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(Not So) Old Men and the Sea: A Toe in the Cruising Waters

(Not So) Old Men and the Sea: A Toe in the Cruising Waters

Автор Pete Prestegaard

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(Not So) Old Men and the Sea: A Toe in the Cruising Waters

Автор Pete Prestegaard

286 страниц
3 часа
15 янв. 2004 г.


" The author and his First Class Mate have provided those who may be new to boating with hundreds of tips to help make their cruising experiences safe and pleasurable "

-Jennifer Castle Field, President, Chapman School of Seamanship

"Prestegaard's writing has style and elegance, and a way of stoking the imagination. If you're one of the old or idle retirees looking for a change in your routine, read Pete's (Not So) Old Men and the Sea."

-Ron & Eva Stob, Founders, America's Great Loop Cruisers' Assoc.

"A fun read about the joys and memorable experiences of the cruising lifestyle. It should inspire others to venture off on this journey of a lifetime."

-Bill Parlatore, Editor in Chief, PassageMaker Magazine

"Enjoyed the read. Entertaining and informative."

-Rich Wall, Boat US/West Marine

"It's simply Cruising 101"

-Jim Meier, Sea Ray Boats Inc.

(Not So) Old Men and the Sea covers portions of six years of the author's life, a time when he, his wife and sea dog Bingo experienced first-hand lessons as they prepared for, then negotiated, the legendary Great Circle/Loop of Eastern, Canadian, Midwestern and Southern waters aboard their 38' cruiser, The Family Fjord. In all, they transited over 100 locks, 6000 nautical miles and one over-the-road haul across Wisconsin.

NSOM can easily be a blueprint for the novice cruiser who dreams of taking extended coastal or river voyages "on his own bottom." It starts with the glories of cruising and rapidly gets specific about boat, power, options, human factors and experiences, coupled with vignettes of what everyday distance cruising is like. The book features an overriding focus on safety, and author Pete Prestegaard also helpfully includes money-saving tips throughout.

15 янв. 2004 г.

Об авторе

Mr. Prestegaard?s seafaring blood, possibly a Norwegian legacy, was held in check while he carved out several successful business careers. By 1997, however, the call ?to sea? became irresistibly strong, resulting in the travels and adventures found in this work.

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(Not So) Old Men and the Sea - Pete Prestegaard

All Rights Reserved © 2004 by pete prestegaard

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher.

iUniverse, Inc.

For information address:

iUniverse, Inc.

2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100

Lincoln, NE 68512


Text, photographs and graphics copyright 2003 and 2004 by Pete Prestegaard.

All information and statements herein are the sole work product and responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Publisher who disclaims any responsibility therefore.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-0021-7 (ebook)

ISBN: 978-0-5952-9827-3 (sc)




The Calling

Part I Oh, to Sea, to Sea, to Cruise with Thee

Chapter 1

The Zen of Cruising

Chapter 2

A Toe in the Water

Chapter 3

The Rules

Chapter 4

The Cruise Plan: Building (or Buying) Your Boat; Selecting the Keel, the Hull and the Deck Forms

Chapter 5

The Cruise Plan: Power

Chapter 6

The Cruise Plan: Fitting Out

Chapter 7

The Cruise Plan: The Launch

Chapter 8

The Cruise Plan: Crew

Chapter 9

While Cruising

Chapter 10

Running the Rivers

Chapter 11

Weather and Related

Chapter 12

Boat Care, Professionals and Traditions

Part II I Learned About Cruising From That…

Lesson #1


Lesson #2

The Sinking

Lesson #3

The Deal

Lesson #4

Another Timetable

Lesson #5

The Inlet

Lesson #6

The Concert

Lesson #7


Lesson #8


Lesson #9


Lesson #10


Lesson #11

Life Vests

Lesson #12

Wakes Again

Lesson #13

The Deckhand

Lesson #14


Lesson #15

Weather or Not

Lesson #16

Engine Failure

Lesson #17

Sea Grass

Lesson #18

Ice at Sea

Lesson #19

Electrical Power and A/C

Lesson #20

Anchoring Out

Lesson #21

Boat Handling

Lesson #22

The Size of the Thing

Lesson #23


Lesson #24


Lesson #25

Builder Reputation

Lesson #26


Lesson #27

Systems Again

Lesson #28

Ads and Specifications

Lesson #29

Ties that Bind

Lesson #30


Part III A Flavor of Cruising: Letters Home from Along the Way

Part IV Final Thoughts

About the Author

Appendix 1

A Note From the 1st Class 1st Mate

Appendix 2

2001 Family Fjord Planned Itinerary

Appendix 3

Sampling of Captain’s Log Entries

Appendix 4

Must, and Highly Desirable, Cruiser Features and Specs

Appendix 5

Sample Checklists

Appendix 6

Additional Reading

With love to: My First Class First Mate… and all those who had the Chutzpah to join the voyage

Don’t Sail Out Farther Than You Can Row Back.

