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Monday, May 17, 2010

Step #5 - Preparation - Mmmmmm...Food!

What to eat?  What to eat???  How often do you think about that after a long day at work, or a great day of play... what's in the cupboard?  Go out? Order in?  Hmmmm...  Whatever you decide it is relatively easy to do whatever you decide... or is it?

Heading off over the horizon requires careful planning and many days of purchasing and storing precious foodstuffs so that we will eventually be able to ask those questions and actually have an answer!

First how does one decide what one needs to take?  Our prime source?  Our cruising gurus Lin and Larry Pardey of course!  Lin is a very prolific writer and also a very enthusiastic and much experienced galley slave (whoops I mean chef) and her book The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew is undoubtedly the cooking bible for serious long distance cruisers.  In the book Lin talks about how she and Larry kept track of everything they used for six months before they were going on a long voyage. From experience they knew that they would be able to store and eat fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables for at least the first couple of weeks (and she goes into detail about how best to store and protect fresh produce... ) after that she knows they will need to resort to canned and dry foods.  To test what would be successful they started the custom of "Can Night".  She writes "At least one night a week, we ate a meal prepared from canned or packaged goods such as we might have had left after a week or two at sea." (The Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew, p. 40).

What a brilliant idea!!  So Bill and I have decided to begin our own version of the same concept only ours is called "Pardey Night" (if you say it fast enough it sounds like we're going to have a really fun night at least one night a week... pardey night...pardy night... PARTY NIGHT!!).
 We will try out some of Lin's recipes, document which ones we really like and then I will add the ingredients to our ever growing provisioning list.

Of course, you know Bill - my enthusiastic co-captain has decided he is going to perfect the art of bread-making by the time we set sail and to that end he has already used Lin's recipe a couple of times and both times his bread was scrumptious!  I am furious with myself that I did not take a photo of his last culinary masterpiece...oh well, I know that I will have many more opportunities to do that before June 1, 2011 rolls around and I'll post them for you.  Until then here's the recipe:

Lin Pardey's Basic Bread Recipe

In large salad bowl, put

2/3 cup saltwater
1 1/3 cups freshwater 


2 cups freshwater
2 tsp. salt

(NB - water should be between 90 and 100 degrees F, baby-bath temperature.  If you put your bare wrist in it the water should feel comfortable.  Too hot and it will kill your yeast;  too cool and the yeast will work too slowly.)


2 heaping tsp. (or 2 packets) dry yeast
Stir until yeast dissolves


1/4 cup sugar ( honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar can be substituted)
5 or 6 cups flour

Stir the flour with a spoon until the mixture is too stiff to stir, then start working in the last cups of flour with your hands, adding more flour until the dough stops clinging to your hands.  There is no exact measurement on the four because humidity affects the amount you'll use.  It's difficult to work in too much flour; just keep adding it until the dough feels smooth and doesn't stick to a clean finger when you press it firmly.

At this stage, it will appear smooth and feel almost satiny.  This usually takes 2 or 3 minutes.  If you want to knead your bread, do it now.  But if your are slightly lazy like Lin (yeah right!!) you won't!  Form the dough into a ball in the middle of the bowl, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and put it in a warm, dry place to rise.  The engine room - right after you've been running the generator- is great.  Or if you are engineless, like the Pardeys, a sunny spot that is out of the wind works well.  You need any temperature between 80 and 110 degrees F at this stage.  If you are in a cool climate, turn on your oven for 3 minutes.  Turn it off and let your dough rise in the oven.

In 30 minutes check the dough.  If it hasn't started growing, it is in too cool a location.  If it's starting to get a crust, it's too warm.  In 40 to 45 minutes, the dough should be about double in size.

When it has doubled, you can punch it down (yes, hit it with your fist four or five times) and let it rise again to get a smoother-textured loaf.  Or, if you have it scheduled for a meal and don't feel like waiting, grease some bread pans pre-heated oven will tend to produce a more evenly browned loaf.)  Turn the bread pans at least once during the process to ensure an even brown colour.  If your oven doesn't control perfectly, don't worry; the bread may bake faster or more slowly, but it is quite forgiving.  To be sure it's done, rap it with a knuckle.  If it sounds hollow, it's ready.

Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool five or six minutes.  Then remove the loaves from the pans and rest them on their sides.  Or set the loaves on a cake rack so the steam escapes from the bottom.

Don't try to cut the loaf for at least 15 minutes.  Not only will it burn your fingers, it will ball up around your knife.  This recipe gives you a crusty loaf.  The more you knead it, the less crusty it will be.

There are endless variations on this recipe...

For variety, add one of the following:

1 cup wheat germ
1 cup rye flour
1 cup granola
1 cup flour
1 cup dried potato flakes
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup raisins and 2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup grated or chunked cheese
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
2 tsp. garlic powder,, 2 tsp. sage, 2 tsp. oregano


1 cup fruit juice for 1 cup water

instead of making a loaf, make a dozen individual rolls; they bake in 12 to 15 minutes.  

Divide the dough into three pieces and roll out each piece into a long worm like you did in play school when you made clay pots.  Then braid the pieces and let them rise.  Just before you bake the raided loaf, brush each lump with the white of an egg.  (I use my fingers for this job, rubbing the egg white lightly over the loaf.)  The egg white will add a nice gloss to the top of the loaf.

For a real treat, take a third of the dough after it has risen once.  Put it on a oiled cookie sheet and press it out to form an oval about 12 inches wide, and 18inches long.  With a knife, spread a thin layer of butter over the oval.  Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and raisins, or nuts and bake as for a normal loaf then serve at teatime.  

To tide you over before I get a photo of Bill's culinary  masterpiece here's a photo of some cinnamon buns that I made from this same recipe:

 (As you can see I drizzled some gooey home made caramel sauce over the top... but that is for another blog!)

You can also use the same dough, but instead of the sweet filling, make a savory filling with chopped meat, onions, garlic, green peppers, and seasonings.

And, finally, this dough makes a great pizza base!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Step #4 - Preparations - Sailing Playlist!

There is nothing - absolutely nothing -
half so much worth doing
as simply messing about in boats. 
- Kenneth Grahame

One may not think that a crucial part of preparing to "sail over the horizon" would include preparing a playlist of songs to accompany 'messing about in our boat'... but we love our music and finding just the right music to listen to while... lounging in the cockpit... or swabbing the decks...or setting crab traps or fishing lines... or... SAILING!...

...requires serious and constant searching.  So if you have some suggestions please post them in comments for us and we will add them to our playlist :-)

So far we have included:

Top of the list - Jimmy Buffet (of course!!)... all songs - but definitely:

Jimmy Buffett - Margaritaville
Jimmy Buffett - Lovely Cruise
Jimmy Buffett - Take It Back
Jimmy Buffett - changes in latitudes
Jimmy Buffett - Fins
Jimmy Buffett - Landfall
Jimmy Buffett - Mother ocean
Jimmy Buffett - One particular harbor
Jimmy Buffett - Pirate
Jimmy Buffett - Sea of heartbreak
Jimmy Buffett - Landfall
Jimmy Buffett - Boats to Build
Jimmy Buffett - Sea of Heartbreak
Jimmy Buffett - Son of a Son of a Sailor
Jimmy Buffett - Boats To Build (with Alan Jackson)
Jimmy Buffett - One Particular Harbor
Jimmy Buffett - The Captain and the Kid
Jimmy Buffett - Lovely Cruise
Jimmy Buffett - Mother Ocean


Beach Boys - Kokomo
Beach Boys - Sail On Sailor
Beach Boys - Sloop John B
Beca Boys - Sail on Sailor
Billie Holiday - A Sailboat in the Moonlight

Bob Dylan-  Shelter from the Storm
Bobbie Darin - Beyond the Sea
Burl Ives - Away Rio
Burl Ives- Leave her Johnny leave her
Burl Ives- What do you do with a drunken sailor

and don't forget...

Cat Steven - Longer Boats
Cat Stevens - Angel Sea
Cat Stevens- The Wind

Chris De Burgh - Sailing Away

Commodores - Sail On

CSN - Shadow Captain

CSN - Southern Cross

CSN&Y - Lee Shore

David Gray - Sail Away

Frank Sinatra - Summer Wind

Gordon Lightfoot - Ghosts of Cape Horn
Gordon Lightfoot - In the Lee of Christian Island
Gordon Lightfoot — Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald

We both adore Great Big Sea... great energy!

