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Old 29-07-2013, 20:32   #16
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Re: wisdom of the seas

local water knowledge can save you!!
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Old 29-07-2013, 20:32   #17
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Re: wisdom of the seas

Phil, I think the old salts that have contributed to this thread ( and I can't thank you enough) have one thing in common- they all are humble in their own great talents and give the sea a lot of credit to do both bad and good. Studying the sea and looking for trouble in advance are not only good qualities, they sound like good survival techniques.
Working with the sea- that is a new one for me. I don't know if I understand what that means, but I am willing to learn. I felt at home in the desert because I was raised in the desert- but the sea always feels like I am in foreign territory. Kind of like being from earth and going into outer space.
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Old 29-07-2013, 20:35   #18
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Re: wisdom of the seas

Three posts were made while I was writing my own-Wow! I will listen to local knowledge too!
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Old 29-07-2013, 20:42   #19
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Re: wisdom of the seas

You do not hear it so much nowadays but I used to hear folks come into the yacht club bar saying how they had "beaten the ocean again" because they had made it through a storm or something. the barman was an old bloke who had sailed extensively and he always said, 'you can't beat it, it only allowed you to pass this time". My take is that I can love being out on the ocean, but it does not return the affection.

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Old 29-07-2013, 20:46   #20
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Re: wisdom of the seas

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AND make sure that local knowledge is boater know-how. During Tropical Storm Isaac I was told by "local knowledge" that the wind would come directly across the trees and the safest place would be to tuck in close to the far shore.

Before I did anything though (was anchored in the middle of a bayou) I met a fellow with a boat that was moving his small cabin cruiser between two docks. He said the wind funneled down that far bank and that there would be no wind on his side of the canal -- directly in contradiction to the first "local advice"

I opted to believe the boater -- and he was correct. Basically the wind blew like stink not 50' from me, yet I was mostly in benign conditions. Weird, that.

Anyway, take your local knowledge from a boater would be my qualification to the above post.

Hidden in your post is a developed skill to evaluate the advice you're being given. I think that might have been the most important thing I've learned -- the most sincere person can be wildly off-base with his advice (sorry but it's never happened from female sailors, although I'm sure it could). I have been given some truly bad advice with the greatest confidence, my favorite example something I described before -- the "reefing system" on my first boat was two pieces of line. You lowered the cringles to the boom and put a line through them -- standing where the boom could hit you and push you right overboard.

On both ends.

He did say "It's best to reef at the dock" but we all know that sometimes it's necessary to reef *after* leaving the dock ...

This takes me back to what I said yesterday about people confusing being lucky and being experienced. The guy who told me that "reefing system" was just fine considers himself to be an excellent sailor.
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Old 29-07-2013, 20:48   #21
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Re: wisdom of the seas

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That's interesting; I feel the same way, but the "at one with nature" part often means that I'm solo. This has become troubling when I'm sea kayaking because, despite considerable expertise, I'm no longer a kid.

I've been stubborn lately about not replacing perfectly fine technology with newer technology until the old stuff wears out. If they bury me with an iPhone 3 in my pocket, I'm just hoping they remember to shut it off before they close the lid. But my handheld VHF is a relic from the days before they built the submersible types, and I've been struggling for a few years as to whether to upgrade.

For my 59th b-day last month, I gave myself one of the new models. What can I say: West Marine was having a sale. But part of this gift was a commitment to carry it with me when I kayak solo from now on. I won't turn it on, of course, unless I need it. But I'm old enough--wise enough--to realize that I may actually need it someday.

Well, I agree with the "new you." It doesn't really diminish your skills to add equipment. You aren't *really* going to "go stupid" because of it.
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Old 29-07-2013, 20:53   #22
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Re: wisdom of the seas

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Phil, I think the old salts that have contributed to this thread ( and I can't thank you enough) have one thing in common- they all are humble in their own great talents and give the sea a lot of credit to do both bad and good. Studying the sea and looking for trouble in advance are not only good qualities, they sound like good survival techniques.
Working with the sea- that is a new one for me. I don't know if I understand what that means, but I am willing to learn. I felt at home in the desert because I was raised in the desert- but the sea always feels like I am in foreign territory. Kind of like being from earth and going into outer space.

I'm new enough to this to be aware of learning to work with the water and the boat and not fight them. A classic, simple example of that would be if for some reason you can't tack, do a controlled jybe. The important thing is that you don't hit that big rock -- not how you avoided it.
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Old 29-07-2013, 21:05   #23
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Re: wisdom of the seas

Cape Fear shook me up pretty good early on. Several knots of current against 15-20 knots of wind and the Cape Fear river took me on a ride going out to sea.