—Old Danish Saying

If A Man Knew Where He Would Fall He Would Spread Straw There First.

—Old Finnish Saying

One Sits Best On One’s Own Bench.

—Old Norwegian Saying

Adventure is Misfortune Rightly Considered.

—Old Prestegaard Saying


After several careers in businesses large and small, I came to that stage in life where men, and increasingly women, need new outlets for satisfaction, entertainment and especially, meaning. For when it is said and done, what’s it all about?

At this stage, many pick up or hone their golf, concentrate on tennis or various other forms of hobby, exercise, travel, or look to entertain the grandkids. These pursuits, while undeniably wonderful (especially if you become passably good at them), by themselves may not offer the kind of soul satisfying solution to that gnawing need for achievable, personalized adventure stirring deep inside more than a few.

This restlessness, I believe, in some ways is directly associated with middle age and the asking oneself that difficult and penetrating question is that all there is? Hence, the title of this work, which it seems has puzzled more than a few.

Many also see the wisdom of rekindling a sense of (manageable) adventure and togetherness in their personal relationships, which are surely there to be had through shared voyages and experiences.

In addition, many may want to set an example or a kind of heritage for those who follow. In that sense, this book is as much for wives as husbands, or rather, for the Captain and the Admiral, no matter who may assume each of those mantles.

With the reluctant tolerance of my spouse (see Appendix 1), I came to the belief that boating, and more particularly distance cruising, would be a pursuit to satisfy much of that restlessness stirring within. In the process, I knew there would surely be at least superficial elements of danger, which would need to be anticipated, managed and overcome.

The knowledge of this is actually part of the process. Cruising was also, importantly, something I could nearly fully control, a close-to-self-contained environment in what in one’s later years can seem a largely uncontrollable world. Could we become its Master? The answer, maybe significantly, is no one ever truly masters the sea. Like a difficult wife or husband, and a quality relationship, you simply learn how better to live with its peculiarities and adjust to its needs.

Most frankly, this is a man’s book. Not that women who want to run their own boat can’t learn valuable things here too. Or, that women won’t find it an

ideal gift for their man. We’re not sexist and don’t intentionally slant the content. It’s just that boating and cruising are still a province that is by far mainly masculine in nature.

I tried hard beforehand to prepare both of us for problems we might encounter. We or I went to various schools for navigation, boat handling, medical at sea, equipment and systems, engine care, and boat design. We thought we knew what there was to know. We struck out on our own and didn’t shrink back from the adventures out there, but we surely discovered some new and unexpected ones too.

Thinking of safety, for example, after doing some reading, we bought a sea parachute designed to keep bow to the waves in case we were caught out in heavy weather, invested in a weather fax and an SSB receiver, mainly to help avoid weather problems, and put in a satellite phone. We also bought a precise fuel monitoring system. Was any of this needed? No, not for our type of cruising today, and in some cases there were other negative ramifications in doing so that we’ll cover later.

On a more genteel note, neither was that icemaker and synchronizer required. Save your money on these and other things written about in this book, if you’re planning to do what we did.

On the other hand, the autopilot I initially thought frivolous turned out to be one of the handiest of accessories when we transited large bodies of water. Also the night vision, the twin GPS’s, the chart plotter, the radar, the doubled up depth finders were all close to mandatory. These are just a few examples borne from hard knowledge we gained, that we’ll cover here in some depth.

If, as we progress in this work, boating and cruising are de-romanticized a bit, well that’s a shame. For there are huge doses of romance and adventure out there in which one can and should be able to luxuriate.

On any given weekend in our metro home area, which has a nearby population of 18 million or so, we’ll only see a few hundred boaters—at the very most. This still amazes me. And, during the course of our travels, we went for much of a day without seeing anyone at all on the water.

We think that’s a shame. Once you start boating or cruising, it’s easy to become addicted. We’ll now be life-long fans of being attuned to the wonders that can occur almost daily. As my wise sailor dad said more than once, adventure is misfortune rightly considered. Cruising truly can give anyone adventures of all kinds.

