"If it can stop working it probably will."

To compensate for this, use defensive design by making systems simple and independent of each other. This is especially important for vital functions such as steering, compass, engine controls, fire, bilge and distress equipment. Engines and generators can be independent but are now irretrievably complicated. Also see below.


"Being gentle with equipment, by understanding how it works and avoiding abrupt actions that cause unnecessary wear."

Gentleness can be applied to the driving of a boat (manoeuvre with slow gear and thruster changes), using davits and windlass, engine starting/stopping and loading, the closing of doors and hatches, etc.


"It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

or Norman's Law which also adds "it always costs more...."

These two are especially useful for project managers.


"If you have it you will not need it, and vice versa."

I apply this effect to the carrying of spares aboard, and it seems to work. My only explanation is that someone who plans ahead with spares is also likely to plan ahead in general, including preventative maintenance.



Lazarette a hospital for persons with infectious diseases, especially leprosy (from Italian lazaretto, from lazaro = thief)
America name given in the honor of the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (Americus Vespucius in Latin, 1454-1512), who explored both the north and south american continents
Europe probably from ancient Phoenician Ereb, meaning sunset
Asia probably from ancient Phoenician Asu, meaning sunrise
Atlantic from the nearby Atlas Mountains, in northwestern Africa
Antilles the islands opposite Europe (from: anti = opposite or across + iles = islands)
Starboard from Norse styrbord: the side with the steering oar, from styra (to steer) + bord (side of vessel)
Port the side of a vessel that could be docked in port, as it did not have a steering oar
Canary Islands so named for the numerous wild dogs (latin: canis), or possibly the seals (canis marinus)
Cape Verde Islands named after Cabo Verde in Senegal, being the first green (verde) headland (cabo) seen by early Portuguese explorers sailing south along west Africa (Morocco and Mauritania)
Mayonnaise from Spanish salsa mahonesa: 'sauce from Mahon' (a town on Menorca, Spain)
Windlass from old Norse vindass, from vinda (to wind) + ass (pole). Not to be confused with windless, a nice day for the beach.
Dead reckoning from ‘deduced reckoning’
Dilemma Why are the waves so much higher with 'wind against tide'?


© Leo Lindstrand. All rights reserved.