Great Big Sea - A Boat like Gideon Brown's
Great Big Sea - Wave over Wave
Great Big Sea - Captain Kidd
Great Big Sea - Lukey
Great Big Sea - When I'm Up I Can't Get Down
Great Big Sea - The Night Pat Murphy Died

Great Big Sea - Donkey Riding - this is a fun one:-)

Harry Belefonte- Day Oh (Banana Boat song)
Harry Belefonte- Jamaca Farewell

Irish Rovers - Drunken Sailor

Joan Baez—Spanish Boots
Joe Cocker- Sail Away

Queen - Sail Away Sweet Sister

Rankin Family - Fare Thee Well Love

Rod Stewart - Sailing

Roger Whittaker - The Last Farewell

Stan Rogers -  Flowers of Bermuda
Stan Rogers - Fogarty's Cove
Stan Rogers - The Bluenose

Stan Rogers - The Queen of the Grand Banks' Schooners Rare footage of the original Bluenose schooner, racing against her Gloucester rival, the Gertrude L. Thibault, set to Stan Roger's inspiring music and voice.  Hats off to two great Canadian icons.

Stan Rogers - White Squall
Stan Rogers - Northwest Passage
Stan Rogers - Mary Ellen Carter

Stan Rogers - (I found this old video clip of Stan and the boys having a Kitchen Party singing... you guessed it...

Barrett's Privateers

Stan Rogers -Make and Break Harbor
Stan Rogers,-  Sailing Down to Ol' Maui

Sting - Valaparaiso
Sting - Why Should I Cry for You?
Sting -  The Wild Wild Sea

Styx - Come Sail Away (here's an old video of their performance of the song!)

Van Halen - Feels So Good
Van Morrison - Into the Mystic
Van Morrison - Moondance

and to end this blog on a serious hauntingly beautiful (musical) note from Crosby, Stills and Nash

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Preparations - Step #3 - Books, books and more books!

This morning Bill was able to start work a little bit later so he spent his time poring over our little book Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen: Revised Edition by Mary Blewitt (when she says yachtsmen she says it in the most neutral-gender way)...first written in 1964 and this edition is 1995.

Before Bill left for work he marked the pages that he thought would be really helpful for me to read today (read -  if you don't get going on this we will be out on the open ocean and you will still be saying I really am going to study that book and learn how to take fixes).  I am setting my goal to read (and understand!!) those pages by the end of day.  I fell in love with this little book - or at least the concept of it-  when I read in her Preface "I have written for beginners - or for those who have forgotten all they know -and I have presumed them to be as ignorant and confused as I was when I began."  My kind of expert... making no assumptions of any knowledge at all on the part of the reader!!  Yes!!  I really can do this!

This book is packed full of very understandable explanations and examples for one to work through at your leisure!  As Bill likes to say this allows for his preferred mode of learning that of ... spreading your study over time and in different ways his words "distributed learning".  (This is not the same phrase that is popular in current educational jargon meaning 'learning online' definitely not Bill's favourite mode of learning although he seems to handle both with ease!). I prefer to read a little, do a little, watch a little, and talk about it all a lot!

Since we have started this little project of preparing for our 'Big Cruise' I would say we now own a most extensive library of books (and DVDs) that relate... sometimes in the smallest of ways... to sailing.... and it continues to grow by the day (I believe we are now waiting for another 6 books to arrive in the mail!  Don't you just love Amazon???)  Some of them, like Mary's little book, are very technical packed full of valuable information that we read, write in the margins, fold over the corners (I know, I know, as I just heard the collective intake of breath in shock... we do mark up our books!) and study in great depth.  Others are both historical and present day novels and yet others are reference books that are to be dipped into at moments of need.  Then there are those that are a wee bit more philosophical, meant to inform and even inspire sailors of all shapes, sizes and knowledge such as my favourite... written by a woman who really understands me!!   

It’s Your Boat Too:  A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water by Suzanne Geisemann

is a must read for any woman who is thinking about and might be really, really uncertain, a little bit scared, and overwhelmed with the concept of spending months at a time in a relatively small, hopefully watertight, floating home...  Suzanne Geisemann, the author, writes in a voice that is not only reassuring, but inspiring!!  She talks about having a mind-set that will give you strength and confidence in really becoming a successful sailor, co-captain and last and certainly not least highly competent off shore cruiser!  

