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Date: 3 December 2013. Capable of Learning.

All too often I read massive lists of all a boater needs to know before shoving off, and I've got to tell you it's a personal pet peeve of mine. Absolutely there are basics of navigation you must know and there are a plethora of places to learn those things. And too, knowing how to fix the items onboard is always good however it should not be the determining factor as to your successful life afloat. Besides if a former housewife can do it without testosterone, surely you can do so as well!

And as an aside, both my Seaweed and the sailboat at anchor shown further in the article are skippered by women soloists. We are out here having fun and if there's a smidgen of determination in you, well, you could be out here too. Why not get started today!?!
 


 

Experience is what you get when you didn't
get what you wanted. Randy Pausch.

You DO NOT have to know every system and how to fix it before departure. That's elitist garbage that implies only "old-timers" should be out here. It's not possible to know everything (contrary to online experts you'll hear/read elsewhere) and if you wait until you do know that much, you'll be dead -- or too infirm physically to cruise.
 


 

That said, you must be capable of learning -- and it's always helpful to have engine manuals, along with Calder's Mechanical and Electrical Manual aboard to guide you. Tools are important too. If while out here you discover you need a tool you don't have, buy it.

Every time I read one of these lists of all one must know first, it rankles my temperament. I'm not suggesting a blithering idiot get out here and cruise, but certainly a person with a modicum of sense and the ability to extrapolate information is capable of being an active cruiser -- I'm doing it so surely you can too.

And when stuff goes wrong, I learn more. Quite frankly I've learned way more than I ever wanted to know about my engine. Still I'm out here, enjoying life afloat while so many are stuck on shore, shopping for a blue-water sailboat to circumnavigate aboard (never having sailed mind you) or, fixing (and upgrading) a vessel to take them anywhere (still without ever having spent a week afloat) or, well, you get the picture.

Perfection is the enemy of good enough, and often good enough is just that!

IF you really wanted to be out here, you'd be doing all you could to make it happen. Just don't get bogged down worrying about learning everything prior to departure. It's not necessary. In my opinion an individual (man or woman) can certainly be a successful cruiser without being able to quote Calder's verbatim at the onset and with enough time out here, well, you too can become an old salt.

I'd love to hear of your experience with the local never-go-anywhere experts.
Does it drive you crazy to hear the nay-sayers, or does it motivate you to "show 'em" what you're made of?

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