Though there are a lot of ‘how to’ books on various aspects of boating out there, we found no manual came close to being a real guide for a beginning cruiser, addressing fundamental questions which can seem like second nature to the experienced seaman. We weren’t dropouts or rugged lifetime salts; and we frankly didn’t want to be. We didn’t want to know everything about diesel engines, cooking squid or the cruising route to Pago Pago. We weren’t looking for a travelogue about interesting boating destinations either. Others have done all this, some quite well.

We did want safety, to challenge a portion of the world, fun, adventure and, yes, some comfort and style along the way—and a book or guide to give us a running start in that quest would have been nice. We really found none tuned to our needs. In the absence, we struggled along, learned, and kept notes as we went.

Now, more than five years later, we look back and can say in truth that we’ve done it—and we mean both a significant tour and with this book, hopefully also made a contribution to others who might follow. We hope you enjoy (Not So) Old Men, are energized by it, not overly daunted by some of the candor and revelations here, and that many of you will embark on your own similar journey, the better prepared.

In any case, rest assured there are many good people out there who will help you, share the brotherhood, and many, many places to visit where the people by the sea are as friendly as we’ve all heard earlier generations, and a time otherwise largely lost, can be.

Even if such a journey ends up not being for you, we believe at least your imagination, and the human spirit in us all, may be vicariously transported along by a read of NSOM.


The boating industry understands human needs well, focusing as they do on release, romance, sunsets, sex, power, technical gee-gaws and the more traditional swimsuit male and female roles. Unfortunately, they leave out a lot of important and real stuff. But then, they’re a bit worried, I suppose, that if too much reality were revealed, the sale might not occur. Most of the slick industry magazines, except, usually, for our favorites, Soundings, PassageMaker and Powerboat Reports, tend to imitate a kind of sizzle stretch for this unreachable nirvana. There’s little harm in this for we all like to dream, but the risk is that one actually begins to believe that the sizzle is the sum of the experience.

For more than one person, getting to real knowledge about cruising and boating can be an unexpected and quite expensive journey. A manufacturer we know refers to it as the $1 Million Cruise. You start out with a small boat and aren’t satisfied, progressively trading in your craft while looking for that elusive answer that the industry persuades is just another few feet of dimension away. In the industry, this is called Moving Up.

Part of the idea of this book is to allow the more frugal reader, still a novice, to leap ahead where prudent, while not going too far, and save steps of the $1 Million Cruise in the process. We don’t necessarily believe one has to start really small and gradually move up as your mastery of cruising evolves. Nor do we believe that proper and comfortable cruising is only limited to those with pocket-books to afford, say, the over 60-footer.

In Part I that follows, we figuratively construct an ideal boat for your cruise by sifting through the stages of cruise planning, boat construction and fitting out. After you’ve determined what boat you should acquire, and whether new or used, and related issues, we then move on to experiences on the cruise. By distance cruising, we mean exploring areas you are not familiar with, by sea anyway, while living for extended periods, possibly of a month or more aboard a boat.

Let me say again, at the start, we had little to no experience other than a ready will and sense of adventure. We quite quickly learned that, rather than seek bravura confrontation with the elements, which in boating is strangely urged on by many, the challenge of going safely from here to there was sufficient. In fact, safety in achieving the mission would be a foremost, and wholly unapologized for, objective of ours.

So, there would be no multiple day voyages across endless miles of blue water seeking come what may without a glimpse of land. We believe the nasty little secret of this seemingly romantic pursuit is that such a voyage would become hugely boring as well as introducing uncontrollable, unwanted and unneeded dangers. But that’s just us.

In any case, we allowed that weather and conditions would largely hold sway on our schedule. There would be no attempt at speed records or doing ‘the circle’ at breakneck pace just to say we’ve done it. There would instead be elements of serendipity to savor and we would be our own masters in saying where and when. In the end, we did our trip in stages over a couple of years.

What we wanted to do in our own small way was to take advantage of a manageable slice of what the world offered. Yes, to enjoy the romance of those golden sunrises and fantailed, seemingly endless cerise sunsets, the azure blue skies, billion-star nights, the vibrancy of the crystalline waters stirred purest white by our wake, hearing both the sounds of quiet and real nature, not just from afar, but up close and personal, as the trade winds whistled and we went to sleep to the clink of rigging in the boatyard.

In short, to dip our toes in the water. We now can happily say that the ads in fact don’t over promise. But, to stay with visual imagery, the route one takes there isn’t likely to be quite as straight and simple as those ads portray, and, if one isn’t careful, the fog of the challenges could easily obscure the true and nearly infinitely varied pleasures of the passage.

