Saturday, March 26, 2011

Survivalism as a Hobby

Back when I went through SERE Level D (Survival Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) school in the Navy, I didn't pay that much attention to the survival part of the training, because we all had heard that the resistance part was what separated the men from the boys.

Now I'm looking into what it takes to survive in North America if we had to be totally self-reliant - no grocery store, water off, power off, bad guys prowling around looking to take your stuff. The issues and challenges are significant.

Planning: you have to plan ahead, and stockpile all kinds of stuff.

Weight: The stuff you need is heavy, and you may have to pack it and carry it with you.

Shelter: Again, you may have to carry your shelter.

Food: You can hunt, but you also need to carry freeze dried food or MRE's.

Weapons: They're heavy, ammunition more so.

Fitness: It's hard to walk over rough terrain carrying all your stuff.

Flee or stay: Might be better to try to tough it out in your house, but people may well attack you there to try to take your stuff.

Plenty has been written about how to survive when things go completely uncivilized and full bore crazy. This post isn't that.

The more I think about how to survive that kind of mess, the more I think I need one of these:

Fisher 34 Motor Sailor

This is a blue water capable brick shithouse of a sailboat with a large cargo carrying capacity, and a pilothouse to keep you out of the elements. It's safe and comfortable at sea in any weather. You can safely and confidently cross oceans in this boat, and many people have.

The ketch rig is good for shortening sail in a blow. This is not a speed demon, but making 5 knots under sail 24 hours a day for days on end gets you there, 125 NM a day.

So, as part of my survival hobby, I've thought about how this boat contributes to survivability.

Weight: All of a sudden, weight isn't such an issue. Want that big shotgun and 500 rounds? No problem. Bring books, too, all the ones you always meant to read. You'll have time for that now.

Shelter: A nice soft berth, and an indoor steering station. Never be wet or cold again.

Food: The V-berth can hold a year's worth of freeze-dried food for two, and the bilge an ungodly amount of canned goods. A decent watermaker will produce much more water than two to four people need every day. You can fish all day, underway, just by trailing a line and a lure astern, and probably catch a big fish a day.  Hell, pack some cases of wine aboard, why not?

Weapons: All you want. Big, dangerous ones. Lots of ammunition.

Fitness: Steering is easy. Getting sails up is easy. Fishing is easy. You'll be well-rested to boot.

Flee or stay: If you're on the boat, you've fled.

This boat needs some easy to make changes. Solar panels for electricity, A good life raft, materials to self rescue in case of rig or hull failure, as far as one wants to go down that road.

Bad Guys: 200 miles offshore, no bunch of bubbas in a bass boat with guns are going to come along to try to take your stuff. World navies might molest you, as might other blue water craft, but I think it's unlikely.


Cost: This is a fairly expensive boat, $50K-$200K depending on size (30 to 37 feet) and age/condition. All blue water boats cost a lot of money. Also hard to find in the US. Lots in Europe though.

Flight Decision: You probably have to leave before it gets really bad, or people will try to stop you and take your stuff. You don't want to have to win a firefight just to get offshore.

Here's one with a nice layout, very livable:

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