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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 :-)


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