Jackie Parry – author


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‘I am not pleased…’ said one of my readers!

‘…I haven’t slept more than 6 hours in two days! I loved both [her] books. Informative, funny, intelligent writing by a talented lady.’

'You won't be able to put it down.' (Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

‘You won’t be able to put it down.’
(Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

And, the reviews continue…

‘As always, she writes with honesty and humour to engage sailors and non sailors alike.’

‘A wonderful read. Jackie’s writing style exudes energy and joie de vivre.’

‘I got it this morning and I can’t put it down.. .’

Be Warned! You may lose yourself in the pages.... (Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Be Warned! You may lose yourself in the pages….
(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

These readers are reading about:

  • My husband working in a brothel in Barbados
  • Nine years on a ten metre boat
  • Pirates
  • Muggers
  • Man-eating crocodiles
  • Boat crashes
  • Storms
  • Sinking
  • Whale collision
  • French Gigolos
  • An impossible love
  • Mending a broken heart

…and so much more….

Playing with sealions

Playing with sealions

Rescued from man-eating crocs!

Rescued from man-eating crocs!

For about the price of a decent cup of coffee you can lose yourself in my world – where I stepped into a fairy-tale relationship with one man, while grieving for another….. More details HERE….and…

Don’t forget to write – let me know what you think….

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An Englishman, Irishman, and Australian were at a market….

We are loving Buzet sur Baise. We’ve perfect autumn weather, a safe and quiet port, nice friends just down the road, all within a wonderful quaint village.

With one week of good weather forecast, Noel and I are busily painting the top sides of Rouge Corsair. It’s so easy to forget how hard painting is, this morning every part of my body aches, including my fingers!

Sunday morning we took a break and cycled 5 kilometres (uphill) to a vide-greniers (garage sale). Although it was more like a huge market with just about everything you could ever want – good stuff too.

Image courtesy of federico stevanin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of federico stevanin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Within the bustling, friendly market we met, an Australian, an Irishman and an Englishman, who have invited Noel to play cricket, tennis and go cycling. Noel thought this was rather nice, but did wonder, ‘can’t we just sit under the shade of a tree and drink beer?’

Image courtesy of jiggoja at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chestnuts! Image courtesy of jiggoja at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While Noel tried to convince the locals that beer, shade and trees, really was the way to go, I had great fun searching for rugs to insulate our floor for the coming winter, some blankets and bits and pieces. We had great fun with Lorna and Kim from MV Sunflower and a great giggle coming home – thankfully it was downhill!

3 rugs on the back of Noel's bike, our work-mate bench in Kim's basket (as well as their stuff) - I had a full back-pack and panniers (as did Noel!)

3 rugs on the back of Noel’s bike, our work-mate bench in Kim’s basket (as well as their stuff) – I had a full back-pack and panniers (as did Noel!)

To find out about the calendar of garage sales, flea markets and flea markets of France, Switzerland and Belgium, dial up: http://vide-greniers.org/

And if ‘coins’ are your thing, look up Richard Lytton. He is a numistatist (and a rather nice chap), www.gascogne-monnaie.com (Australian and world coins).

Kim and his  (and our) 'load'!

Kim and his (and our) ‘load’!


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Top tips on saving money while cruising

Buying a boat is just the start of clearing out of your bank accounts. The vacuuming of your wallet will continue if you want to maintain a seaworthy boat. So, how can you save money while cruising?

It’s easier than you think to make savings, there are reams of money saving tips and advice in Cruisers’ AA, here’s a selection to get you started:

AND CRUISERS’ AA WILL BE OUT ON KINDLE NEXT MONTH!

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Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1) Balance

  • You need to balance time, money and effort. Invest time in sourcing different prices and quotes for expensive items (sails for instance); but saving a twenty cent bus fare by walking five miles is a waste of time and effort.

2) Boat equipment

  • Always ask for a discount in a marine store; they are all competitive and will more than likely accommodate you a little.
  • Good quality equipment can be ‘cheaper’ in the long run, so try to think long-term, especially for the pricier items.

