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Life is a wild ride!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it's a new year and I'm pretty happy right now. I just finished reading my introduction post from early 2012 and realized my goals have not been changed or forgotten. I've been sticking to the plan. At the time I wrote that intro I was estimating it would take me 4 - 5 years to pay off my debt. In 2013 I started work with a different company the week following Labor Day and since then I have been able to work considerably more hours. I sat down over the holidays and really took a good look at my finances and how they would affect my goals. I'm happy to say that barring any unforeseen events, I will be able to finish paying off all my debt by the end of 2014, 1 -2 years early! And to top it off, If the deal goes through, possibly be out from under the house too! I knew I was making progress but I didn't realize till recently that I was doing that well! I am completely re-energized and ready to knuckle down for another year and get that much closer to my next boat! This doesn't really have alot to do with the question I wanted to pose but I'm happy with my progress and just wanted to share it!

Ok, here's my question. I work construction and have to stay in a motel through the weekdays and some Saturdays. I want to start a sort of homemade study program to learn things that will be useful when I finally get my boat and start cruising. I have no problem with reading books but most of the ones I have apply to actual sailing. Now, I'm going to start my little program with 2 pieces of rope to practice knots and splicing. What are some other hands-on type things that can be done in a motel room that will be useful while cruising?

I've considered trying to learn to sew for a while now but haven't looked at it serious enough to invest in a machine. I've always wanted to be able to repair my nail aprons or build my own tool bags but that requires a machine able to sew heavy material which would also be costly, hence my reluctance.

Any creative idea's?

Thanks.
 

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Theres a lot of people out there who can sew. And have the machines too. So you probably wont make money from it.

If I was still at home and able to do course i would live to do some history courses, European history, or wherever i am intending to go. Also geography. I dont know in your area if you have community type colleges that run those sort of courses, but in y home counrty they do and for a $100 you get weekly lectures etc.

The cruising life is a great life, but it can get boring, and also we can roll past something and not know its significance. Learning stuff before you go can make your cruise much beter.
 

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Life is a wild ride!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses!

@ Manatee -That's a good list of references. I'll check out Smiths book. Wire splicing is in your list so I'm assuming that's something that can be practiced reasonably cheaply?

@ Mark - I've considered language lessons but with travelling all the time I'm not sure how well formal courses could be worked into my schedule. I do like to learn about the history of things but usually when I can experience it as well as hear about it. For example, visiting a historic site while hearing or reading about it at the same time. I guess some sort of online training would be doable since that could work around my schedule.
 

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{Dons full-body Nomex suit in anticipation of being flamed for luddite-ish dinosauritude. Contrary to what Benjamin in 'The Graduate' heard, "Plastics" is not the answer to everything.}

Wire splicing is an advanced skill, needing some specialized tools, but it can be a moneymaker and lifesaver. You might find some scrap cable to practice with on a construction site. You could go to a chandler's or rigger's shop to get some idea of the materials used, cables, thimbles & so on. There are too many failures of swaged and epoxied rigging fittings for me to trust them. This poor fellow had to abandon his circumnavigation because his swaged fittings are failing: He's Off Again

Don't just take my word for it, here's a discussion on the Pardeys' website: Wire Splicing

I wouldn't worry about wire for a while yet, first you need the basics: knots, bends, hitches and splices in both stranded and braided lines. The Smith book will show you those, as well as how to make canvas buckets, toolbags, ditty-bags, rope mats and fancy-work, blocks and handy-billies -- all kinds of things for your boat, many using materials that are "too old to use, too good to throw away".
 
