

Hold on though. Don’t accuse me of just harking back to the past and  affirming that “In my day it was better…!”  On the contrary. Here’s to green energies. Solar panels everywhere, and why not a wind turbine if our route is a particularly windy one and if it can be installed away from any little hands that might get too close. And a big yes for the hydrogenerator, which from a speed of 8 knots can produce more energy than the other sources combined. What’s more, having been raised in the school of ocean racing, I know that its impact upon speed is negligible. And finally, a big hello to lithium batteries. At least when their price will be a tad more reasonable, and given the incredible development that is taking place in all of the domains, that shouldn’t be too far away. We’re on the right track. We will benefit in terms of weight and volume… as long as we don’t take advantage of them to increase our energy capacity. But what really makes my blood boil like an old, overused battery, is when I see some multihulls which have been transformed into floating nuclear power stations! To follow the logic which we all seem to follow like ...

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