Sailors secretsOnce the brain storming was over, we stood back to admire our wall of  preparation and purchase needs, but I was uneasy, sure that we have forgotten things.  I wanted to tap a bit of outside expertise to fill in the gaps before I translated the hot pink wall art into a spread sheet to create a timeline and assignments for all the tasks. It’s a good excuse to do what I love when I’m passionate about something — hunt for insights and information.  Like baking a cake, you need to shift the flour before making final measurements.  I call it “teasing out the refinements”.

Some months ago during my wanderings through emails from Practical Sailor, Cruising World and Sail magazines, I procured, among a stack of other books, the book Sailor’s Secrets by Michael Badham and Robby Robinson. Now was a perfect time to see what it contained and, to my reading pleasure, it is full of ideas and techniques from an array of coastal and off shore sailboat cruisers and racers, some making very good sense and some making me laugh, saying never in my life time.  The chapters were appropriate — Keep it Simple, Sweetheart (actually we’re not doing that due to the fact that we want a sizable place to handout in, engine power, electricity, refrigeration and real plumbing and navigation aides), Treat Your Boat Right (like painting the house and mending fences, it’s full of maintenance do’s and don’ts required to keep all shipshape), Stay in Power (advice on sails, engines and electronics), Enjoy Life Afloat (practical advice for live aboard life), Study the Weather (that proves sailing is all about weather which you can never really escape), Handle Heavy Weather (enough stories to make you think twice about crossing any large body of water even if the sun is shining), Know Where You Are (navigation tips that we will follow), and Save Yourself and Be Safe (chapters that drive home the importance of not being foolish and the importance of procedures and practice).  In the end, I added at least two dozen more Post-Its to our first cut of a preparation plan.