Fiona Harper caught up with Jackie Parry recently to find out about the exciting new projects she has in the pipeline – Jackie always has something interesting happening!
It turns out she’s been developing a new series of marine training courses to help boaters stay safe on the water.
My path has crossed several times with Jackie Parry, who is a maritime trainer, sailor, author, adventurer and all-round inspirational woman. We are kindred spirits with our common interests in boats, travel, and writing.
Fiona: Nice to catch up with you again. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jackie: I’ve sailed around the world one-and-a-half times, explored the European canals on an old Dutch Barge, written 11 books, set a sailing record, worked internationally on commercial vessels and have trekked part of the Bicentennial National Trail in Australia with five horses for several months. Now I own a maritime training company.
Fiona: Whoa! How do you fit that all in?
Jackie: I’m not sure. I keep having ideas and I can’t stand giving up on anything. Perhaps it’s because I am stubborn! When I say to my husband Noel, “I’ve got an idea,” he sticks his fingers in his ears and sings really loudly until I give up trying to tell him my idea.
Fiona: Which is your favourite activity? Sailing, horse-riding, writing, or training?
Jackie: That is hard, it depends when you ask me. On a great sailing day nothing beats, it. A great horse ride, nothing beats it. I love writing (although there are some things that beat that!), and training, I am passionate about training and most things can’t beat it. Equal first are sailing and riding horses but the other two – training and writing – are very close second place.
Fiona: It’s great to have a full life that you love. But what parts don’t you love?
Jackie: That’s easy – accounts. I love numbers if they are part of navigation or radar, or formulas for boating. But financial accounting turns me into a petulant child having a big temper tantrum. I like, and love everything else. I even enjoy the marketing aspect of running a business.
The other thing I don’t like is not having enough time. Running your own business pulls you in every direction 24/7. You have to be the expert at everything, all the time. It is relentless, demanding, and exhausting. But there’s something I like about that. A big day (they are all big) provides the satisfaction of making it work, having successes and helping people.
Fiona: What’s your main focus right now?
Jackie: Personally it’s to get one of my fat horses to lose weight. Too much grass for horses is bad and I’ve just bought us a new (new to us) saddle, so we’re having fun learning together. I’ve been backing him for about two years now. He’s becoming a good mate.
Professionally, it is the launch of the Emergency Preparedness Workshops. I’ve teamed up with eight other facilitators and experienced mariners, and we are holding Workshops all around Australia! It’s a mammoth project. Much bigger than I predicted. But it is coming together and it’s really exciting.
Fiona: That sound tremendous! Have there been many challenges?
Jackie: Every single project has challenges. This has been heightened a bit though. I feel a huge responsibility to all participants of our courses and now to the facilitators as well. The Emergency Preparedness Manuals took over a year to write. We’ve collaborated with rescue experts, skippers, and many other professional mariners. I gave my Editor quite the task to straighten it all out in a useable format!
Now I am super proud of it as it’s unlike any other course. We’ve brought commercial and recreational knowledge together and have done much of the work, so participants only have to fill in the information on the templates we’ve supplied.
The workshops are based around Learn-Discuss-Share. The facilitators have gone through training with me and we are ensuring the program around the country is aligned and the standard maintained. The participants just have to turn up, apply their ‘personal’ knowledge (ie details of their boat/set up/equipment/crew), and when you put all those ingredients together, a brilliant Emergency Response Manual is created.
I was thrilled with the Beta Workshop I held a month ago. The participants clutched their Response manual and said “this is GREAT!”
Fiona: You mentioned your Editor earlier. You’ve written memoirs as well as practical manuals – are there any other books in the pipeline?
Jackie: Not at the moment. I have so many ideas (cue: Noel to plug his ears!). But this last manual took a lot out of me, I wanted it to include everything possible and for it to be really useful and different. I want to actually help reduce incidents on the water and keep people safe. It was a true labour of love and I need a bit of a rest! That said, I am keen to get back to story books… maybe a non-fiction (just don’t tell Noel!).