3) Shopping

  • Buy clothes, shoes, material and tools (if available) in recycling shops; many of these items can be new or nearly new, in great condition and incredibly cheap.
  • Buy your favourite wines less often, or accustom your palate to cheaper wine. It is amazing what you get used to.
  • Avoid visiting the touristy shops. Go where the locals shop and eat; you may have to change your diet slightly, but isn’t travelling about new experiences?

4) Health & Well-being

  • Learn to cut your own hair and your partner’s – it’s easy!
  • We purchase more expensive sun-cream for our face, brands that do not sting your eyes and are easy to apply. For our bodies we buy cheaper brands, they all work.
  • For sunburn use cold tea to help reduce the redness and pain.
  • Drink plenty of water, it helps your body naturally moisturise your skin.
  • Image courtesy of Ikunl at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of Ikunl at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5) Wear & Tear

  • The key to cruising on a budget is to check your equipment and to make good decisions about how much life it has left. It is tricky when money is tight, but we take time to think about potential purchases and put ourselves in the position of being at sea. If there is bad weather – that expensive item may seem very cheap all of a sudden.
  • For example, new sails are an expensive item, but well cut sails produce a lot more drive, which reduces how much time a passage will take. Thoughts of our old sails tearing during a 3,000 nautical mile voyage made the purchase a lot easier to swallow.

6) Gifts

  • Each year, for Christmas, we set a ridiculous budget, such as $5 per person. Recycle shops or local craft stalls are sought and rummaged through. The gift has to be as useful and meaningful as possible.

7) Eating on board/Eating out

  • Budget cruising means lots of meals on board. This can sound fun or easy, but the reality can become quite different. It does mean work. For two of us, that is six meals a day in total. Including the purchasing of food and the clearing up afterwards, it can feel like a full time job.
  • Share & prepare: We share the cooking so neither of us gets too bogged down.
  • Have fun: We do go out occasionally and forget about the budget – we think this is healthy and try not to dwell on it too much.
  • Balance: How you eat on board is a four-way balance between food availability, your palate, effort and budget. The more effort you put into sourcing reasonably priced supplies and cooking on board for the majority of time, then the less you will spend.
  • Enjoy the outdoors: If you are out for the day, it does not always mean you have to eat in a restaurant or cafe for lunch. We often buy fresh rolls at the bakery, a couple of bananas and an avocado, and find a nice bench to sit on. More often than not, we have our own water bottles with us and can find a park to enjoy our lunch in.
  • Eating Out: Limit your dining out to only once a week when in port.
  • Leftovers: When eating in a restaurant, we always take our leftovers home. I never feel embarrassed about this, it is my meal and I have paid for it. The people in the restaurant are always delighted that we have enjoyed the food so much we want to take it home.
  • Location, location, location: In a foreign port, eat where the locals eat, not the tourists. It’s usually cheaper and better! Avoid the main street and venture further in to the back streets.
  • Good meat is expensive in most places. Save your cash by reducing how much meat you eat and enjoy the added benefit of a healthier diet.

8) Make it fun

  • Declare that for one week there will be no eating out and that everyone must contribute to galley duties, even if it is just meal ideas. New/inspired ideas win rewards at the end of the week. Save money and lead up to the end of the week with a special meal and awards night.
  • Image courtesy of nirots at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of nirots at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In summary

Being passionate about everything we do is important to us, including living on a budget. Finding an alternative that is cost effective is very gratifying. Sticking to a budget is not all about missing out; every dollar you save is one less you have to earn. It’s not all about cutting back either; it’s finding a better way to live.

Over time, you will be amazed at how resourceful you become and realise that living on a budget is not repressive; it is actually a fun and exciting challenge. It improves your life and way of thinking. Do not cut corners for necessary equipment and supplies, just prioritise and think about what you actually need, not want.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Cruisers’ AA will be out on Kindle next month!….. follow us at www.jackieparry.com for more details.


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Journey Reflections as the page turns to the next chapter…..

As we approach our winter mooring, we’re starting to focus on the next part of our adventure, and look back at what we’ve achieved so far. The journey has been a pleasure and, conversely, a bit like a Carry-On film too. After the ‘challenges’ of buying a boat in a country where we don’t speak the language, we are now reaping the rewards.

