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Old 19-08-2010, 15:39   #1
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Smile Against All Odds ?

I need to get this off my chest:

About 3 years ago my wife and I started thinking about chucking it for a little bit and going sailing. We didn't know much about it and had very little experience. I found this site and began using it to gather information on boats as well as ask questions I thought pertinent to our plans of casting off.

A year later we purchased a sailboat a couple of thousand miles from our home and began spending as many weekends and vacations on it as we could. Again, I used this forum for lots of useful advice.

During the process of using this forum (and others as well) to educate myself, I became very, very frustrated with lots of the responses I was getting. Repeatedly I heard that I wasn't nearly experienced enough...that I was being irresponsible by even considering voyaging offshore, and that I was naive to think that we had anywhere near enough experience to tackle such an endeavor. It was a very similar response to the one that Bumfuzzle got a couple of years previously.

Thankfully we did not listen to the naysayers. My wife and I have been sailing for nearly a year now and have come to dearly love the life. If we had listened to those telling us how crazy we were we wouldn't have experienced spending nights at sea under sail, thousands of dolphins, rays jumping in the early morning sunshine 100 miles offshore, the kindness of strangers, or many, many other beautiful things that we did see. Did we make some mistakes? Sure. Will we make more mistakes? Certainly.

Were we irresponsible? Maybe by your standards, but not by ours. When we left we didn't know how to anchor or change a filter, to use our wind steer or to run an outboard. We didn't know how to use our SSB or make a VHF call. It's amazing what you can teach yourself if you really, really want to know.

If you're reading this and are trying to weigh whether or not you're worthy of a journey, please don't take the word of a stranger. Trust yourself and your instincts. You'll be there when the chips are down. Always take advice for what it's worth, nothing more.

Jeff and Nancy
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Old 19-08-2010, 16:14   #2
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I assume the "when we left " part was when you left your home and traveled to the boat. Not when you left the "dock for the 1 st time". I found the Chapman Piloting , seamanship and small boat handling book an excellent self tutortial on the rules of the road (need to know this or you are a danger to yourself and others), charts,docking and lots of other information to keep you and your's safe out there. Enjoy your continuing "education at sea" we are enrolled in it also.
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Old 19-08-2010, 16:46   #3
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Quote:
Repeatedly I heard that I wasn't nearly experienced enough...that I was being irresponsible by even considering voyaging offshore, and that I was naive to think that we had anywhere near enough experience to tackle such an endeavor.
Such advice comes up a lot in the boating world: "get more experience first". It has some validity at times, but is often overused.

It's often said that there is a very substantial difference between having ten years' experience, and having one year's experience twenty times. (I'd place good odds that every single member of this forum has encountered a contractor, somewhere, who exemplifies the second case.) You can learn from experience, but experience does not necessarily lead to learning, and there are plenty of people in all fields who have put in the time (but not the learning) and will recommend strange, illogical, sometimes even dangerous things because "it worked for me once". It's also quite possible to learn quite a lot on shore- enough to know the right course of action in hundreds of situations- before you even get to the boat. And, yes, there are those who will put down the money, head out and get themselves killed out of sheer ignorance.

We all learn in different ways, we all have different comfort zones, and we should all know better than to believe we can tell others what they are and are not capable of based only on a handful of forum posts.
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Old 19-08-2010, 17:30   #4
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Funny, I read a lot of these posts and think people are being way too cautious, maybe I am one of the irrisponsible ones !! When I started sailing, a while ago !! I and three buddies bought an old 32ft wooden boat, never having sailed offshore we happily left England and headed south, next landfall was 13 days later in Tangiers, Morocco. Then to Canaries and a 21 day trip to Barbados, flying a spinnaker most of the way.Navigation was old charts collected in the docks, a RDF set and a sextant.No radio of any type and a pathetic 2 cylinder gas engine. It was fun, we didnt think we were doing anything unusual !!Maybe we were lucky, but we met many people doing the same thing on a similar zero budget. Did it again a few years later, singlehanded, but I had a VHF this time, though I never talked on it !! Luck plays a part in everything but a good dose of common sense helps a lot, have fun, Bruce.
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Old 19-08-2010, 17:36   #5
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Your post made me smile!

