Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ice Ice Go Away!

Well this winter is doggedly determined to hang around Wisconsin. We continue to experience temperatures well below normal and it seems to snow every couple of days. Brenda and I are getting our sailing fix any way we can right now. We are studying Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, cruising guides and reading anything we can find that is sailing related. I have gone through nearly every sailing related Kindle book on Amazon that is under $4.00 (Yes, I do have a cheapskate hiding in me.)

I have spent more hours than I care to admit just surfing the net looking at cruising boats for sale all over the country. I'm amazed at the quality and quantity of solid 27' to 35' cruisers on the market at very reasonable prices. I hope this stays true until we get our house sold.

This morning I looked online to find the current ice thickness on our local sailing lake. 15" of ice is what they report. It may be a while before Wrinkles is gently breaking through the waves.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ahha...I Did It

I love the feeling you get when you accomplish something new! Tonight we got out the practice chart, dividers, chart plotter and parallel rules along with some problems. We were able to do all kinds of good stuff. Now we could apply the descriptions we have been reading about. I feel so accomplished. Part one of celestial navigation complete!
Brenda working a chart
Brenda working a chart

The sailing we have done in Door County required that we be able to read a chart so that we could avoid shallow water and unseen shoals. But we wanted to learn more about navigation. From the books we have been reading, Mike already has a good idea of what is involved. I am finally catching up. Now we can plot a course, use objects on the land to help determine our position and figure out how fast we are going without using a GPS!

It is amazing how much information is contained on one chart. You can find your latitude and longitude to within seconds and figure out how far two points are from each other. There is a conversion chart for feet, fathoms and meters. And there is a cool chart that you can use to figure out how fast you are going! We played with the compass rose and figured out how to chart a course using both magnetic and true. Dead reckoning, bearing and line of position are words that are becoming part of our vocabulary

Mike found a site that has some practice problems (with answers), so its back to the dining room table where we can keep trying out our new skills.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our new to us sextant

We have been shopping for a reasonably priced used sextant and one finally came our way. We bid on this lovely International Nautical sextant on eBay and got it for $133.00 plus $20.00 for shipping. Good sextants don't come cheap and we fully expected to settle for a well used model for $250 to $350. We are super excited about this deal. Brenda has always been fascinated with celestial navigation and now she can study up on the art of using it.

It was made by International Nautical from components supplied by Tamaya. As you can see it is in like new condition. Even the original batteries are still in the box.

We don't plan to use it for actual navigation, but it sure will be reassuring to know we have one on board and know how to use it. Electronics are great until they stop working in the middle of a passage. So if you see a pretty blue hulled sailboat out on the water with a lovely lady taking star sights with her sextant, you will know it is Brenda.

How salty is that?


Friday, March 1, 2013

Simply Sailing Books

I just finished reading Connie McBride's "Tips, Tricks and Tales: The Best Of Simply Sailing Online" and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you unfamiliar with Simply Sailing it encompasses a website and books which detail a family's trials and successes as they live the life of sailors rather than cruisers. They simplify their boat and lifestyle to allow them to sail, experience life and enjoy their time rather than hopping from port to port to repair all the gee whiz electronics and toys.

The book is worth it's price in one chapter alone. Their son, Garrett, writes a section titled, " Rite of Passage" that had both Brenda and I giggling and smiling. That kid has what Brenda calls a voice in his writing style.


Brenda and I had previously read their book, "Simply Sailing: A Different Approach To A Life Of Adventure" and found it eye opening. Their simple approach certainly has a lot to be said for it. There are ideas on simplifying your cooking, maintenance, sailing, navigating and more.


After our recent post about all the To- Do's we HAVE to accomplish for this sailing season, maybe we just need to take a hint from these folks and pare things back a bit. More sailing, less toys, more fun!