What makes for great listening in the middle of a big lake?
“Sometimes it’s hard to hear, you know, if it’s really windy. But on a calm day, a long-distance sail is a perfect place to binge a podcast series.”
Jeff Blundell, Scimar’s Creative Director, has been listening to podcasts for about 10 years. Just not always on boats.
“I was a big fan of satellite radio when it first came out. Especially the talk stations. Podcasts were kind of an evolution out of that,” Jeff says.
He has been sailing for about 25 years.
“A buddy of mine bought an old sailboat, a small one like 22 feet, and the two of us learned together,” he adds.
He’s been combining the two for about a decade.
People sail for a lot of different reasons: sometimes it’s social, sometimes it’s competitive. Over the years, Jeff has gravitated to long distance sailing. That includes 300-mile races, and the occasional lake crossing from his home club on the north shore of Lake Ontario, to the American side.
“Every spring I try to cross the lake as early as I can. Usually that’s in May, but last year I crossed in April. It’s a 12-to-14-hour trip and by the time I got back to my dock it was dark and the deck was covered in a sheet of ice,” he recalls.
He’s also started doing a lot of solo sails. Single-handing a 30-foot boat in calm conditions is relatively simple he says, but occasionally it gets busy.
“I try not to be out there in bad weather, but sometimes the forecast is wrong, and you get caught out. That’s when you have to scramble around the boat and get everything sorted. The most important thing is planning ahead. If you imagine all the different scenarios in advance and have the gear you need for each of them close at hand, you’ll be OK.”
“I remember one time I saw a squall coming and I got all my foul weather gear on. Then I rolled up the jib (the smaller sail at the front of the boat.) Next, I reefed the main. That’s when you lower it halfway so the boat still moves, but you aren’t overpowered. Then I took a deep breath and waited.”
Jeff waited and watched, and much to his surprise, the storm missed him.
“The wind up high is sometimes blowing in a different direction than what you feel down at water level. So, the squall that I thought would hit me passed well to the north. I was sitting there all ready for a storm and it was actually a beautiful afternoon,” he laughs.
Those “beautiful afternoons,” alone in the middle of the lake, is when Jeff gets in his podcast listening in.
At the top of his list is the short-format narrative series, “The Memory Palace.” A show that shares the human side of historical moments. Each episode is only 10 minutes long. “Cautionary Tales” is another story-based series that he uses to stay engaged on long solo trips.
And of course there is Scimar’s own series “Inside the Breakthrough,” which pulls stories from history and makes connections to modern innovators.
“Once the sails are set and you are on course, long-distance sailing is actually a lot less demanding than most people realize,” Jeff says. “It’s a perfect time to sit back and let someone tell you a story.”