BOOKS TO READ
Two Can Sail The “5 Step Plan” to Buy a Boat to Go Cruising By Captains Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine Review by Steve Morrell
met Jeff and Jean about 12 years ago at a Tampa Bay regatta where they sailed their beautiful 52-foot ketch, Polyphonic. I learned that Jean was a yacht surveyor, and that they did deliveries and instruction, and had done a lot of cruising in the Caribbean and the East Coast. Over the years, I watched them develop a program which concentrated on helping couples learn to sail, cruise and live together on a sailboat—in harmony. They are both very likeable and know as much about sailboats as anyone I know. I would seriously trust their opinion on a particular boat and its abilities. In fact, they offer themselves as consultants to people, most often couples, who are looking to In their words, “The 5 Step Plan is a guide to the things you need to learn to go from dreamer to cruiser with someone you love while avoiding needless, possibly dangerous, drama along the way.” That pretty much sums up their program. The 5 Step Plan begins with—you guessed it—Step 1: Sample the Lifestyle; Learn to Sail. In other words, just don’t go out and buy a boat and leave the dock in it. Go take a sailing vacation, maybe a crewed charter—sample the lifestyle. Their advice will help ensure that your first “sampling” of the lifestyle is a successful one, as first impressions have a big impact. The same goes with the next part of Step 1: Learn to sail, and again, this book's advice will help any couple choose the right school in the right place at the right time of the year in the right weather. Step 2 is simple: Get time on the water. This can include: crewing in a race, joining a sailing club, buying a small sailboat, chartering a boat. Chartering is a big deal in this step and Jeff and Jean take you through what can be one of the most important steps on the journey to cruising, as in this step you might find out what kind and size of boat you
want. In fact, much of this step is dedicated exactly to this subject, which leads you into the next step, Step 3: Buy the Right Boat Step 3 is a big step, since it is going to require spending a lot of money and it’s important you don’t waste it. Jeff and Jean take you through five key points: budget, used or new; coastal cruiser or bluewater cruiser; quality vs. price; monohull or catamaran; and interior and exterior decisions. This step takes up more space than any of the other steps, but just slightly more so than the next step, Step 4: Learn Your Boat. Learning about your boat will come with time, whether you like it or not, but Jeff and Jean go through a process which will help you learn about your boat much faster and more thoroughly—including making drawings of the locations of all the systems. But Jeff and Jean take it far beyond learning where your boat systems are located. They go into learning those systems, making repairs, hiring work done, power sources, rigging, electronics, etc. It’s no surprise this step takes up a lot of room. Last, but not least, is Step 5: Get Advanced Training. This includes training in safety, weather, navigation and a multitude of other subjects which one might also call “continuing education”—because whether you like it or not, you will get educated in these subjects one way or the other— meaning by experience, if need be—but being prepared for them with advanced training is definitely smarter. Throughout the book, Jeff and Jean give continuous examples of couples they’ve worked with (“with their names changed to protect the innocent”), along with real situations they’ve run into, like emergencies and mechanical failures, which brings the book down to reality. Plus— each step has a checklist which will help you get through that step so you can progress to the next one. All in all, this is a great book, and I’ve learned several things myself just browsing its pages. This book would be a great guide for couples—or anyone, for that matter—considering buying a boat and cruising, whether local, coastal or blue water cruising. Two Can Sail is available on Jeff and Jean’s website, www.TwoCanSail.com.