Ipods in the wind

When the old time whaling vessels which were often at sea for a year or two at a time met up in mid-ocean they were hungry for conversation and news. They often came aboard each others vessels. they called this having a gam. Many sailors still know this antique word and find it an ace in the hole in a hotly contested game of scrabble.

Of course sailors still like to have a gam. We raft up at anchor or lounge around in the cockpit while tied up at the marina. It’s all about the talk, trading news and war stories. New media has provided a modern way of sitting in on a gam, connecting friendly sailors across globe. to come aboard and participate all you need is a computer, iPod or mp3 player.

The world of podcasting reaches across an amazing range of topics. I have been following many different podcasts in the last several years because of my interests in sailing, flying, theology, politics, history, and music. there are a few more I won’t bother to mention and yes there is not enough time in our sadly deficient structure of only 24 hours in a day. I want to introduce some of my favorites to you. This list will not be comprehensive because naturally I haven’t listened to all of the podcasts available in an iTunes search on the word “sailing.” I get 177 but of course a simple word search always nets a bit of bottom trash along with the fish.  Here are some of my favorites.

1. Boattalk – A monthly radio show broadcast by WERU-FM.  Hosted by Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague who know there way around boat carpentry and yacht delivery through real-time experience. This podcast has a nice direct conversational style, but beware the humorous shoals.  There be puns here, as the fellows “contemplate all things naval.”

They are occasionally joined by Giffy Full, master marine surveyor and a man not given to mince words.  Even though the subject matter is often very local to Downeast Maine I always find it fascinating.  Can’t resist the regional accent.  Makes me hungry for fresh lobster every time.

2. Furled Sails– “Weekly sailing podcast focusing on cruising and recreational sailing.”Noel and Christy are up to 150 episodes.  The production is not as polished and professional sounding as the more commercial efforts are.  However, I have been amazed at the selection of guests they have interviewed.  Among the many are John Guzzwell, Sven Yrvind, Ted Brewer, Sir Chay Blyth, Phil Bolger, John Wellsford and more.  The list includes boat builders, designers, racers and, world cruisers.  More than a few of these guests have written well known books.  The interviews are interesting because I have read so many of these in years past and they are not the sort of well known personalities that get face time in the popular press.

This show is great fireside listening during the off-season.  These folks demonstrate in good style that you don’t have to be network talking heads to get people to open up and talk about what they do and know best.  It gives me hope as I gear up to do some podcasting of my own.

3. SeaKayakPodcasts.com – The host for this expertly done show is Simon Willis, a British videographer.  His interviewing style is very engaging and the production values for the show are quite good.  he talks to a wide variety of kayakers and kayak instructors and builders.  There is a lot of good stuff about expedition style paddling and Greenland kayaking.  As a beginning kayaker I find this podcast to be motivating.  It makes me want to do my best and stay safe.

4. Maine Built Boats Report – This a podcast and website with an agenda.  It puts a lot of effort into promoting the state of Maine’s boat building industry.  It’s a worthy goal and a good effort.  iTunes only lists one video podcast episode although there are a bunch more on the web site which can be viewed in quicktime format.  I seem to recall a number of audio only episodes but they are not readily apparent.  They may be in the middle of changes to upgrade the show.  the video s are hosted by Gary Jobson and of course very professionally done.  I haven’t viewed most of them but you can bet I’m about to start.

There are many more nautical podcasts available .  The quality varies and a lot of them have pod-faded so the episodes available may be rather dated.  All this is still great fare for temporarily dry docked sailors such as myself.  If you are looking for some maritime motivation just make yourself fast to an iPod or MP3 player.  The wind is singing the siren’s call over the internet.

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