Welcome to the galley aboard Briney Bug. Left side, aft to fore: diesel stove, metal counter top to set hot pans on, counter space with storage boxes above. Front, left to right: double sink with self-draining dish storage racks above and access to the chain locker between. Right side, fore to aft: white box is gravity-drained kerosene tank, a hole in the counter to the waste can, counter space with storage boxes above, ice box with chart storage above. Below counter, all around the U-shaped galley is storage shelves and a set of drawers.
Simplicity and self-sufficiency seem to rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
Our philosophy is to keep everything simple and dependable; the third key to low-cost cruising. Keeping it simple allows us more time to play and cruise, since we spend less time on maintenance and repairs, or working to earn money so we can cruise.
Briney Bug's electrical system consists of a single, large amp-capacity battery which only has two jobs: start the engine and power the compass light.
So that we can easily evaluate the battery's state of health, we installed a conventional flooded battery. A flooded battery allows each cell's specific gravity and water level to be checked, and along with checking the battery's overall voltage, periodic load testing completes the battery's evaluation.
When done regularly, these tests will reveal signs that the battery is failing, enabling us to replace it before it leaves us stranded. If the battery should fail us, we can fall back on the sail-assist rig, which is completely independent of the engine, its battery and its fuel supply.
With the exception of our compass light, all other lighting is with kerosene lamps, including the navigational lights (which can be deployed without having to leave the pilot house). We burn either kerosene, paint thinner or jet fuel in the lamps, whichever is available and cheapest. For reading, if our one-inch wick lamps are insufficient, our Aladdin lamp is lit, which gives off the equivalent light of a 60-watt light bulb.
To see into dark areas, we have flashlights located throughout the boat. Our AM/FM and shortwave radios also use dry cell batteries. All this allows us to dispense with that nagging chore of having to ask one another to turn off a light, so as not to deplete our battery bank.
Foot and hand pumps move water and a sink spray-nozzle attached to a pump-up garden sprayer gives us pressure showers. We wash dishes, using soap in cold water and have done so safely for more than 10 years; so our hot water needs are minimal. Any hot water required is easily heated on the stove. Our dishes are kept in a self-draining storage rack, which eliminates handling dishes twice and saves space.
Other gear includes several big anchors (and the necessary paraphernalia to deploy all of them at the same time, if needed), sink, stove, ice box, compass, head, heater, charts, pencils, erasers, parallel rules, dividers, canister horns, bearing compass, binoculars, clock, barometer, safety equipment, hand held GPS, lead line and sextant. We also have a pencil sharpener, and for those of you who know us and are curious, yes, it is hand-cranked.
To monitor speed, we have a taffrail log, but once we established our various speed settings and marked the throttle housing for them, we have not since used it.
We strive to keep all systems independent of one another. It's difficult enough when something fails, but the difficulties grow exponentially when interdependent systems go down.
This is the White Beast. To the left is a pressure kerosene heater and behind the Beast is storage with two folding chairs in residence. The foot of our 5x7 foot bed is to the far left. Yes, the head is not enclosed.
We are big believers in having the necessary reference books and materials on board. Few of us know it all, especially us, so we want to be able to find information that is needed, when needed; this we just can't do it if the information ain't there.
The appearance that we depend on ourselves is correct. We strive to develop our confidence in our abilities with what many refer to as older “traditional” skills, rather than “outsourcing” the responsibility to costlier, higher tech equipment, which is operated by others. Besides, what else is there to do while on watch than to hone these skills?
We keep it simple because its dependable, it's usually cheaper, and per chance should something break, it is usually easy to return it to some form of working order during a passage. These are all important considerations once easy access to chandleries, repair parts and repair shops are left behind, and are even more important if wanting to cruise as safely, but inexpensively as possible.
—Rudy and Jill Sechez
This is a picture of one of the two storage shelves that are located in the aft sleeping cabin. These are duplicates of the shelves that Rudy and Jill built in their previous boat. The concept is ventilation. Everything is open or gaped, especially the beds or bases of the shelving. In 12 years of Florida's heat and humidity, there has never been a mildew problem. And nothing has fallen out of them, either, no matter how rough a passage.
Here’s how the Briney Bug story is presented:
What does Briney Bug look like?
What about hull design?
What is the secret to engine dependability?
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
What about diesel engines?
How do you contend with boat motion?
Why do you have a sailing rig?
What’s with the big rudder?
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Simplicity and self-sufficiency rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
How does one go about finding the right boat?
How much did Briney Bug cost?
Editor’s note: Rudy and Jill Sechez, when they are not away cruising, live aboard Briney Bug in Port St. Joe, Florida, and provide boat and yacht repair services. They can be reached at 850-832-7748 or via e-mail by clicking here.