First: The challenges Hauling-out, survey and work in a foreign place, with an angry broker (the sellers’ broker) as the sellers had accepted our low offer (our fault?) – AND, secret ‘meetings’ between the yard and previous owners, where we could never figure out what was going on and always felt like we were being led up the garden path to rip-off-land – made a rather stressful time. But, it all worked out in the end – and rather well!

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After we’d traversed the buying process, in order to get going Noel spent two-and-a-half days bent over like a crone in the engine room, he fixed umpteen leaks in the wheelhouse windows and we painted a 18.5 metre boat (“why’d you buy something so big?”) – hanging up-side-down to reach the hull or balancing in the leaking dinghy.

Jackie painting (cutting in - NOT fun!)

Jackie painting (cutting in – NOT fun!)

Meanwhile, a cat adopted us, which was nice until we found out she had at least one other home. We tried to convince the cat to go home and stopped feeding her, but there was a bountiful supply of field mice. The cat stayed and continued to leave a trail of gall bladders on the carpet and mats to denote her preferred nocturnal eating spots.

Lily sleeping!

Lily sleeping!

When we set off, we tackled low bridges that caused palpitations. We fudged the drawing of the bridge curves, guessing the water height (after flood rains), and we considered several alternate suggestions from other nomadic-brained cruising folk, such as ourselves:

  1. Load up the boat with passers-by at the feared bridges, offer free beer as an enticement.
  2. Get close to the bridge and ‘GUN-IT-MATE’, which would indeed lower the roof height, as these barges do sink considerably at speed in shallow water (about 3″- 4″)

The problem with these ideas was:

  1. How do I overcome Noel’s inherited Scottish antipathy to providing ‘free beer’?
  2. We didn’t think we had the bottle to approach the offending 200 year old stone arches with 25 tonnes at 6 knots. “What could go wrong?”

We took a day off prior to tackling the low bridges, we had flood rain that night that really ensured the adrenaline reached peak levels…. with clenched teeth and other body parts…we made it – just.

Phew!

Phew!

We made good time south and Noel swam in The Med, he said, “It was very nice, no surf, dead flat and I managed to avoid impaling my feet on the broken glass and syringes.” (I have trouble swimming in the sea, since my shark encounter…another story for another day!)

More recently, we have sacked the planning staff on board that we used on the current co-ordination of events. (Fancy coming so far south for warmer climes to head north again!) There are vacancies in the afore mentioned position. So far, no takers.

Now: The Rewards Each day we trickle along, accompanied by the ripple from our bow. Otters ruffle the silky surface, my favourites, the Kingfishers, flash bright blue and vivid orange within the canal’s banks.

The rewards!

The rewards! Pommevic put on a marvellous display of pink and yellow this morning – (see map below).

It’s a real feast for our eyes, as we putter through villages, rolling hills, and resplendent trees where horses frolic. The relaxed way of travel heightens our senses, the breeze picks up the tangy perfume of autumn, and in the evenings iridescent dragonflies flit in the fading light.

We hear the throaty calls of the dawn chorus, eerily hidden by heavy mist. We are enjoying the cool nights where we feel the pleasure of wearing warm clothes.

Puttering through pretty villages.

Puttering through pretty villages – Moissac.

We’re no longer sailing but we’re still weather watching. Wind is still to be respected and, now, rain too.

The journey is becoming etched on our skin, by way of smiles; created by new friends, passing acquaintances, helpful locals and friendly waves.

It’s been an honour to do this journey and we’re having the time of our lives. It’s all there for the taking, just waiting for us and anyone with a sense of adventure.

The next part of the adventure We plan to renovate below decks and enjoy living in a small, friendly village, Buzet sur Baise. It’s here we’ll re-acquaint with friends that we’ve made along the way, and hopefully make new friends (while creating a nice home too).

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Pommevic is gorgeous – free, safe mooring with electric and water (48 hrs maximum) – so nice, we stayed today!

map

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It smells different here

We’re in south France. Rouge Corsair is galloping along and we can’t quite believe we are down near the Med already.

Gallician - moored on the bank, just a short stroll from the pretty village.

Gallician – moored on the bank, just a short stroll from the pretty village.

It smells different here. The salt air is refreshing, the Medittranean breeze is cooling. The dry grass is a contrast to the lush paddocks that we saw in the middle of France, but the harshness of the land reminds us of Australia – where things sting and stick-in you!

