I just finished reading Jenny's Journey and I'm writing to thank you for
publishing such a thoughtful, insightful, revealing and meticulously crafted
book. I loved it and will re-read it at least once before I pass it along, but
I'm going to want my copy back at some point because Jenny's Journey will reside
permanently among my collection of cruising guides.
I just read your post on the Nordhavn Group, and I wanted to send you a note.
I just finished reading your book, I couldn't put it down, and I am more
inspired than ever to make my dream of cruising to far off places a reality.
Don Cochrane, UK
I just finished, for the second time, your book. This is a great story, very well written. From researching, to buying to updating to outfitting to first cruise--a fantastic overview of what it takes to live the dream.
The lessons learned along the way will be of great benefit to anyone thinking of buying a trawler, or any serious cruising yacht. The first long cruise and the horrible weather encountered proves once again the value of preplanning and experience and that old adage that experience builds expertise with expertise coming from bad experiences!!
The emotional "ups and downs" were well written with no punches pulled.
Nicholas has David very well trained!!
The continual reference to "Jenny" as a living creature made for some very funny stories--seems Jenny "likes" military boats the best!!
The continuing refrigerator saga gives great insight into the trials and tribulations of trouble shooting, after sales support and, if was me, how big a splash the thing would make as I tossed it overboard!!
Buy the book, you won't be disappointed. This book is a great learning tool on what to expect. Worth the effort
Jeff Merrill, Nordhavn
What is it about travelling by sea that speaks to so many of us? If you want to know more detail about what happens after you buy the boat of your dreams (both the good and the bad) then you need to pick up a copy of David Schramm’s new book, “Jenny’s Journey – the reality of living the dream”. This is a great read for trawler owners – past, present and future.
David let me know a few months ago that he was working on this book and I offered to review it once it was done and what a treat! Written in a similar format to Ken Williams’s two great Nordhavn adventure books this is a chronological stream of emails and observations nicely weaved into a blow by blow account of the travels of Jenny, Nordhavn 46 hull number 39. David and Mary bought Jenny to enjoy the dream we all have – ship out to sea on the foam paved ocean undulations that provide a path to anyplace in the world you can imagine…
This is a thick soft cover book (364 pages) with insights, details and lessons learned along the way. David’s narrative classifies many of the aspects involved in acclimating to and then living the cruising lifestyle. I have included a few of my favorite quotes from the book, but they only hint at the complete content which is really a fantastic overview of what you might expect should you follow in Jenny’s wake and do something similar.
Buying the boat before retirement, getting her ready while wrapping up a career and then cutting loose – it’s a voyage of discovery that has been played out countless times before, but never laid out in such honest detail. In addition to travel times, average speeds and GPS locations (you could plot Jenny’s course as a navigational practice drill) we learn about things that break and their costs to fix – including creative solutions to common problems.
The joys of completing trips and exploring new destinations – the people and places along the way including fellow boaters in the cruising community and locals to mingle with are all highlighted.
David correctly characterizes himself as Jenny’s “caregiver” and rejoices as he uncovers her many secrets – a process that is only revealed through time and experiences aboard – the light bulb flashes, the dot connects and a mystery is un-shrouded. .
Jenny is the star, she flirts with other boats and in many ways is the central character of the book. Propelled by “JD” her affectionately named Lugger main engine “Her heart of steel is rock solid” we get to know a lot about the Nordhavn 46. Jenny’s reliable performance in severe sea conditions take care of David and Mary and Jenny’s apparent feature flaws are identified by David over time as he ponder solutions and enacts improvements. David explains the importance of SSB for weather and networking with other cruisers. He learns that time takes on another dimension in his planning – “Weather and tides rule our travel plans as opposed to the calendar. Life is already a bit different”. The adventure is explained philosophically, “Life on board is constant set of challenges coupled with exotic scenery, people and wild life”. David, a physicist by training, figures out tricks like maximizing refrigeration and stashing his portable electronics devices in the oven to protect them when lightning fills the air. He longs for simple things we all take for granted, like maple syrup which he finally restocks along the way. He cleverly uses Google Earth and Weather Buoy to supplement his navigational resources.
David’s time aboard Jenny allows him to shift gears in his internal wiring from the rat race to cruising mode. “It is nice not being on a schedule. I guess if you get past the six month mark you can get into a different groove, a different understanding of cruising. At this point Jenny has become a home instead of a vehicle.”
Having a hookah to dive and inspect the hull gives him a new found freedom underwater and boosts his confidence of self reliance. Basic fishing techniques are developed to harvest free fresh meals from the sea. The joys of land falls and beautiful sunsets go mostly unreported, we all know they are just part of the deal – is suddenly interrupted one night when David catches a thief on board who is trying to depart with valuable electronics. A reminder that in many ways you can’t get away from civilization as long as there are humans. (David provides smart suggestions on how he would handle (and prevent) any future invasions).
