Screentime during lockdown

Screentime during lockdown

If, like me, your passions are more than a little vulnerable to the charge of obsession, you may have spent much time during the weeks of coronavirus self-isolation trawling the Internet for inspiration, information and entertainment about sailing. Please share what you have found.

As the owner of a classic wooden yacht, I am much drawn to a series of short films on ******* called ‘My classic yacht’, presented by journalist Dick Durham. In these short video presentations he visits different classic yachts, mainly but not exclusively wooden craft, and is shown around them by their owners. The jingle and the graphics introducing each film are wonderful!

The plethora of sailing websites is a netminer’s dream. I doubt if I have done more than to scratch the surface. Two impressive information exchanges are noonsite and cruisersforum, but each to his own; it depends so much on what you are looking for.

Cyberspace search engines will propel you towards a large number of apps, to assist in everything from wind prediction to finding a berth. My favourite for passage planning is a tool designed for other purposes: Google Earth, which allows measurement of distance in nautical miles and zooming in on port infrastructure. I have used it even while afloat. If it allowed calculation of water depth it would be even better. And if your GPS fails while you are out on the water, a mobile phone with Google Maps works quite impressively near the coast.

On *******, training videos abound. I have never yet found the courage to fly a spinnaker while single-handing, but have seen it done so well so many times on celluloid that I may be tempted to give it a go. There is no doubt that a well-conceived and well-shot film can be a great teaching guide.

For a regatta enthusiast, the offerings on the web run from the impressively professional video recordings of the large Caribbean regattas to some endearingly amateur videos about smaller gatherings such as the classic yacht regatta in Spetses in Greece. The racers among you may also find the Vendée Globe recordings as moving as I do. This year they are better than ever before.

I confess to finding the increasingly popular genre of ‘young-couple-sell-up-and-sail-around-the-world’ videos rather uninspiring. Well done to the many whose tales have encouraged others to discover the beauty of life at sea! Good luck to those who try to get others to fund their sailing through the likes of Patreon. But we’ve all seen dolphins and there is a limit to the amount of inexpertly-hidden advertising and the exaggeration of sea conditions any man can take. By contrast, videos of this year’s Atlantic crossings by a German guy called Martin on a Bavaria 34, or the remarkable tales of Erik Anderaa in the North Sea are well worth watching.

If you share my admiration for classic yachts, don’t miss out on the offcenterharbor website. You have to become a member, a process which is inexpensive, but you gain admission to a friendly community of people all dedicated to building, restoring, maintaining, studying and sharing their knowledge of wooden boats.

On the high street (or ‘in the shopping mall’ for my north American friends) I have a gut resistance to window shopping, but a mere glance at the wooden boats advertised for sale on woodenships.*** is a lovely way to while away a winter’s evening. No doubt there are many similar yachtbroker’s sites.

Netflix is missing a trick by not offering more films (American translation: movies) about or involving sailboats. In recent weeks I’ve watched ‘Master and Commander’ for the second time and Robert Redford in ‘All is lost’ for the third. And even ‘Mamma Mia’ provides moments of titillation for wooden yacht enthusiasts.

The list is endless. Amazon will amaze you with its range of books about sailing. Spotify will give you sailing music playlists. And so on. Please share with me and others your favourites.


(The views expressed here are my own and I receive no financial support or other inducements from any of the commercial ventures listed in this posting.)