I go on the premise that *most* things in life are NOT rocket science and move forward accordingly. Sounds like you are moving forward beautifully!
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Old 22-08-2010, 02:12   #6
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Maybe people feel over-responsible for the advice they give and have a horror of telling a newbie to "go for it" without much preparation? And, many people in urban/suburban society seem to be increasingly intolerant of risk ... and poorly understanding of what the real risks are.
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Old 22-08-2010, 02:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkirstein View Post
During the process of using this forum (and others as well) to educate myself, I became very, very frustrated with lots of the responses I was getting. Repeatedly I heard that I wasn't nearly experienced enough...

I don't think you are being very fair at all to those members here that have given you their time in your 15 previous posts.
Indeed your first post asked:

Quote:
I'm a fairly novice sailor with an adventurous wife, a love for history and nautical literature, and an itch to hit the open ocean. We are contemplating a circumnavigation and am conflicted by what I'm reading and hearing. It seems like there are some folks who just buy a boat and shove off into the world with no practical experience at all, while others spend years preparing and mastering every minute detail before such an undertaking.

So here's my question: is it realistic for a novice to sail the seas these days? What's the learning curve when it comes to navigating international waters?
Please reread that post and now what do you expect some peoples opinion would have been?

May I remind you what their answers to you post were?
Quote:
good luck man

Good luck with your plans!

through the various canals (Panama and Suez), then the trip is not difficult. On the otherhand, if you are planning to sail around the bottom of the Earth (specifically around the Capes), then you are talking about something that is almost epic adventure and the learning curve is pretty severe

Others have done it and succeeded. Grab a copy of Tania Aebi's book, Maiden Voyage...

Go!


Have a look at the "Bumfuzzle" website. They started out with ZERO experience, and they have pretty much completed a circumnavigation. I wouldn't recommend doing the same, but it shows it CAN be done.


So in essence you don't have to be perfect but there is a lot to learn. While you will continue to learn as you go it is a bit of a pain to lose your boat in the early phases

I'm with all the others.
For sure - Go - but in gentle first steps as you feel you way.


Go!
and take me with you!

They are most of the first 13 replies. Almost as many replies as you have made posts!

I think you have not remembered correctly the positive nature of the replies to your first posts here. Remember you have basically said: "I'm a novice and I want to circumnavigate, whats your opinion?" and you've seen above what their opinion was: GO

And you have done so.

Now perhaps you could help out some new people here with the benifit of your experience and advice


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Old 22-08-2010, 05:41   #8
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Originally Posted by jkirstein View Post

If you're reading this and are trying to weigh whether or not you're worthy of a journey, please don't take the word of a stranger. Trust yourself and your instincts. You'll be there when the chips are down. Always take advice for what it's worth, nothing more.

Jeff and Nancy
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3 years ago a noob and now a veteran giving advice - How cool is that

I look at most posts like yours from 3 years ago and often think, "Our members do not want to kill this person's dream but they also do not want this person to kill themselves either."

Vary rarely do you see a flat, "Don't do it, you will die" type response although sometimes you do. I like to think those responses come from folks that spend way too much time sailing an armchair.

You can read all you want but nothing replaces time on the water.

Congratulations on 3 years of adventure - As a working clown I am so jealous.
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Old 22-08-2010, 06:23   #9
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Have you ever wanted to be really smart at something, but didn't want to do all that fancy book learning, or waste all that time practising and gaining experience?

Take up circumnavigating.

It’s dead easy, requiring only that you really wish (with all your heart) to do it.

