Sailing Reads

I was thinking over the great sailing we had over the 4th of July Holiday and realized we had done the same thing for the last several years, in different places.  WE’RE in a different place now, but we’re still working toward the dream of leaving to Blue Water Cruise.  In order to do that, I’ve done a lot of reading.  I’ve republishing the story below because I’ve read these books and they all have an important lesson to each of you that needs it.  Take a gander and don’t be afraid to come back to me with questions on any of them.

https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/07/07/discount-shout-out/

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Book Review- The World’s Most Dangerous Places by Robert Young Pelton

I read an earlier addition to this book years ago, before I had been to any countries that I thought were truly dangerous and I couldn’t resist rereading it, as I’ve been to many of the places in the book.  Not sure how I ever got hold of it, but I was pretty surprised to see all the places in it that I had already been and never even had a whiff of danger, even in the most remote places.  Me and my family tend to get “off the beaten path” a bit and really don’t like to frequent tourist hangouts, so some of the book most likely applied to us.  As I got older, I started going to more countries described by the book, usually on “business trips”,,,and business was good in those days.

The World’s Most Dangerous Places by Robert Young Pelton is now in its 5th edition but mine is the 4th edition, published in 2000 with a total of 1007 pages.  It’s a pretty great value for $15.95,,,,and you can buy it from Amazon via the link above if you want some great reading on places you might go.  Keep in mind,,,,,the US is featured on page 927 and there’s some truly scary info and stats on US violence and LACK of regulations that might stop your trip to Disney,,,,if you can get into the USA .

Both me and the author are of the same mind about travel and the info in this book.  Dangerous means places where people will KILL you just for being who you are or because of your skin color.  Torture is bad and dangerous too.  The author openly says that this isn’t a travel guide and should not be used as a travel guide, it should be used as a survival guide if you HAVE to go to some of these countries.  There are places in the book I just would refuse to go to on vacation,,,,period.  It would be much different if my work sent me  and this is one of the reasons I bought this book so long ago,,,,,cause my work did send me and I wanted to know as much as possible about the area I was going to.  However, there’s also places in the book that are more benign and you should think about, cause they’re worth the trip.  Of the countries in the book, I’ve been to roughly half of them mentioned,,,,and only felt in danger in two of the countries in the book.  However, my version was written in 2000,,,,,by 2017 there’s a new world order and lots of places have been destabilized and changed since then.  Of the places accessible by boat, I would not recommend anyone go near the Horn of Africa area (pirates) or some places in Malaysia (pirates).  “I” however, would go to the US, Bosnia, Mexico, Greece, and Nicaragua,,,,,all mentioned and written about in the book.  I’ve already been to several of these countries and never felt the least bit worried or harassed but we ALWAYS avoided the tourist places and the Ugly American Syndrome.  There seems to be enough of that around,,,,please try to avoid it when traveling,,,,it’s not your country.

The author (Robert Young Pelton) has a pretty great website all about surviving in some of these countries and some of his adventures.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in places that have need of professionals on private “business trips” and thus has gained all of his experience that way, but he certainly has interesting connections in some really cool places.  If you’re going to sail to places like Mexico, East Timor, South America, the Philippines or Malaysia,,,,you might want to pick up the 5th edition and continue your research and education before you go by boat.  Lastly, Robert Young Pelton has written a number of other books you can find on Amazon, but they might not fit in an adventure travel/sailboat blog-

While I’m certainly not as experienced as Robert Young Pelton, I’ve been to over 30 countries and have a wealth of experience with adventure travel.  I’m excited to write about it and review books like this, so please keep reading and following for MORE. You can also check out our Pinterest site, just look for Boats, Beaches, Bars and Bikini’s and you’ll find us there-

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Born to Blog by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith

Born to Blog:  Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark W. Schaeffer and Stanford A. Smith is the last book I’ve finished reading and the third book about blogging I’ve read.  I’m not sure if it’s helping or not, but I want to do a quick book review on it anyways for you in case you want to pick it up and give it a try.  It’s in paperback and available online or in most major book stores.  The book is published by McGraw-Hill and in 2013.  I liked this book because at 165 pages and in paperback, it was easy to take along with me and allowed me to read it as needed, easy to throw in a backpack and use as a beach read.  The book goes from newbie to expert with good blogging information and short inspirational stories meant to illustrate the main points.  The unique nature of this particular book is that the last few chapters specifically focus on creating blogs for business purposes, starting a blog within an existing business or using a blog as part of a marketing program for particular products within a market segment.  This is particularly unique,,,as it illustrates that blogs have strong potential in the business world to act as vehicles of commerce, to explain a particular business in laymen terms and give the business the ability to interact with their customers directly, without that kitschy marketing feel.  I think once the blogging voice of the business develops that smarmy marketing feel, it’s time to look at perhaps retooling it to tell the customer in the most simple terms what the business or product is all about,,,to tell the story.  If you have never considered the potential of a blog in your business, this book might be a good start.  You can reach directly into customers computers with a blog without seeming like a marketing threat to explain and educate on niche markets and products, let them see how it’s used or explain your team’s approach to problem solving within a larger company.

