Gogo81 ® 02-May-2020 14:30

The Capable Cruiser


Year: 1987
Language: english
Author: Lin and Larry Pardey
Genre: Handbook
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Edition: Second
ISBN: 0-393-03321-X
Format: PDF
Quality: Scanned pages
Pages count: 407
Description: This professionalism characterizes the Pardey’s how-to writing, and fills the reader with a justified confidence that I have never felt in the work of writers who merely compile and repeat conventional wisdom, much of it ultimately serving the advertisers in marine publications. The authors’ subject matter is fresh, specific, and original, and they don’t seem to pad their writing with material that is not based on their own experience, unlike some who want to believe they have covered their subject in its entirety—an impossibility in the world of boats!
The Pardeys are not extremists. Minimalism and simplification are tools they use to create positive experiences, freedom, and flexibility in their plans. When it’s time to splurge a little, they do, but they get a lot out of it. Even wealthy yachtsmen would do well to read everything the Pardeys write before they go off voyaging, for, while they might have the ability to solve many problems with the wave of a checkbook they cannot re-create time that is lost to needless repairs or long waits for parts, or to frustration over the failure of systems they have not considered how to live without.
The Capable Cruiser is in some ways all about this philosophy, but primarily it is an anthology of succinct and specific articles about practical subjects. Those who seek cruising stories should look to the Pardey’s excellent accounts of some of their cruises. The first section, “Preparing to Go” covers choosing a boat, cruising costs, children, medical preparations, and insurance. There is some overlap with The Cost Conscious Cruiser, which expands on some of these subjects, but much of it does stand alone.
The second section is all about gear, and discusses a number of subjects that I have not previously seen addressed in print. Among the chapters is one about positive flotation, with an emphasis on emergency flotation of heavier cruising boats through the use of inflatable bladders. At the time of writing the authors had not installed such a system despite thorough study. It is a shame that this excellent idea has not, as far as I know, seen much development over the several years since this book was written. As the Pardeys point out, it would a fairly complicated product to develop and market, with a very small potential customer base, so there is little incentive for capital to gravitate toward the idea. Maybe someone else will take it up, perhaps with the emphasis on owner-designed and –built systems made of already-available components. I could think of worse places for some government grant money to go.
The book’s involved discussion about flotation for heavy displacement vessels should not hide the important points made in its briefer treatment of light displacement vessels. The lighter a yacht’s displacement, the less flotation is needed to support her in an emergency, and therefore, the more practical that flotation becomes. In lighter boats the emphasis swings from bladders inflated in an emergency toward permanently-installed foam, an inherently simple, low-cost, and reliable solution. I have had two small, light-displacement cruising sailboats with foam flotation, and the storage space lost to it was insignificant, particularly when compared to the peace of mind that was gained. I might not pick a light displacement boat for offshore voyaging due to its more tiring motion, but this ability to easily achieve “unsinkability” is one of the strongest arguments for the type. Certainly this option should weigh against the multihull enthusiast’s criticism of self-righting but sinkable ballasted vessels.

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Rating: 5 / 5 (Votes: 14)
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