I can remember asking myself, "Is this cool?", "Do people do this??" I just recollect the steep waves and slamming hard and hanging on tight and subconsciously I knew I was getting an education, I just did not know what time class was going to let out, nor did I have a syllabus of any sort.

Not the Columbia bar from what I've heard, but not to be trifled with nonetheless.

This is a lifelong pursuit for sure, there is no real fast track to seamanship, even if you can afford a great big boat with all the bells and whistles. Humility, respect, and prudence go a long way in the ocean classroom.

As Conrad said, “The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”
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Old 29-07-2013, 23:58   #24
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Re: wisdom of the seas

The old fisherman that taught me to sail, told me to always make the boat sail comfortable for me! as the boat was way tougher then me! This has always been a good rule for me! as I reef before I need to, and always shorten sail at sunset no matter how steady the wind has been! Connie and I have had enough thrills to last us 2 or 3 lifetimes, and sure don't need anymore in our old age LOL So we don't ever worry about how long it takes to get where we are going! And have been known to go other places when the wind was not allowing us to get where we were going ! The trip is what counts, not the destination !
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Old 30-07-2013, 00:17   #25
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Re: wisdom of the seas

I always try to remember:

Sometimes you can work very diligently to prepare, you can have all the right equipment, you can make sure everything is in good condition and works fine, and you can do everything "right" and

Everything suddenly still goes to absolute sh$t. You have to forget all the above and just figure out how to deal with it as it happens.

There is no justice on the sea.
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Old 30-07-2013, 00:53   #26
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Re: wisdom of the seas

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It taught me that it cares not if you survive.
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We are not in charge.
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Complacency is a leading cause of accidents.
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Cowards live longer...
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"you can't beat it, it only allowed you to pass this time".
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There is no justice on the sea.
Lots of very appropriate one liners. It is not a contest nor a matter of the sea being kind or just or throwing challenges. The sea is totally oblivious to us and our survival.

The biggest lesson I have learned is to go with it not against it. Follow nature's schedule and forget about having a personal one. It does go against the grain for those of us who have had days/weeks/months planned almost to the minute previously, but abandoning this on the water minimises the risks tremendously!

Also, if you have a need to do risky things (and just being out here rather than living in a box on dirt has elements of risk), then do them in the safest way possible. There is enough excitement out here without adding to it unnecessarily .
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Old 30-07-2013, 01:07   #27
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Re: wisdom of the seas

newt,

You had asked about the stuff they don't teach you in school. I'm no great sailor but I have picked some things up in an odd way. I started reading a lot of books about sailing and other adventure literature and one thing I found to be really true is that the devil is in the details. An author might spend 4 pages describing a coming storm and then somewhere in all that marvelous imagery they're generating is a single seemingly innocent line like, "I rigged a preventer." They don't go any farther. But its those little things that aren't explained that spark my curiosity, and they've taught me much. Often times important details are understated. Its been a continuous theme in my sailing education. For instance, on a boat survey it might say "block needs attention", but what it is really saying is, "Block will explode in moderate winds sending shrapnel everywhere and causing a wild boom swing that could kill you. FIX IMMEDIATELY even though it will be expensive and take twice as long as you think."
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Old 30-07-2013, 01:27   #28
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Re: wisdom of the seas

A Bedouin's proverb, translated from Arabic... "Incoming sea waves will always outnumber outgoing waves."

Mauritz
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Old 30-07-2013, 01:32   #29
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Re: wisdom of the seas

I learned the hard way that you should never set out on a journey fatigued. Not making that mistake again.
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Old 30-07-2013, 06:04   #30
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Re: wisdom of the seas

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Three posts were made while I was writing my own-Wow! I will listen to local knowledge too!
I would caution against taking advice from locals as gospel - just because someone has spent years in an area don't automatically make them an expert on everything, or much.........

.....and that includes not blindly following local boats!

I would also add that being wrong (or less that right!) is normal, not necessarily wrong enough to use plan B - but adjusting Plan A! Events and conditions change and you need to be able to do deal with that as expected and not a surprise.

and for docking, everyone stuffs up now and again - especially in unfamiliar places.

No one knows everything or gets everything 100% right in every circumstance, most people are shy about admitting ignorance or lack of knowledge - obviously as a Skipper you do have to instil some confidence in the crew!, but nonetheless recognising limits of abilities and working within them and around deficiencies is the sign of a good Skipper - even if not always popular with the crew (or Admiral?!).

and no shame in deciding "no", indeed IMO the sign of a good skipper - and that includes not anchoring where ideal (for the shore) or even turning back on a voyage.....or not entering a port even at the price of lying off until conditions change or detouring. "He who turns and runs away lives to run another day" .

Oh, and a GPS / Chartplotter says what you can do (or at least thinks what you can do - mostly it is right. mostly) - but it never tells you what you should do.
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