As explained by this book, blogs can be used for lots of purposes:  maybe you’re a doctor and you want to explain by vaccinations are important or you’re a new microbrewery and you want to explain the reasons behind your new batch of beer or you want to get on here and do reviews of the boats you’ve been on (like me),,,there’s all sorts of ways to use this platform.  So, for $10 it’s an informative and quick read.

In the link below, you can check out the other two books I’ve read about blogging. https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/11/25/books-ive-read-to-become-a-better-blogger-black-friday/

 

Book Review: Flirting with Mermaids by John Kretschmer

I’m sitting here slightly hung over writing this post in blessed semi-silence,,,,with a little reggae turned on.   You see, I know that in just a few minutes chaos will be unleashed on me and my house once again,,,,when not two,,,but four children under the age of 10 will return from their afternoon hike.  They slept all night while the stupid adults stayed up waaay too late and welcomed 2017.  And they have a lot of energy! I love it- most of the time.

Here’s my attempt at yet another book review:  Flirting with Mermaids by Mr. John Kretschmer is the second book he’s written out of four.  My version is the soft cover with 204 pages total published by Sheridan House in 1999 with the paperback edition published in 2003.  I liked this book and I like Mr. Kretschmer’s writing style.  I’ve read this book and his next one twice, looking for points to learn, but I’ve also noticed his respectful tone toward the sea, sailboats (no matter the condition) and other things.  He’s respectful to his first wife in the book even though he knows the marriage is basically falling apart and is single when he meets his second wife and quickly marries her, buys a boat with her and has a child with her (covered in this book).  The book is written as a handful of sea stories he tells to his second wife on their first sailboat delivery together, piecing together some of his longest and most interesting sailboat deliveries throughout the world.  By the time he writes this second book, he’s already married to his second wife and is still doing yacht deliveries, something he won’t do forever as he continues to evolve through the years.  I would recommend this book as a great window into an unusual and challenging career path, but it’s honestly not as hard-core as Sailing a Serious Ocean.  What I’m saying is there may be more lessons learned on boats in the first and third books but lots more quirky stories in this one.  Once I started this book, I had trouble putting it down and loved reading it as much the second time as the first time.

This book is a great next chapter after his adventures in the first book, which I reviewed in this post:

https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/11/27/book-review-cape-horn-to-starboard-by-john-kretschmer/

I’ve already started reading the third book for a second time, Sailing a Serious Oceanand will post a review of that one too once I finish it.

AND,,,,if you’re still reading along with this post all the way down here, I’ve got a quick sea story and “thank you” of my own for you.  In my attempts to look at different sailboats and compare what might work for my family and others as a great bluewater boat, I decided to see if there were any of the boats that John Kretschmer himself sails.  He’s taken his boat lots of miles documented in the third book Sailing a Serious Ocean and so I did a quick search to see if there were any of the same model for sale anywhere.  What a shock when Yachtworld brought up a Kaufman and Ladd 47 in good condition,,,in San Diego with the same brokerage where my boat is for sale now.  I like Yachtfinders/Windseakers as a brokerage there in San Diego, but have not had a chance to look at the this particular boat yet.  I’ve spent some considerable time looking over the pictures of the boat and it’s definitely a sleek blue water cruiser, but I’m not sure I’m sold on the layout.  There are also no pictures of the engine or engine room and I fear the access is much the same as other boats I’ve looked at.  There are three staterooms, but the layout is a lot like the boat we have now, but since it’s a bigger boat, those staterooms might be larger than ours currently.  I do like the looks of the boat and it’s affordable, so it’s a consideration once Tulum IV sells.  On a whim in November, I emailed Mr. Kretschmer for his opinion on that particular boat, since he’s sailed the same model thousands of miles.  I didn’t think anything of it, never expecting a reply at all because he’s usually off sailing or expecting a canned auto-reply.  What a surprise when I checked email in the middle of December and had a nice written reply.  Mr. Kretschmer had actually looked over the boat online the night before and commented on the boat, saying he didn’t think it was a Kaufman and Ladd, but a Kaufman 47 just like his boat.  He commented on a few points he saw in the pictures, also saying he thought it looked like it was in good shape and would require less work than his when he brought to her life from the boatyard.  When I emailed back to thank him, he replied immediately, telling me to let him know if we bought it and that he would check out the blog.  Pretty cooool overall and a nice thing to do for a fledgling sailboat blogger like me.  I’m impressed, thank you Mr. Kretschmer.

