Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Lin and Larry Pardey

The Pardeys are one of the most recognized couples in the sailing world. They have written several books on cruising, including the indispensable "Self-Sufficient Sailor". Nan and I attended a two-day seminar they gave in Denver in January, 2004 at the Marriott Inn in West Denver. We were surprised to see more than two hundred people in attendance when we entered the lecture room that Saturday evening. I guess this sailing bug is contagious.

The Pardeys started things out with a slideshow of their adventures on their sailboats, Seraffyn and Taleisin, which Larry the master boat builder had built himself. Their images were so enticing that everyone in attendance was soon longing for the open sea and faraway tropical islands. During intermission both Lin and Larry were available for questions as well as signings of their books, which were on sale in the lobby.

The following day was spent in lectures and question-and-answer sessions on topics important to anyone considering the cruising lifestyle. Larry and Lin said they had been sailing pretty much continuously since 1968 and that during that time they had been around the world four times, twice in each direction. Much of their experience is condensed in their many excellent books, in which the overriding principle is to keep it simple. To that end, they sail without a motor and have just the bare minimum of electronics on board, figuring that these are things upon which it would be too easy to become dependent, only to have them fail when most needed.

For me the most important topics were how to survive a storm and how to handle the paperwork of international boat travel. Larry handled the first topic and Lin the second. Larry said that with the proper equipment and techniques, any storm at sea is survivable. He showed us slides demonstrating heave-to procedures and the use of storm sails and sea anchors. Some of the slides were truly frightening: fifty- to sixty-foot waves towering over their little thirty-foot boat. Lin’s talk was a little more calming. She assured us that with the proper documents it was possible to travel the world, stopping at every place of interest, and never run into trouble with foreign authorities. She also touched on important topics like outfitting a serious first aid kit, getting the necessary immunizations and how to keep life back home manageable in terms of mail, banking and bill paying.

By the end of the day, you could see the dreamy look in many people’s eyes starting to turn alert and calculating as they began to think in concrete terms about giving up their workaday lives for ones of high adventure cruising the world’s oceans. I know I was one of them.

No comments: