Episode-902- Sailing as a Prepper Skill Set — 33 Comments

  1. Excellent! Been sailing since I was a kid. Well I’m still a kid to many people (21) but I do love to sail! great topic

      • I’m hoping to build my own boat and do a pacific transoceanic someday. We’ve got the same dream Franz! Just need to finish my BS next year and start saving

  2. Great interview Jack!

    Franz–I hear a lot of my own thoughts and dreams in this interview. I read Dove when I was about 15 and have wanted to do liveaboard sailing in foreign waters ever since. I also hadn’t taken any steps to sail until after I was married and my wife signed me up for a sailing class as a gift to me. I’m from San Diego and we were living downtown.

    We lived about 5 miles uphill from the San Diego harbor, so I began formulating a bike to boat BO strategy. San Diego’s biggest regularly occurring threats are fires and earthquakes, so it makes pretty good sense given the proximity, and amount of overland traffic that could gridlock the freeways in a hurry.

    I completed my ASA beginner’s certification. I made friends with the instructor who had been sailing all over the world and was looking forward to being out on the water a lot more. Then out of the blue, my wife got a job offer, and we moved (of all places) to Utah! haha We’ve been living in Utah county for the past year and I had never really heard about people sailing on the GSL until now.

    Since moving to Utah, I’ve also been in contact with Scott Williams quite a bit, and enjoyed many of his stories. Not sure if you’re familiar with him, but one of his lesser known books, “Kayaking the Caribbean” is a really cool story of his 2 year journey through the Caribbean via kayak and sailboat. He is a big prepper and has a few different sites on prepping and boat-building.

    Anyways, just thought I’d reach out and say thanks! I’ll have to swing by your sites to stay apprised of your journeys.

    • Dan

      I am just finishishing a cruising kayak I built from they have plans and construction details. I am not sure where I will paddle it. Mabe down Labrith Canyon sometime on the Colorado But I have never met Scott Williams. He sounds like someone who has some good stories to tell on my website I would love to interview him sometime. If you can have him contact me at my website.

      • Definitely. I will reach out to Scott and pass the word along. He’s a busy dude but I’m sure he’d love to chat.

        In the meantime, if you feel like it, you can check out his various projects and books at (he has a handful of sites, but this is the one I frequent the most)

        I think you guys will definitely have a lot to talk about.

  3. Franz,

    Nice to hear from a fellow woodworker!

    Interesting show today,
    (I listened while working, so I may have missed a few things.)

    A quick couple of questions from a Land Lover.

    -Could- or did you capture rain water?

    -And speaking of rain,… How- or- did you even bother to avoid severe storms? (scary stuff!)

    -And finally, how did you handle security?
    I.E.- Vulnerabilities, such as Pirates on the ocean, and perhaps the usual dirtbag element on riverbanks.

    • I have never had problems with pirates or really worried about them. On storms if the weather forcast is bad I just try and stay at anchor and enjoy a book,if I am caught in one I just try and find a safe port ASAP. On the crossing I just dealt with them, it was like living in a rollercoaster sometimes. I have never needed to gather rainwater yet but have ways to do it if I ever needed to.
      I dont carry a gun on board because of customs hassels. But I do have a speargun and flareguns but quite honestly I have never felt threatened. Most people are great everywhere in the world. Also I lock the boat when not on board thats about it.

    • If you are interested in another cruisers perspective, I sailed a 32′ yacht across the South Pacific for 15 years as far west as Australia and many points inbetween.
      1.We captured rain water when we could. At anchor we had a tent in the rigging with hose fittings. When you attached the hose and pulled the tent, it formed a funnel and the hoses ran into the water tanks. In a deluge we could fill 2 40 gal plus 4 ea 5gal in as little as an hour.
      2. We tried to avoid storms, set sail in a weather window, but on the passages, we are always prepared. We’ve been in severe weather and its not fun but its part of the gig. We shorten sail and batten down the hatches. Often you just go a little faster and rougher but at other times we would heave to, ride it out in a specific configuration that kind of kept you stationary although you travel at a few knots.
      3. The pirates typically go for larger vessels but there is plenty of theft of items like special hardware and winch handles, binoculars, etc. You have to be careful who you let on the boat and watch at all times. Not so much other cruisers but in 3rd world countries, you are a rich person (no matter how spartan your boat is) and what is a $30 piece of boat hardware is a huge find for them. Also shoes, fishing gear, hand held radios and GPS. You have to be careful of the dinghy, those can go missing. Kind of like here in America, if you leave your garage door open, it may get cleaned out without your knowing it.

      • @Chupa Cabra

        Thanks for the reply,
        That’s more along the lines of what I was thinkin’.
        I am not a fearful man,… If need be, I’ll stand toe-to-toe with any man or beast, win or lose.
        The only two things that give me pause are a violent stormy sea-(especially at night), and tornados.
        As far as boating goes, I prefer fresh water, and I don’t like to be outside of swimming distance to shore ;-).

        As for pirates, I was thinkin more about a ransom or theft and murder on the open ocean… I’d view that as a low probability -but high risk scenario, always, better to be prepared for the worst.

  4. Great interview.

    Regarding security, have you ever had problems/concerns with pirates? Did you keep any means of defense on board?


  5. This episode reminds me to learn a broad range of skills and travel methods when having to bug out:
    Riding Horseback
    Riding a Motorcycle
    Driving Manual Transmissions
    Driving Vehicles with Air Brakes

    Plus, it’s a good way to remind those that live in large urban areas near water that evacuating via water may be your best and safest way to get out of Dodge short of evacuation by air.

    One resource that would come in handy is a website that has navigable waterway maps, anyone know of such a website?

    • You can look at the army corp of engineers website for maps of waterways considered navigatible

  6. My short story for Franz;

    I learned to sail at a young age from my father. We sailed on the inland Michigan lakes. I grew up on Sunfish, Lasers, Banshies, and Hobbie Cats. I even got a hold of some sort of small cabin boat on a brisk day. A zephyr I think… During my late teenage years I would take some buddies out and rent a Hobbie cat. The last time we went out shortly before we all joined the service(s) the boat rental shop keeper said “now it’s an extra $20 if you turtle it and I have to bring out the motor boat to right you”. He had us made…

    So we’re on the water and the wind is perfect. We are flying on the Hobbie Cat 18; one pontoon in air. I have a great run going and I am manning both the sail and the rudder. My buddy is laying on the low side trampoline enjoying the ride and the view. As I take a quick survey of the boat I note that the pontoon in the water is just a fraction on an inch below the water. Not good. Do I let out the sail to slow down? Hell no. I shout to my buddy to move back to shift the weight to the rear a bit more. A fraction of a second after he said “what?” the boat took a sudden and violent turn straight toward the bottom of the lake. The catapult effect was impressive. As we were both jettisoned off the front of the boat my buddy was still in the relaxed position while flying through the air with a quizzical look on his face.

    Good times.

    Franz I enjoyed your story. Excellent podcast.

    • Mark L.

      Thank you for your story if you think you could I would love to hear some of your travel stories at my website it would be a good way to share them with others. I’ve set my website up to be primarily an audio-based website and I’m hoping for people to submit their audio stories in an MP3 format. I will review them and then have them posted on the website and also allow your friends to download them through iTunes. This is shameless promotion of my website I understand but it is at

      I hope to hear from anybody that has some stories to tell.


  7. Felt so relaxed it went by so fast. reminded me of the podcast with the older gentleman who wrote the book about growing vegetables on the west coast. Title eludes me. Great podcast thankyou!

  8. This was a awesome podcast. A few weeks ago I was telling my girlfriend about this exact thing and something I wanted to look into and then BAM Jack does one lol.

    She couldn’t believe it 🙂 Thanks Jack!

  9. @Franz – ARGGH!!! I’m am UTTERLY jealous.

    You reinvigorated a desire I have to do a crossing with my dad and brother – especially the discussion that you never know when your last day will be. We grew up sailing on a large inland lake and island hopping in the Caribbean leewards. We have had various daysailers and race boats, but never a real cruiser. You FORCED me with jedi mind tricks to spend last night on various sites for more ocean-worthy boats.

    This couples tightly with my “non-employee” road to 100k. I would like to get to a financial place with various ventures that I can manage them from 30-50ft schooner/ketch rigged cruiser (after all 2 is 1, 1 is none, right?) that spends most of its time between 29N95W and 8N60W. Based on one of the ventures raw material needs (cane, molasses), a lot of travel in the eastern half of that square would be a write-off. Now my wheels are turning (or my sails are filling?)

    Fair winds, man. You rock.

    • Thanks to you and everyond for the kind comments. One thing I forgot to mention in the interview is that when I sailed accross the Atlantic I took a 5 month leave of absence from my job as a financial advisor for a major brokerage firm where my income was derived from client commissions (I have since left the commission world formed my own firm and only manage accounts on a fee basis, in the summer I invite clients to join me sailing for up to a week on the boat). But that year in 97 I assumed that I would just take a big hit to my earnings. I was wrong. My clients rewarded me by living my dream and taking a leap of faith with the largest income I had ever had up until that year. They wanted to live vicariously through me. You never know what will happen when you take a leap of faith.

  10. Jack, Franz,

    Thank you for the great interview. I had to stop listening in the middle of it and cannot wait to get back for the remainder!!!


  11. Loved the podcast Franz. You are an inspiration. I love that you built your own boat and vacation home in the mountains. So cool. Can you post some pics of your boat and its phases of construction? That would be really intersting. I bet the woodwork and layout inside is beautiful.

    • This was before the digital age all my photos of the construction process are in slides and I have never converted them. I do have some of the finished boat in jpeg where would I post them? The forum?

      • Not sure. Maybe on flickr and you could post the link here? I would love to see the finished boat. I did see some shots on your youtube posts and it looks like you really have the boat set up nicely for offshore cruising.

        • Craig

          On the banner of my website you will see a boat at anchor which is my boat.

          My boat “See Dream” is a Sam Morse Bristol Channel Cutter which was designed by Lyle Hess. Both Lyle Hess and Sam Moore’s have since passed on but their boats live on which continues to kindle the memory of both of them. Sam told me that I was the last person that he sold a hull and deck, he continued to make Bristol channel cutter’s but he would not sell just hulls and decks because he wanted to control the quality of the finished product. He wanted my boat look good so he did everything he could to help me to make sure I did a good job, I would go out and pick the brains of his shipwrights in the shop mercilessly and he was happy for it.

          I understand that another company bought the molds after they close down the company and has now started manufacturing the boat again but I’m not sure exactly where the company it is located.

  12. Great interview, Jack.

    It is so much better when you just let the guest say whatever he has to say without interrupting him too much.

  13. It was exciting to hear this. I lived on a 32′ catch home-built sailboat from the ages 10-14 with my parents. We purchased the boat from the man who built it. We sailed the Gulf and eastern United States coasts. I was able to captain a sailboat at the age 12. I’ve often thought of our years on the boat and how they would pertain to self-sufficiency.

    I really miss sailing but being a land-locked farmer has made ocean sailing a dream not likely to happen any time soon.

  14. Franz, Thank You that was a wonderful interview. You now have me excited to learn all about sailing and wanting to hop on a river and float out to the ocean 🙂 If I can make the time. I love to learn knots as I work with them a lot at work (lineman) and was surprised you didn’t mention that in the podcast. But I know there was many thinks we didn’t get to in our podcast. What knots would you say are important to know? Found a guy local that has a boat and going to see about learning more about sailing!

    Thank You,
    MT Knives

  15. Thank you for your comment. I didn’t mention knots because it’s something I’d do without thinking. But it becomes painfully obvious to me when I have new guests to join me on my boat and have not the slightest clue of basic knots or how to tie them. I would say the most valuable skill is to learn how to coil a line so that is readily available and doesn’t tangle when you decide that you need to use it. I teach this skill repeatedly to my new crewmembers and it seems surprising to me how difficult it is for most to be able to grasp how to do this. The most important single not to know on the boat is the king of all knots and that’s the Bowline. You should be able to tie the Bowline blindfolded backwards upside down and with one arm. I can tie a bowline 3 separate ways that I can think of easily and probably more ways than that if I start picking my brain. Maybe someday I’ll do a quick YouTube video on the various ways to tie a Bowline and demonstrate the one armed technique. The other knots that I use are the clove hitch two half hitches the quick released half hitch the square not. With those knots she can do pretty much anything you need to do on the boat. But in addition to that you need to know how to use cleat off lines to the dock, how to use Spring lines in addition to the standard dock lines there’s just a lot to learn and you don’t learn without actually doing it.