For everyone following and anyone visiting, welcome to 2017!!! Thank you for reading this post and checking out this tiny but growing blog about sailing, cruising, adventure travel, family adventures and progress toward my OUPV and Captain’s License.  Our goal is to get to know you and let you get to know us BEFORE we start our several year sailboat cruise, then follow us on our cruising adventures,,,to continue when we get back to the US from our sailing.

Book Review- Cape Horn to Starboard by John Kretschmer

I just finished the first book that John Kretschmer wrote, Cape Horn to Starboard.  What a great book about bluewater sailing on a small boat; in one of the most dangerous places on the planet- Cape Horn, Chile.   Written soon after his record-breaking trip (1984) and published by Burford Books, this 147 page book was something I couldn’t put down, as fast paced and gripping as it was.   Prior to this historic trip however, the book goes into some detail about how John Kretschmer came of age, got his start in small boats and tried to run a Navigation School for profit. It’s also walks the interested reader right through the background story on Gigi, the smallest boat in history (at the time) to double Cape Horn.  As per the author, it isn’t a day-to-day recounting of the trip from his logbooks or from factual documents, but more general situations that he and the crew encountered as major milestones during the trip.  The seminal events are enough to get anyone’s attention and keep you wondering how they survived and kept sailing.  But they did it, and sailed into the record books at the time as the smallest boat ever to “Double the Horn” (sail the wrong way around it, into the wind, into the waves, into the current).   The book is obviously written while he was still married to his first wife (his girlfriend and steady crew throughout the book, whom he marries in Chile),  and prior to his steady state offshore work as a Delivery Captain.  I was so excited to read this book, as I’ve read both of John Kretschmer’s other books, loaned them to a friend and have now bought both those books again to re-read them.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of sailing Cape Horn or doing long distance sailing on a small boat on the NON tradewind Routes, this might be a great read for you.  Or, if you just want to know what it’s like to sail a small boat in horrible cold weather, this is a great read that you won’t put down.  If you’re interested in reading about the great man himself or want to see what he’s up to now, check out his website: www.yayablues.com.  Or you can take a look at his wife’s website: travelswithtadjji.

Disclaimer: By following the link to Amazon you can buy the book but this is NOT the reason for the book review.  I read books about sailing, cruising, adventure travel and survival for the fun of it and often will review them here on my blog.

 

 

Books I’ve Read to become a better Blogger & Black Friday

This post ties together because I’m writing it on Black Friday, and you could use the Black Friday online sales to save loads of money on books or most anything else by buying them today.

So, what the heck is Black Friday?  For those of you who are like me and just don’t care about shopping too much,,,,or are outside the U.S.,,,Black Friday (for Americans) is simply the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, it’s changing.  It used to be a day that people had to GO shopping in order to take advantage of sale prices and discounts that stores offered, thus you had to physically be there to get the discounts.

But this has changed.  Savvy shoppers all over the world can now take advantage of Black Friday via the internet, with very good results.  Why would a sailing blog want you to know this?  I’m not really sure, just some good info to put out, especially if you don’t know the great discounts to be had during Black Friday.  No, I’m not going near a shopping center today and never have, but if you have things to buy, might be a good day to check things out online to see if you could save some hard-earned cash!

Moving on, in order to become a better blogger and writer, I’ve tried to soak up knowledge from those who do it better than me.  I’ve read  the articles from larger bloggers like Roberta Pimentel, Charles French and others and I’ve tried to look at what makes their blogs so appealing.  I’ve also read what books I could find that interested me.  Here’s three that are on my bookshelf now, that you may or may not know about, not sure if they might be of help:

ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett was the first book I picked up and started reading, thinking it would fix all my blog challenges.  However, it was also the first two weeks I started blogging and didn’t know what the heck I was doing,,,,and didn’t have the blog physically set up either.  However, after some really great help from a friend and his wife on the Search and Rescue Team where I volunteered, the blog started looking like it does now, and I was able to actually started understand how to put links and such into the blog.  This is a book I didn’t finish completely but now I’ll reread it again.  Perhaps too advanced for me as a total non-good computer user when I started reading it, but will be perfect for most of you if you have any interest making some money via blogging.  I have no illusions about making money off my blog,,,,and don’t care that much.  I want to continue to write about the adventures we have and will have,,,,and if folks want to follow and read, that’s cool by me-