Yes!  I know - all this just from reading a book???  Really, you have to read it to believe it!  I sat up and read late into the night and most of the next day getting more and more excited about my possibilities for my success in this whole wonderful project!  Okay, enough gushing... but really it is a great book!

Now, throughout this blog I will mention the latest books or videos that we have discovered or are re-reading/watching... since I don't want this entry to be a comprehensive, extensive annotated bibliography (although I will create one to eventually have available for those of you who would like to see what our library really looks like - and you might even want to read a few yourself!).  

But before I leave this topic for today I must mention our cruising gurus... Lin and Larry Pardey (click on their names and you will see their website)  We have all of their books and DVDs and we not only voraciously read them as soon as a new one arrives we are constantly re-reading the ones we already have.  This couple has been cruising around the world full time since the early 70's (What were you doing in the early 70's??  I was heading out for my first big adventure in New Zealand where I first learned to sail!!).  They believe in the concept of "small is better" and to that end for many years they owned and sailed their self-built 24′4″ cutter Seraffyn until they built a bit larger boat Talesin which they still own and sail in their homeport in New Zealand (hey, remember this is our ultimate destination for this little trip of ours... in a later blog I will outline in detail our intended route).  Here's a little video introduction to this incredible couple :

Well, I think I better get reading Mary's little book so that by the end of the day I will be able to talk navigation stuff with Bill when he gets home ... won't he be surprised :-)

Well, must go for now and..."talk to you when I talk to you"... (in the favourite bidding farewell words of my sister Carole :-)


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Preparations - Step #2

Ok... now that we purchased the boat of our (read - Bill's) dreams... we need to get to know her.  Even though there may be many boats like ours (we have hull # 231) each one has its own delightful idiosyncracies.

Now we needed to sail, sail and more sail in all kinds of conditions...

1) Light airs - in the Quadra May Day Race - this was a view from our deck to the three boats in front of us.  Racing really makes your learning curve steepen (at least it did mine!).

2) Moderate winds -  while sailing down to Port Townsend to have our new sails 'bent on'...

3)  Really light airs (aka 'can we really sail in these conditions?') -

4) Heavy winds and seas - during our trip back from Port Townsend in late March and early April (we were sailing in the northern part of the Georgia Strait while hurricane force winds created havoc)... hard to capture on film!

Of course this part of our preparation will be ongoing!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beginning our preparations... Intros and Step #1

Cathy (aka Catherine)

Bill (aka William)

I've been meaning to start this blog for a few months (just ask Bill, my dear hubby, who keeps saying "Why don't you set yourself a deadline" which means "Stop procrastinating and Just Do It [apologies to Nike]"). Well, I am now officially - ... Just Doing It!! Yay!! No more procrastination!

First things first... Introductions:

Bill, or William, Norrie (see photo above as I still have to figure out how to embed the photos exactly where I want them!)...

... passionate sailor, anesthesiologist, mountain climber (has climbed over 50 11,000+ ft. mountains in the Canadian Rockies and elsewhere in the world, including Bolivia and New Zealand!), gardener, reader and music lover including playing classical guitar (he will deny that he plays if you ask him to play a tune but he really is very good!)...

Cathy or Catherine Norrie...

...retired teacher-librarian - passionate about getting kids and books together (so still available for contract work in school libraries!); sailor (on a steep learning curve - Bill's a wonderful sailing instructor!), chef, gardener, writer, reader and music lover (especially loves to listen to Bill play his classical guitar!)...

I guess I should provide a bit of explanation for this blog and why I am starting it now... Bill has been a sailor/racer for many years and was even part owner of a sailing racer (a 38' C&C)for a number of years. His dream always has been to "sail over the horizon" in his own boat. When I became a permanent fixture in his life and he shared this dream with me I said "Well, let's do it - we are definitely not getting any younger!!" Now you have to know Bill to understand that when he hears encouragement like this he really gets into gear. The long and the short of it is that Bill and Cathy (i.e. William and Catherine) are now taking a 6 month leave of absence starting June 1, 2011 to "sail over the horizon" in their own boat!

We have been in the process of preparation ever since we made this decision (which was during fall of 2008)...