Many of us wouldn't step on to a boat for the first time with the view to sailing around the world.
But Bega Valley resident Jackie Parry did just that. And what followed was a whirlwind of adventure, culminating in her landing in Brogo ready to share her experience and knowledge.
"Back then I didn't know the front end from the back end of a boat! I ran away from the UK when I had just turned 27. At that time, the guy I was about to marry sadly died, and against my counsellor's advice I flew to the other side of the world."
Jackie then met and married Noel within five months.
"We were both a bit disillusioned with life, and Noel suggested that we buy a boat and see where we end up. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so we did."
It wasn't that simple, of course, with leaving friends and family, plus the huge learning curve of the marine world.
"I was a shy, un-worldy English girl with a new Aussie husband, a new culture, and suddenly a new boating world to fathom. It was a very daunting time."
For more than 20 years they sailed the world one-and-half times, cruised the European Canals in a 1920s Dutch barge, explored inland waterways such as The Great Loop in America, and worked on various vessels as skippers around the world. Jackie was one of the first NSW women skippers with Marine Rescue.
"The teaching started when we returned from our circumnavigation. We were a bit lost, so we thought we'd learn how to skipper boats."
The pair signed up for the six-week full time Master 5 course at TAFE Moruya (Captain's ticket up to 24 metres). Where a class of 12 male students and one woman galloped through everything commercial relating to boats. The reward for top student went to Jackie, jointly with another participant.
The head of Maritime at TAFE asked her to continue teaching the next class. Since then, with her business partner, Shelley Wright, under the umbrella of SisterShip Magazine, they've developed SisterShip Training and combined their team's vast commercial and recreational experience to create courses for recreational boaters.
On the June 1-2 this year she will stand in front of two dozen eager, and maybe nervous, eyes and recall how she felt the first time she learned about boats.
The two-day course, entitled Introduction to Coastal Navigation will be held at the Bega Valley Training Rooms in Merimbula.
The program begins with the basics, looking at a chart and studying all the symbols and text, moving on to plotting and finding your position without the use of GPS.
"I am passionate about good seamanship and that means navigation skills where you do not entirely rely on electronic charts."
Jackie started out, herself, with wide, nervous eyes as a recreational boater and now with Noel they bring you international commercial and recreational experience to help boaters enjoy their lifestyle in and around the water safely.
"I completely understand how daunting navigation or any part of boating is, so I teach with that in mind - there's never a silly question in our courses, we offer ongoing support anytime, both via email and phone. We also have great fun and the events tend to create a wonderful networking opportunity."
Aside from the courses, Jackie is always happy to help fellow boaters, authors, and she supports new writers.
"My favourite quote is: 'Be an encourager, there are far too many critics in the world already."
More information can be found at SisterShip Training's website.
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