Gallician location

Gallician location – on the Canal du Rhone a Sete

We’ve made good time, enjoying the scenery pass us by is a heavenly way of viewing France. The friendly waves, the great (free) tie up places and the fun boat people from all over the world keep us smiling all day.

We love not having a car to worry about and pay for. Freedom is a moving boat and two bicycles.

Work doesn't stop for boats, we all had to squeeze between the floating bollards and the crane!

Work doesn’t stop for boats, we all had to squeeze between the floating bollards and the crane!

The midi is approaching and that’ll be breaking new ground for us.

Approaching the lakes.

Approaching the lakes.


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Cruising Clinic – How much does cruising cost?

When Noel and I decided to go cruising, as a complete beginner I had two very pertinent questions on my mind. I asked these questions as we hopped on the back of Noel’s motorbike, searching for a boat.

‘So, what’s it going to cost, running a boat?’

He replied, ‘Everything we’ve got.’

A little perplexed, but not yet deterred, I then asked, ‘What’s so great about sailing anyway?’

Noel, with his brutal honesty and years of experience with boats replied, ‘Getting in to port.’

‘Good grief’, I muttered. After about two hours of silence while I digested these little gems, I said, ‘Why do it then?’

Without hesitation Noel responded, ‘It’s the closest thing to freedom I know.’

That did it for me. It was right then that I was sold on the idea. Sixteen years later I still see the wisdom in his answers.

What's so great about sailing . . .?

What’s so great about sailing . . .?

I’ll write about the ‘what’s so good about sailing?’ question down the line. Right now, I guess you’re thinking, ‘well so what?, that doesn’t help me very much.’ However, think about this: cruising WILL cost you everything you have, if you let it.

So, let’s look at the right questions to ask to see if we can make sense of all this:

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

2) What will it cost to run?

3) How will I earn money along the way?

4) How can I save money along the way?

Boats can be as expensive or as cheap as you make them. We find that living on board is a cheaper way to live, but we know how to save money, I am extremely prudent with our dollars and we employ smart tactics. AND you have to start with a good boat, then maintain it – constantly (a job a day, however big or small).

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

Now, let’s try and find some answers.

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat? Whatever budget you have it is extremely likely that you will find a boat you love for a ‘bit’ more and go over your budget. This amount does NOT include:

a) all the unexpected problems found during survey that need to be fixed

b) all the things the vendor neglected to tell you that needed to be fixed

c) all those things that just pop up at inopportune times that need to be fixed

d) on-going maintenance and repairs

e) additional equipment (your own ideas/wants)

Summary: Keep at least 10% of your budget for those unexpected issues.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

2) What will it cost to run? It depends on where you started from. If you are really lucky and have a good, well maintained boat, then it will also depend upon:

a) the size of your boat*

b) amount of use (little use is not always a good thing)

c) your skills (can you maintain it and carry out repairs? Or do you need help?)

d) your time

*(great examples on actual living costs on various sized boats, on Sail Far Live Free: http://www.sailfarlivefree.com/2012/12/what-does-it-cost-to-go-cruising.html)

3) How will I earn money along the way? Be creative. Use the skills you have. Other cruisers need expertise in all areas. We’ll tackle this subject later on too. However, running your own business is not easy on land, don’t expect it to be easy while cruising. You have the added challenge of communications.

4) How can I save money along the way? This is the easy bit – if you are prepared to change your lifestyle.

Stop spending it! Really. Don’t eat out all the time, figure out how to fix stuff yourself. Learn how to get the best bargains on boat equipment, learn how to keep food for weeks and weeks (without a fridge if necessary, we did for nine years), anchor out and avoid mariner fees. I could go on and on, and I did in our book Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen). I’ll supply more tips down the line, on each of these subjects.

If this all sounds off putting, well you’ve given up too soon. Cruising life is fantastic, but it is not for everyone. If you like a challenge, can adapt to new situations and want to enjoy your life in a way you never dreamed of – then maybe it is for you.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

I’ll write more on all these subjects (1-4) in the coming weeks. Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) covers all this and much more in far greater detail, see www.jackieparry.com for more information – available in paperback & ebook). (Or look at the top of this page and follow the links!)

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!