24 June 2012

Learning curve

The Hurricane Season break is a great time to ponder on the past months. And there is a funny aspect about sailing we never really talked about: The learning curve of complete new things. Of course you would expect that I learned to sail and steer a boat, know about knots and some of this sailing language stuff. I admit I'm still not a heroine when it comes about handling the sails, but I love to steer and navigate! But there is some other, I guess not very girl-like stuff you have to learn when cruising.

Here is my personal Top Ten:

1) I'm in the meantime a pretty great "Tool Nurse". When Marco is buried in some deep locker to fix something I'm usually handing him the tools. I admit it was a nightmare in the beginning as I could hardly distinguish a side cutter from long nose pliers, but by now I know most of the tools by name and I even have somehow a clue how you may use them...

2) And yes, I would be pretty confident to make an oil & filter change on our engine by know - which I'm probably impressed by most ;-)

3) But it's getting better: I'm even able to understand most of the emails from Chris Parker's Marine Weather Center with all its acronyms: TROF, WAVE, RIDGE, LO, wind-chop, surface-convergence

4) Which leads to the fact that I'm always knowing the weather forecast - even now in the marina. And I do not talk about the usual landlubber stuff like sun, rain and temperature. Ask me and I'll tell you wind patterns (direction and speed for a particular time of the day!) and even the regional outlook for at least a few days. I may know where a storm is building up, yes I normally even know the exact timing for tides, sunrise and so on....it's scary.

5) For some obvious reasons I'm more or less always aware of the cardinal direction. I mean instead of 'turn right' I may say 'go South'... even on land. I'm a bit afraid that I even may use this accidentally in a supermarket or so, guess it sounds real silly if I'd say: the milk is East of the vegetables, right?

6) I really love our navigational toys: I plan a trip with the navigation computer, underlaying it with wind and waves for best direction. Then submit that into the hand held GPS for backup, and to our chartplotter at the helm. For longer trips I may even plot our course on paper. Sounds very complicated, and believe me it was in the beginning. Now it's a daily routine which even is fun!

7) Since I'm working so many times with maps I have a complete new understanding of geography. It's obvious that I learned about the islands we visited which I could not even point out on a map a few months ago. But further on, you get a complete new sense for distances. Looking at a world map is complete different while you plan to travel this beautiful blue planet!

8) After all this discussion what is to lube with which special grease, which chemical cleans that, what glue for this purpose and knowing the difference between hard and ablative antifouling it's just fair to say that I may have earned as well a degree in chemical engineering by now...

9) I don't like AC/DC too much, I mean the band. You probably knew that AC and DC can also stand for alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC)? I'm aware of that fact now too and I directly live with it day and night! When we're not plugged into shore power we try to live with DC only, that means with the power that's provided from the solar panels and the batteries. When we want to charge our laptops (or run the hairdryer or the vacuum cleaner, which we hardly do) we can switch to the inverter - that does the same job as if we'd be plugged into shore power aka AC... Clear now?

10) and yes, I can start and drive a dinghy by now, but I still don't like it at all...

From love with paradise


  1. Rahel, you are an amazing Girl, and you are demonstrating what so many can only dream of learning. We are enjoying following your learning and discovery. Keep up the great work.