Boat Design

Simple systems: It's about design, not quantity

What do we mean when we say a boat's systems are "simple"?

There's a temptation, at times, to say that simplicity is about cutting back. About leaving out whole systems to save on installation and maintenance dollars. I don't think that's really what it's about.

What we're really looking for when we say "simple" is, more often than not, elegance. Maintainability. Reliability. The least complex, least costly way to fill a stated specification. The ability for the captain to understand, and repair, every system on the boat.

Risk mitigation philosophies from the radiation world

Quite a few issues of safety, in the yachting world, come down to the preferences of the skipper and crew. There will never be universal agreement on how (or if) to use tethers, or on where a life raft should be kept, or on whether an extra EPIRB is a better investment than an AIS-B transponder upgrade.

We can, however, apply some general principles of risk analysis and risk mitigation at the design stage. The maritime world already has some ways of figuring this out, but for today, I think I'll shake things up a bit with some principles from a different field: ionizing radiation.

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