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Life is a wild ride!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No flaming here!:) I mentioned the wire because at one time I thought that having the know-how to make your own rigging would not only help cut down on replacement cost but possibly be useful in case of rigging problems at sea. I've heard mention of, and correct me if I'm wrong, Sta-Loc fittings that are supposedly easier to use and don't require the extra equipment but have no experience with them. I still think the ability to repair damaged rigging at sea is something I want to know how to do before I start crossing oceans but I have since realized that repairing damaged rigging and normal replacement of the rigging are two different birds. Also, I've read that many people are using synthetic cordage for rigging now. Seems to me that some of these very low stretch, high strength lines would serve for emergency repairs and be much more versatile to keep than a huge coil of wire. Besides, My plan is to keep and label old rigging as I replace it so that I have a spare for each component for a rainy day. One piece for identical lengths though. No need for all of it. That is going to be something I'll have to watch though because I'm a packrat. I have no problem with diving in a dumpster to get some cut-offs if I think I'll use them!

When I had my Endeavour 32, I bought some cheap short lengths of 5/8" 3-strand nylon off Ebay and learned to do eye splices by making my own dock lines. It was fun and I could customize my lengths. It was much cheaper to do that than pay for premade ones at West Marine.
 

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The problem with trying to repair rigging at sea is that you need to have the supplies to repair your rigging at sea. Frankly carrying around sufficient amounts of stainless wire to repair a stay is a bit of an issue, and not particularly realistic on a small boat.

Learn to splice, and learn to splice dyneema single braid specifically. You can easily carry aboard enough line to replace your standing rigging, and shove it into a back pack.

My best recomendation would be to learn how to work on Diesel engines, 12v wiring, and soldering.
 

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I haven't crossed any oceans yet, but I'd bet that learing about weather would be a big help. You'll likely get Grib charts via an SSB receiver with the headphone jack going into an iPod, iPad, or Mac laptop.

You could watch some youtube videos in your hotel room that would teach you what you need to know.



That would be a starting point. Learning more about weather could only help.

I'll second the post about diesel engines.

Also, you could get a copy of Chapman's and read it.

chapman's piloting in Books | eBay

Regards,
Brad
 
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+1 on weather. My sailing mentor told me to buy Reed's Maritime Weather and "study it, don't just read it."
 
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{snip}

I still think the ability to repair damaged rigging at sea is something I want to know how to do before I start crossing oceans but I have since realized that repairing damaged rigging and normal replacement of the rigging are two different birds. Also, I've read that many people are using synthetic cordage for rigging now. Seems to me that some of these very low stretch, high strength lines would serve for emergency repairs and be much more versatile to keep than a huge coil of wire.
The easier it is to inspect a fitting, the more I like it. I'm a proponent of flexible masts and rigging. I don't understand the emphasis on non-stretching rigging and inflexible masts. Maybe it's another racing thing. If you want rigid rigging, put in stainless rods for stays & shrouds and be done with it. Don't expect it to last, though. Even the 100-year old oak tree in my back yard flexes in the wind. You should see it dance in a hurricane! (South Florida -- we get them occasionally.) Flexibility is safer. It's another reason I like sharpies -- their rig flexes & spills overpowering gusts that would force reefing rigs less flexible. And any 44' boat you can do this with suits me just fine (from Reuel Parker's website):



Learn to jury-rig repairs enough to keep the mast in the boat. Practice using a selvagee & handy-billy to keep tension on a stay. Try it in rougher conditions. Use cable clamps or seizings to temporarily splice in enough cable to repair a failed fitting. You probably won't try to replace a gang of rigging at sea, but having spares enough aboard to make repairs with is cheap insurance if you've practiced enough.
 
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{snip}

I've considered language lessons but with travelling all the time I'm not sure how well formal courses could be worked into my schedule. I do like to learn about the history of things but usually when I can experience it as well as hear about it. For example, visiting a historic site while hearing or reading about it at the same time. I guess some sort of online training would be doable since that could work around my schedule.
Here's a collection of free language courses (including Latin American, Puerto Rican and European Spanish):

FSI Language Courses - Home
 
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Ok, here's my question. I work construction and have to stay in a motel through the weekdays and some Saturdays. I want to start a sort of homemade study program to learn things that will be useful when I finally get my boat and start cruising. I have no problem with reading books but most of the ones I have apply to actual sailing. Now, I'm going to start my little program with 2 pieces of rope to practice knots and splicing. What are some other hands-on type things that can be done in a motel room that will be useful while cruising?
Good for you.

