Friday, January 21, 2011
No End to Learning On-Board:
Cruising and sailing don’t even sound alike. What was Doug thinking? Ann and he owned a Cal 40 for a couple years in Sausalito in the era BK (Before Kids). Sails were raised as soon as the slip was aft. There was an anchor for stops. The engine briefly rumbled to slip back into the dock. Hook up power and water, and life goes on.
With cruising, not so. Life starts with “Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual” by Nigel Calder. School is now in for the day-sailor: Diesel mechanics (fix that fuel pump, bleed those lines, change those filters). At the bell go to the next class on electronics (replace the alternator, fix the regulator, rewire the running lights, wire the anchor light, hook up fans, replace windlass switch). At recess, you can visit the toilet “head”, but rebuild it 3 times first. Time is up, back to class – two electives: meteorology, and varnishing. Lunch time – great! This is just short of gathering and hunting – take all luggage and backpacks available. Gather the kids (sherpas). Take a bus or hoof it to town. Schlep parcels back and find places to wedge items on-board. Put perishables in refrigerator box starting at the core layer of the earth’s surface until you reach the mantel. Back to class: pick up manuals on water maker, wind generator, auto-pilot, radar, GPS plotting, Single Side band radio, inverter, and steering mechanics. At the end of the day, everyone’s favorite – P.E. Get on your back and fix leaks in the water hoses and replace the kitchen faucet. This is called P.E. (Plumbing Elective).
Then one day, what was imagined comes to life. The boat floats away from the slip. There is an island and a cove with a sandy beach. Your children find other children to romp with. There are hikes, snorkeling, beach bonfires, potlucks, steady progress through a novel, starry nights and grand vistas of mountains, hills, cliffs and cactus. You are “cruising”… and even at times, sailing.