David’s faithful dog Nicholas enjoys the entire adventure and is his steadfast companion throughout – traveling with a dog (including air travel to and from the boat and immigration issues provides good planning insights for fellow cruisers who will also explore foreign countries with pets. Sailboats and trawlers share special coves and there are also periods of glorious solitude and heartbreaking loneliness. “No sign of other boats today. It is too nasty out. I am so glad to be on Jenny instead of a sailboat. At least I have windows and some view on the world”. David’s life conclusions are brutally honest and he has clearly enriched his life with these experiences.
Jenny’s Journey covers the time frame from December 2003 to May 2009 and this wonderful second hand Nordhavn 46 travels from British Columbia down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and then across the Caribbean to Florida – a distance of over 8,000 miles..
Don’t be surprised at the money spent to enjoy this lifestyle (David gives some very real cost break downs of his boat breakdowns. The title is appropriate, it is the reality of the dream that makes the story ring clear. David’s writing is remarkably candid in not only disclosing what things cost, but also what fixes he made. The bonds made and support shared with like minded travelers, especially fellow Nordhavn 46 owners Larry and Sue Tomback remind us all that even though you are on your own boat you are also “in the same boat” as your fellow cruisers. If you would like a good book to help you better understand what the life of a cruiser can be I strongly recommend you pick up a copy and enjoy the ride.
I just finished reading your book at long last. Took a few sessions amongst a
Posted by: "Ted" firstname.lastname@example.org tdavey117
I have just finshed reading David Schramm's book Jenny's Journey.
I finished reading JENNY’S JOURNEY last night. For me, it was a very heavy duty and poignant book- but for different reasons than are being discussed so far. As we know, the book is a compilation of David’s logs and e-mails (complete with misspellings and grammar errors) and shows the evolution of his thoughts and feelings over a 5 year time span.
David is obviously a very bright guy (Physicist I think?) and methodically and brilliantly solves the riddles and problems that are embedded in an older (sometimes new!) boat with gremlins and secrets. He also very competently learns and conveys the skills and philosophy of cruising. His joy of finding a simple lifestyle in this crazy complicated world comes thru loud and clear. The “life is good” phrase repeats itself many times throughout the book and was usually written in response to a lovely quiet anchorage, a successful passage, a great meal, solitude or an encounter with good people. We can all relate to that feeling but frankly don’t get to say it or feel it often enough.
I really liked the way that David gave human traits to his boat “Jenny” and to his engine “JD”. That really struck home with me. Jenny was a bit capricious (flirting and keeping secrets) but in the end was a faithful friend who loved the open sea and protected David when the going was rough. JD, was his faithful friend- never complaining and always ready; only asking for clean fuel.
I was also very touched by David’s affection for his dog Nicholas. Marcia and I have a dog very similar to Nicholas and completely understand the companionship that he provided.
However, not long into the book, I saw a secondary story emerging. About 50 pages before David wrote “Mary is not happy..” ,I was already picking up the scent. Since the story of the boat and the places visited is somewhat old hat to me and already well documented by others, I began to focus on this unfolding human drama. As the pages were turned, I sadly watched the marriage crumble- with Mary leaving the boat in Panama “and probably not coming back”.
Was Mary a cold hearted woman who sabotaged the effort, or was David a brilliant high IQ guy who was clueless of his wife’s feelings and needs? (Mary is not a cold hearted woman. DAS) We don’t really know because David isn’t writing to that subject and there wasn’t any background or detail given. I was fascinated as I watched David’s personal life unravel while his cruising skills continued to evolve. David was completely candid (almost obliviously candid) as he described his clumsy romantic encounters in Cartagena and his temporary fascination with young 3rd world girls- who probably seemed uncomplicated and easy to please compared to what he was used to.
With this book on my mind, I was especially mindful of several wonderful “Nordhavn” ladies. At the FLIBS, I spent time with Mary Flanders and Debbie Heiniger. Both are charming, lovely, competent and fully engaged partners in the boating lifestyle. Also (chicken and egg?) they are both loved by and in love with their husbands Scott and Rick. The same dynamics apply to Christi Grab and husband Eric. I could name many other successes in the Nordhavn world and the dynamics are similar.
At the recent Nordhavn Rendezvous, Bob Senter played on the humorous message “hug your Lugger”. I think that we can also add “hug your wife”. Ultimately, David’s marriage failed before his Lugger and this doomed his cruising life that he loved so much.
I finished this boat with a melancholy feeling of sadness- but with hope that
David’s journey will continue and ultimately have a happy ending.
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