A tale of two sailing podcasters

It didn't make any sense to me at first, how two guys from seemingly very different backgrounds, could end up tied to the same place, doing pretty much the same kind of thing at about the same time, without ever knowing about the other, far, far away from the nearest place that the thing they do happens?

Get that?

Right,  let's see. I come from Lancaster County, PA…  Amish country if you will. Born and raised, lived there my whole life… Right up until last summer.

Andy grew up near Reading, PA, about 40 minutes north. He didn’t even know there was a City of Lancaster, 70 thousand people strong, deep within Lancaster County, just thought it was one big never ending Amish Farm you drove past on the way to somewhere else.

Me, I’m in my mid 40’s, midlife-crisis pending, 

Andy is a spry thirty something, full of piss and vinegar. 

Andy’s been a world traveler, ocean voyager, live by the seat of your pants kind of guy.  

I’m lucky if I get out of the Mid Atlantic region once every coupla years.

Andy is a goal oriented adventurer/health nut who loves physical activities such as running marathons, something called an Ultra-Marathon, biking, hiking, swimming, yadda, yadda, yadda. He reportedly doesn’t even own a TV [this is true! –Andy].

Honestly he makes me jealous everytime I even think about going to the gym. At one point in his youth he claims to have been more average than you would think he could have  been just by looking at him... Not sure I really believe that, but he decided to make changes in his approach to life. At one point he was seriously pursuing a career as a golf pro. Like the golf swing, Andy knew “Tempo was everything, Perfection unobtainable,” choosing to seek a balance in life, while still striving to make his mark in this world.

Me, well I've certainly got a TV and I'm not afraid to use it!

Truly I would love a quiet paddle on the lake on occasion, if I could find such an opening in my hectic work schedule where the weather was actually nice enough to enjoy it. I do like the occasional hike here and there, maybe a camping trip from time to time, I do try to get to the gym at least once a month or so, but honestly in my down time I’m much more comfortable watching TV in my living room, smart phone in my hand or laptop in front of me. 

I do try to take care of myself in some regards, but fail miserably more often than not. My default is escapism, and I spent a good part of my life escaping to the bar or the bottom of a pack of smokes and bottle of something alcoholic.  I still like to sit around the fire pit sipping a rum drink or glass of wine in the backyard or heading out to a smoky bar for the occasional live band and a few beers, but haven't been partaking in those activities nearly as much lately in my advanced years.

We'll get back to escapism here in a moment, for now let's just say on first examination, we are two pretty different dudes.

However; different as we may seem on the surface, we both love, love, love love love, one thing in particular.


Did I mention we love it?

We do, let me assure you.

Of course in different ways and got there on different paths, all pretty much ending up in the same place doing the same thing.

Andy grew up sailing with his dad on the Bay or in the Caribbean on his 38’ Hood designed cruising boat.

My grandfather had an 18ft sailboat up on the river, which I never actually saw in person, only in pictures, and honestly didn’t think much about sailing until he had passed.  I was 31 years old when I went on a voyage to Annapolis with a friend for vacation. I loved it so much I bought a Macgregor 25 two years later.

Now, I’m on my third boat, this one’s a 26ft Paceship PY26 named Pegasus. It will go anywhere I want to go and more. Maybe not the Caribbean, but you never know.

Andy’s boat is a 35 foot yawl named Arcturus, and is currently residing somewhere on the east coast of Sweden, after he and his wife Mia sailed it there from here over the course of the past three years.

I moved out of Lancaster last year, Andy moved to Lancaster last year, and right about the time this was all going down, we both started Sailing Podcasts.

Go figure.

Weird how this stuff comes to be, at least that’s how I see it. How do two guys from the land of good and plenty, at least an hour away from any kind of big boat navigable water, wind up in the same psychic anchorage in Lancaster, PA and start podcasting about sailing?

And even though we do it mostly for fun, not necessarily as a business, it’s a serious pursuit. 
Andy is setting the bar so high in the realm of Ocean Sailing and podcasting with his high profile guests, sponsors, and accomplishments of his own that I will not be surprised if his name isn’t bandy’d about along the lines of Gary Jobson and Don Street someday [I’m humbled, Jeff, but I doubt it! –Andy].

He stresses being prepared for offshore sailing, encouraging solid safety practices, all based on the real world work he does organizing rally's, racing and delivering big boats to and from far away places.

It’s a high quality podcast. He is really plugged into the national sailing scene. That kid is going places.

His website is 59-north.com and the podcast is called ‘59º North’, an allusion to his wife's home country of Sweden and where Arcturus currently resides. Andy and his wife do have a goal of sailing to Spitsbergen, located in a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean before returning the boat to the states.


Well, the website is called the escapepods.com and the podcast is called ‘Shooting the Breeze Sailing Podcast.’ The tagline for the site? ‘Podcasting as an escape from the Daily Grind.’

I like it, like doing it, but like everything I do, there is a certain twinge of the amateur about it. I wanted to take those stories I hear all the time at the boat club and get them recorded for posterity. I want to be able to go back and laugh, sing, and strum along with my friends and talk sailing with anybody and everybody that loves it, on a whim, and podcasting was the best way I could see of going about it, even if I didn’t know what I was doing.

My podcasts last an hour, sometimes two. If you can find the golden moments to cherish in a two-hour-long conversation, you will love them. If all you hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher after 10 or 20 minutes, then, like my mother, you will not.

It's centered on the Chesapeake Bay, like my sailing and hope I can accentuate what I find wonderful and amazing about sailing on the bay.    

Andy likes the hour mark as a deadline, a good deadline to aspire to if you ask me, although he also has a few that are short and sweet, and to the point, some essay episodes are less than 10 or 20 minutes long. Short attention spans Unite!

My podcasts are like my writing, I can’t say anything worthwhile in less than 1000 words, apparently, and I can’t get to the point inside of 90 minutes during most conversations.
One day soon we may get together and cross-pod, you know, do a Podcast Takeover. He spends all his time interviewing other people. I want to come in and interview him. See what he’s all about, see what makes him tick.

I also want to parody his intro, cause it’s so simple and fun, it’s amazing.

He’s invited me to his home in Lancaster for a few beers and a pod sometime soon, so maybe we can establish the center of the Sailing Podcasting universe on his back porch, or a quiet little corner of a local pub I know. Or maybe we’ll meet up in Annapolis for the annual United States Boat Show after his live podcast Saturday morning at the World Cruising Club seminar. 
I’ll be there, recorder in hand, ready to podcast and do interviews at a moment’s notice. 

So will he.

We are, after all… sailing podcasters. 

Jeffrey S. Wettig and Andy Schell.

Lancaster, PA is our psychic anchorage.

Go Figure.