I bet most rocket scientists don't know that. They don't know much really, and that's because they don't have to. You see, contrary to popular belief, rocket science is not hard - it's as easy circumnavigating the globe in a small boat.
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Old 22-08-2010, 07:28   #10
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I think that father guido sarduchi set up the 5 min college for just such an occasion. Basically he teaches you everything you would remember after 20 years from a normal course. I have taken several of these but now I cant remember which ones. People have different learning styles my style works for me others might think its incorrect. Im really good at speed reading installation directions and picking out sentences like dont put plug b in to socket A. Right after I put plug b........I learned to sail on a sailfish. I had no idea no business on a lake with one After it clobbered me through me in the water and tried to drown me. 40 years later I still get clobbered sometimes but Ive had many years of enjoyment on the water.Nobody ever said I couldn't do this but a few looked at me abit odd
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Old 22-08-2010, 09:48   #11
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Then thereīs the fella that left San Diego, and lost his boat through lack of knowledge. He was rescued by a freighter while his boat was seen months later floating. We all get through life differently, and some make it with little knowledge, and some flounder. Congradulations on loving the life, and being successful.......i2f
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:49   #12
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I think that father guido sarduchi set up the 5 min college for just such an occasion. Basically he teaches you everything you would remember after 20 years from a normal course. I have taken several of these but now I cant remember which ones. People have different learning styles my style works for me others might think its incorrect. Im really good at speed reading installation directions and picking out sentences like dont put plug b in to socket A. Right after I put plug b........I learned to sail on a sailfish. I had no idea no business on a lake with one After it clobbered me through me in the water and tried to drown me. 40 years later I still get clobbered sometimes but Ive had many years of enjoyment on the water.Nobody ever said I couldn't do this but a few looked at me abit odd
I learned to sail on a sunfish. My brother just bought one and I wanted to go out sailing.....on the Great South Bay, 12 hours before a hurricane was due to hit (Gloria, I think it was). He wasn't home so I made it out by myself and was really flying in the 25-30 knots of wind I had. Full sail, going great, when the mast snapped. Learned my greatest lesson in sailing, "If you think it's going to be a blast, it could be dangerous." Also, when buying a used boat, don't just go out, inspect it first.
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Old 11-10-2010, 18:29   #13
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It's always great to hear of newbies who have stuck with it and still love the life. Three years! You're hooked. I always say if you stay with it for 12 months you're a gonner. There's so much to see out here, keep going. It's a great lifestyle and one my hubby and I have enjoyed for nearly 30 years. We all start somewhere, everyone of us is a newbie at some stage. Goodonyer.
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Old 14-10-2010, 12:01   #14
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Vary rarely do you see a flat, "Don't do it, you will die" type response although sometimes you do. I like to think those responses come from folks that spend way too much time sailing an armchair.
Some few years back 2 swedish boys and a girl in their early 20īs (could be late teens, not remembering too good) got the idea to go to the Med. It ended up in a circumnav eventually.
One of the guys went from the north of Sweden to the middle and bought one of the 1st boats he laid eyes on, a 27ft Albin Vega, dating from late 60īs/early 70īs. Now, this boat type is really worthy of it, and have done the circumnav numerous times, when in good condition and refit to do the job. However, he bought it "as is"... He started the engine to return home and pack up and get his friends to join him. Engine (an ancient gasoline powered ticker) gave up from the beginning, and wasnīt replaced throughout the trip, other than with an equally poor outboard somewhere along the Panama channel. No new sails were purchased and from what I remember, not very much was done about the boat itself either.
It was the first sailing trip either of them had ever made but they had a dream and a goal. Never give up. At some exteent I admire their guts and their search for glory, but at the same time I think to myself "must have been more than one braincell out of order there".
Anyway, they made it home in one piece and at the return to the local marina, there was a sailing competition held to their honor.. The participated. Finished 2nd last I think, with the same sails that took them from home so much earlier and STILL no working engine. And now comes the little thing that made me smile in the quoted phrase:
They wrote a book together.. Title?
Everyone said we would die (thatīs a direct translation, not sure if it has been published in other languages than swedish tho)

The crew was Danjel Henriksson and I remember the girls name to be Kajsa something. The last guysīname, I donīt remember at all.
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Old 14-10-2010, 12:14   #15
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Googled it and it doesnīt seem to have been translated into other languages. Too bad, this is one of the most "readable" books I have ever laid my hands on. And I do read a lot of books about all and nothing.
Itīs inspiring and fun reading and it almost makes you share their fears and joys.
Also refreshed my memory on the book, they did buy THE first boat that came to hand. Un-seen..
Sometimes I wish I had been that gutsy, wreckless (and lucky) in my younger days..
Imagine this: 700 days/38000M without even a fridge or a toilet on board.
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