The Golden Rules of Blogging [& When to Break Them] by Robin Houghton was the second book I picked up, and was a great relief.  Basically, this book took a bit of weight off my shoulders when it said I was doing ok, could write what I wanted and yes,,,,I could use other people’s stuff in my blog by reblogging it or pressing it without anyone getting upset.  I’m stoked if my stuff ever get’s reblogged or forwarded and I’m ok doing this every once in a while with other blogs that make sense.  This book was easy to read with a good format, “expert” advice and true to life stories.  I may reread this one at some point also.  Yes, even on the blog I’m always looking to improve.

Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark W. Schaeffer and Stanford A. Smith is my current read.  I’m most of the way through it and it’s got a lot of great advice, some of the same advice I’ve heard already from Roberta Pimentel and others.  Why buy this book?  It’s goes from beginner to expert blogger through the book and has a slight business slant to it, which I liked.  Explains why businesses are setting up blogs and why, how basic bloggers can start thinking like businesses and whether using proxy services for the basic blogger is worth it?

In the end, Roberta Pimentel and all three of these books seem to say the same thing.  There’s no magic formula for your blog or this blog except to keep posting what excites you,,,,if you post what you think you HAVE to write because you think it’s your niche or something, you’re gonna burn out.  Instead, one post at a time writing the best you can. All three books were also patient in explaining there’s no magic to getting or keeping followers;  they will follow one at a time, when they want to.  I’m gonna take this to heart, keep posting and try to write the best blogs I can as I go along.

Here’s what I have to deal with at my computer on a regular basis, as she often seems to want to help write:

Really wants to help,,,,a lot.

Really wants to help,,,,a lot.

Quincy is our two year old Great Dane, who will soon become a boat dog,,,,bet that will be exciting!

 

 

Black Friday Suggestions

If you’re in a salty sailor mood this weekend but don’t want to go out to do some Black Friday shopping (Friday in the U.S.- Good discounts, even online); consider the books in the older posts below.  NOPE, this isn’t a blatant attempt to get you to spend your hard earned money without cause, but if you do want to buy some sailory sailing or boating books, at least I can make some suggestions.  Take a look below,,,,,,get books,,,,decide to sail around the world or something,,,,harken back to this post that changed your life!

https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/07/30/book-review-the-complete-ocean-skipper-by-tom-cunliffe/

https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/06/06/essential-reading-poop-booze-and-bikinis/

https://livefree2sailfast.com/2016/07/07/discount-shout-out/

Starting the Pirate Blog Series with a Great Read-

You gotta read it if you love “Black Sails”!!

The Republic of Pirates, Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, started with some of the same history I already knew, but within 5 pages I was convinced that it had original material and was very well researched.  It’s written by Colin Woodard and copywrited/published in 2007 by Houghton Mifflin.

More than just another history of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, this book takes you through the political upheaval that created many pirates of the Golden Age and the reasons they took to piracy.  While all the well-known Captains (Pirate, Privateer and British Navy) are covered, so too are the unwilling captives with valuable skills, the ordinary merchants forced into piracy and those who supported it.  Starting around the second chapter, you’re also introduced to the single man who would become known (famed) as the force that ended the Golden Age of Piracy,,,,,but this isn’t quite the whole story.

Finally, although the HBO Series “Black Sails” is totally current, many of its characters and themes could have been drawn directly from this book, because they are real, true to history and rarely seen in the Johnny Dep remakes.  Slavery, forced labor, indentured servants, political refugees and outcast loggers don’t make for great Disney movies, but were certainly a reality for Pirates of the Golden Age.

If you’re interested in a great read with lots of facts, hit the link above and give it a try.  I’ve reviewed a number of other sailing books you can find in this link and you should grad them for yourselves via my links if you find them helpful.

This the first post in a blog series about the Black Flag and Pirating that I’m going to do, should be fun reads along with the blogs about sailboats and adventure travel.

See you next time, pass it on-

Flag of the Conch Republic, very possibly flown by the last of the Golden Age Pirates, see the linked post above!

Flag of the Conch Republic, very possibly flown by the last of the Golden Age Pirates, see the linked post above!

Update- 25 November- Just totally finished this book, re-read various parts of the book to make sure I understood and wanted to put in this update.  This book is permanently added to my Pirate Library, which is already pretty good.  I had no idea of some of the facts of this book, which is why it’s simply a must read for most sailors who want to know more actual “facts” rather than fiction about the Golden Age of Piracy.