Webinars are a great deal for travelers. Any online course works. Try SevenSeasU.com .

Weather is a good start. I concur with Reed's Maritime Meteorology. It's a little dense if you don't have a foundation. Look for classes from Lee Chesneau or Starpath. Once you have a grip you can start running practice scenarios, simulating a passage.

Knots, hitches, and splicing are good things to spend time. Brion Toss has a great DVD. I've ripped all the splices to my iPhone so I can brush up when I need to deal with something like Dyneema that I don't do often. 3-strand and double-braid is easy.

Get a copy of Calder's 'Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Handbook'

Keep track of the US Power Squadron and USCG Auxiliary courses. If you're going to be somewhere for a couple of weeks you can take a navigation course. They are all very consistent so you can take different courses in different locations and everything will be coherent.

West Marine and local chandleries often have evening seminars - one-shot events that deal with a specific issue in a couple of hours.

Get your ham license - Tech and General. Almost everything you need to know to pass the exam you should know to go cruising anyway.

Google for and download rfax.pdf and JVCOMM32 (see weather above). Buy an inexpensive shortwave radio and start downloading weather fax and listening to USCG HF weather, WWV (quickly boring but you should understand it), BBC, and other shortwave broadcasts (see ham license above).

Look at northu.com .

If you are somewhere or somewhen warm, drop by marinas and yacht clubs in the evening and see if there is someone that could use a hand. Learn by doing and even learning from other people's mistakes works.

Hope this keeps you busy. *grin* I spent a couple of decades in steady travel and understand trying to keep yourself engaged. There is only so much TV you can watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
You guys have come up with all kinds of great ideas! I hope none of you mind that I've copied and pasted your thoughts into a word document so I have them all on one page. Here's what I've gathered so far;

Subjects:
Knots and splices
Weather/GRIB files
Language
Diesel repair
Electrical/12v wiring/soldering
Ham license

Reference books
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Handbook
Reeds Maritime Meteorology
Chapmans
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship (2014 ed)
The Marlinspike Sailor - Hervey Garrett Smith
The Complete Rigger's Apprentice - Brion Toss
The Sailmaker's Apprentice - Emiliano Marino
Navigation Rules International - Inland

Other references
** Wire Splice **
Galvanized spliced wire shrouds
Splicing Wire - Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums
Rigging 101~ Liverpool wire rope splice - a set on Flickr

** Riggers' websites **

* Brion Toss
Brion Toss Yacht Riggers, Sailboat Rigging

* Jamie White/clyderigged
Marlingspike Seamanship

* Vince Brennan
Frayed Knot Arts Main Page with Navigation Aids

FSI Language Courses - Home

Webinars @ SevenSeasU.com

Weather classes from Lee Chesneau or Starpath

Google for and download rfax.pdf and JVCOMM32. Buy an inexpensive shortwave radio and start downloading weather fax and listening to USCG HF weather, WWV (quickly boring but you should understand it), BBC, and other shortwave broadcasts. (abbreviated excerpt from SVAuspicious post above)

Check out northu.com
US Power Squadron and USCG Auxiliary courses

DR Ferron, you mentioned a mentor. Do they have those on Amazon?:D I guess I'll have to make due with the folks found here!

So how is this looking so far? I'll go through my library at home, when I get home, and add in the books I already have. I know I have a copy of Chapmans and I added the Coast Guard Navigation Rules to the list of reference books. I think I still have my copy but I should probably check to make sure it is up to date.

Keep those good ideas coming!!! You guys are doing great!:):)
 

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...

DR Ferron, you mentioned an old mentor. Do they have those on Amazon?:D I guess I'll have to make due with the folks found here!...
Hmmm. I don't think I said "old." I first met him on SailNet and he's still here so, no. I definitely didn't say "old."

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Dang Dave! You posted a lot of good info while I was putting my post together! If you don't mind I may just paste your entire post into my Word document! Now I'll have to update my list but I certainly don't mind!
 
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