I can’t let this introduction pass without another word to the wise. We’ve found that while cruising is semi-addictive, it is quite a challenge, if not impossible, to make it truly inexpensive. While there are a multitude of cost-cutting measures possible, and we’ll include some here, we’ve come to appreciate first hand where the acronym ‘B-O-A-T’—as in ‘bring out another thousand’—came from. Suffice to know that so far as boating goes, budgets tend to be frustrating to meet, and our feeling is one always needs to have a healthy what if component for both time and money.

At least with this manual in hand you can serendipitously learn from our experiences as well as those of a few others, and if you wish, adjust your own course. We also hope we may add to these experiences in future editions through the input of others. Please email me with your thoughts.

To give credit where it is surely due, portions of the content here have been crafted considering two very successful publications: the decades long column I Learned About Flying From That, in Flying Magazine, possibly the longest running and most successful ‘experience-based’ column ever, and Up the Organization, the irreverent, pithy and so true ideas of Robert Townsend, at then fledgling auto renter Avis Rent-A-Car.

We list other readings in the last Appendix, but we do wish to especially recommend one book that will substantially compliment our work. That is Chapman Piloting—Seamanship and Small Boat Handling, which is updated every year, lavishly illustrated, and published by Hearst Marine Books.

I would like to acknowledge the special assistance of these people in the boat business, without whom this trip could not have successfully taken place: Jim Meier, Bill Evans, Ginny Diforio, Dave Milius, Neely Allen and Keith Negley.

Thanks also to Ron and Eva Stob for their pioneering work recognizing Great Circle travelers (which they have chosen to call the Great Loop), and their America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (www.greatloop.com.)

We’d also like to acknowledge our stalwart passage cruisers Brian (navigator par excellance) and Kathy (lock pro) Dickens, Ed (old salt) and Gisela (the guide) Moriarty, Gary (the pilot) Anderson, Julie (just call me ‘cuz) Kuja, Dan (Titanic) and Laura (the card shark) Prestegaard, and Jenny (SweetStuff) Perhamus.

Thanks too, to wife Barb (just call me comma), for her late night editing, Don Warner and finally to Bill Parlatore for providing inspiration in his personal work of art, PassageMaker Magazine, which he brought from nowhere ten years ago to become the preeminent cruising periodical out there today.

We wish you bon voyage!

Pete Prestegaard


March, 2004

The Calling 

The Sea as a calling, is neatly an innate part of mankind. It is so fundamental, it seems nearly all men are drawn to it at one time or another.


For mankind to try to conquer the sea is folly. It is, plain and simple, as foreign an object to deal with as outer space or flying through air…and sometimes more so.


Both of these ancient sayings are true. The sea is at once the oldest, and in many ways the cruelest, of environments. It is the only element to this day that continues to have a full-time rescue service, the Coast Guard, available for support, supplemented by paid rescuers. It is a fact that in some areas piracy is still a reality and that in all areas, salvage can have windfall values seldom seen elsewhere.

Few weeks go by without some test of the sea, or by the sea, publicized or not. Of course, long before man was drawn to attempt to conquer air and space, there was the seemingly everlasting challenge of The Sea.

From earliest times, it is well documented that man tried, and to his credit, fairly often succeeded, in overcoming the dangers of the sea. However, while one may cohabit with it for extended periods, it is also safe to say even now that man has never achieved complete comfort in becoming its master.

Part I Oh, to Sea, to Sea, to Cruise with Thee 

Chapter 1

The Zen of Cruising 

This may be the shortest chapter in the book but in many ways, it’s also the best. To us, boating and cruising provide life rewards with such rich texture and to such a degree, there is simply no comparison to doing anything else. We’re only a little biased.

During our five years afloat, we’ve seen first-hand such things as:

O A tern who befriends the boat and decides to pace it for a mile or more as it proceeds down the mighty Mississippi, easily keeping up the pace

O A butterfly who flew in from nowhere and joined the ride nearly upside down for hours on end, on the isinglass in front, seemingly hanging on for dear life while enjoying the view

O The dark clouds and flashing lightning, as one races back to port, just securing the lines before the plop plop begins and turns into a cascade causing sand-like scraping sounds atop the bimini over the bridge

O The it was a pleasure locking you kudo from the lockmaster after a transit mutually well done

O The courteous, and maybe a little wistful, "hope you

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