 

Sailboat Cruising, I’ve got to keep learning!

Since me and my family live three hours from the ocean, I’m obviously not on my boat as often as I want to be, but I want to keep learning as much as possible on technical sailboat cruising subjects.  These are often the ones that involve expensive specialty experts; who are more than happy to come to your boat and do whatever needs to be done, for a price per hour.  I know,,,,I’ve hired the best of them,,,,from surveyer, rig inspector, diesel mechanic, electrician, gelcoat repairman, polisher, bottom cleaner and the list goes on.  These would have been very expensive ventures if I simply sat back with a Corona and let them work while I relaxed in the hammock.  Since I don’t do this and follow thier every move to learn as much as I can, I chalk each of these bills up to  training AND repair cost on my boat.  Thus, if you figure out how much that electrical training and work would have cost if done separately and amertize those two costs together, it’s really quite affordable?  Right,,,,see my logic?  This the point in the blog where people with true mechanical skills roll thier eyes in disgust!   Yes, Yes, I could have spent countless hours trying to figure it all out for free and read the manuals, but I just don’t always have time,,,,but I’m learning quick.

To keep learning while away from the boat, I’ve found that the various cruising and sailboating publications I buy often have articles with vast amounts of good, solid technical advice, so I started saving them for future reading.   Today was cleanup sunday,,,and when I looked under the bed and realized I had more than 100 sailing magazines under there, I knew it was time to start actually looking for the articles I wanted to keep.  Much like Captain Couch’s “The Checklist” I’m keeping articles that have specific training and learning points I need or interest me.  So, I simply ripped them out and put them in a folder for a time I want to reference back to them.  I’ve got stacks of articles that cover:  boat buying, places to visit, natural energy (electrical), kids on sailboats and plumbing.  This doesn’t mean I don’t have personal experience with all these things, it just means I want to hear what others say about them and probably find expert knowledge and great ideas from others.  Since I can’t get to my boat all the time, I’m going to keep collecting articles till I’m comfortable with the subjects,,,,but I’m no mechanical or electrical genius, so I’ll keep reading.

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Book Review: “The Complete Ocean Skipper” by Tom Cunliffe

Honestly, I work on the blog as I go with overall projects in mind and things that come up that I can apply to something interesting, educational or funny on the blog.  My book reviews will go in spurts, as I’ve read the books already, but sitting down and thinking of a more in depth review takes a bit more time and I’m selective about what I review on this site.

The Complete Ocean Skipper by Mr. Tom Cunliffe is the 3rd book he’s written and probably by far one of his most comprehensive.  His other two books fall in line with Mr. Cunliffe’s personal RYA experience and he has vast offshore experience with which to write this book.  He’s he’s sailed all over the world and England has some nasty and serious sailing weather.  The other two books are titled The Complete Day Skipper and Complete Yachtmaster and are worth a look.  I have the 1st Edition Hardcover published in 2016 by Adlard Coles Nautical via Bloomsbury Publishing, with ample pictures and 270 pages.

I admit I picked up this book because I had read a previous review that said Mr. Cunliffe was actually one of the growing list of famous older sailors who were starting to admit/tell folks that Fin Keels were ok for deepwater boats.  I liked that, so I grabbed the book and there’s a lot more than I bargained for.  I like Mr. Cunliffe’s writing, plain and simple.  It seems he has a fair voice and takes the time to explain pros and cons of whatever he’s talking about, but he won’t shy away from saying the truth.  One of these truths is that the fin/spade keel mix doesn’t work well on poorly made boats and there ARE documented instances of fin keel’s coming off boats.  Yep, there are, I’ve read them and I’ve read the Coast Guard write-ups on some of them.  But, Mr. Cunliffe also says that Fin/Keel can work for deep water boats like other keel/rudder mixes as well as admits that he has a “dram” or two of the spirits on passage (I’m ok with this, good on you Tom).  One of the better sections you don’t find in too many modern blue water sailing books is a pretty complete navigation section, including detailed instructions for  sextant use and calculations.  I’m pretty impressed with it, in the days of electronic charts and touch button everything, Mr. Cunliffe still chose to make sure this went into his book, which is a testament to his agenda.

So if you want or need a book with a bit of a different voice about deep ocean or blue water sailing, perhaps give this one a try.


 

By reviewing and recommending this book, I take no personal or professional responsibility for what you do on the water after reading this book.  On the water, the lives of you and your crew are in your hands.