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Old 17-03-2014, 01:43   #31
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

When I started sailing I was in my youthful state of invulnerability. I did what I wanted and amazingly got away with it...I had a very forgiving boat and apparently excellent luck. Now I plan everything from getting underway to my return. I have learned however that plans are subject to real world events. The more I know, the better I can adjust. Sometimes its better not to go, or just sit where I am, cause once your underway you have to deal with what you've got.
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:01   #32
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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The two guys who died recently when they hit Late Island were not saved by sat phone & gps, saying goodbye by sat phone is not much use
IIRC, some theorised they might actually have used Late island as a waypoint, and then gone to sleep?
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Old 17-03-2014, 02:20   #33
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

You need to know very little to become a cruiser.

If you never are lucky enough to never run into problems with broken equipment or bad weather and to get to where you want to be without hitting something, you need to know very little to continue cruising.

But once you've used up that luck, the more you know and the better skills you have, the better your chance of survival for you and your boat.

So it's a good idea to gain the knowledge/skills as quickly as possible.
And the more you have before you start cruising, the less likely you are to run out of that luck.
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Old 17-03-2014, 03:48   #34
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Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

I think the level of knowledge depends on what you want to do.

Many a starry eyed inexperienced sailor sets off for the South Pacific and by the time they get to the edge of the Indian they know enough to know how little they know. Seems more think twice about going on than go one sometimes. It's a great place to pick up a used boat for sale, Dreams included.

I think it is much easier to set off with limited knowledge, but luck and determination only get you so far.

It is a matter of risk and statistics - what is the likelihood an issue that someone with basic common sense and capabilities can't solve will arise that is life threatening?

Generally it is pretty low. There can be a lot of discomfort for inexperienced sailors, but generally it is still pretty safe....

...maybe not as safe for the boats around them as one can see in any place where charter fleets sail in the afternoon when they all mob a harbor like bumper boats...
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Old 17-03-2014, 03:59   #35
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
You need to know very little to become a cruiser.

If you never are lucky enough to never run into problems with broken equipment or bad weather and to get to where you want to be without hitting something, you need to know very little to continue cruising.

But once you've used up that luck, the more you know and the better skills you have, the better your chance of survival for you and your boat.

So it's a good idea to gain the knowledge/skills as quickly as possible.
And the more you have before you start cruising, the less likely you are to run out of that luck.
What you said has been related to me this way. When you start out you have luck and no experience, what you hope for is that you gain experience before your luck runs out.

Sam
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Old 17-03-2014, 04:03   #36
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

You really Don't need very much knowledge and skill these days. Your weather is done for you as is the navigation. You don't even have to know anything about good sail trim The modern autopilots will do all the steering so the only time you may have some issues is if you have a major break down or get yourself into storm conditions.
I guess if you can't figure it out you can send a post into CF and the forum will save you, LOL.
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Old 17-03-2014, 04:32   #37
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Whats you experience, and for those not gone yet, whats your guess/thoughts?
May depend some on where you start from. But I think all you need to know are the basics that could be learned in a few days. There you could start out doing small hops along the coast till you feel more confident and go longer and longer. Pretty much just like you "normally" do except that you don't go back to where you started each trip. For example starting in the Northeast US you could day hop sailing south for years before you had to go any overnights if you wanted to.

I also think that reading can make up for a lot of hard knock experience.

So on a 1-10 scale I give it a 1/2 for experience and 5 for knowledge.
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Old 17-03-2014, 04:38   #38
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I've a hunch your pocketbook is inversely related to your experience/knowledge.....
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Old 17-03-2014, 06:00   #39
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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I've a hunch your pocketbook is inversely related to your experience/knowledge.....
Quite true, by the time one pays for the mistakes. One is experience rich and cash poor. You don't even need to go off shore to spend spend spend.
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Old 17-03-2014, 07:08   #40
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Back at you Mark with this question!! If you knew as much about sailing before you set off as you know now, would you have still done it??

Regards Bill
Yes, definitely.

Its hard for me to tell because I had been on boats since I was a kid and ocean raced etc (as in the long ocean races of 3 or 4 days). However, it must be pretty daunting for someone new to it now... But I doubt it needs to be. More like what Sailorboy said: " I think all you need to know are the basics that could be learned in a few days. There you could start out doing small hops along the coast till you feel more confident and go longer and longer."

But thats just the initial learning part untill one takes off. Then in the Caribbean, or Pacific, or Med we are not meant to be who we were but try to emulate some old seadog. Thats not why I went cruising. I went so I could travel the world, see things and experience things I couldnt see in any other way affordably. The boat to me is just accommodation and a conveyance - it gets me from point A to point B and lets me chow down cheaply.
Also for many people who are choosing retirement I wonder if they wanted to exchange the office with dirty hands? But they feel compelled to become a grease monkey because thats whats expected of cruisers? Crikey, I did some high level creative jobs and didnt retire early to take up a new profession of amateur sailing ship captain/ motor mechanic/ toilet unblocker.

Is it daunting for those with the dream to be confronted by an internet forum? And is it necessary?

Anyway, as I said, I just thought the question as a philosophical bit of revery.



Mark
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Old 17-03-2014, 07:35   #41
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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It's a continuum. Or it's relative. Whatever way you like to say it. the more you know, the safer you are.
To put it another way, the less you know the more you have to either A) rely on luck, or B) hire someone else who knows what you don't. Regardless, the bottom line is that you are either prepared to deal with what might come up, or you depend on luck by hoping that nothing comes up that you are not prepared to deal with.

Now, to a certain extent, we all depend on luck. We cannot know everything about everything. But if we know a lot about the things that are most likely to happen, and a little about the things that are less likely to happen, then we are more prepared and less dependent on luck. That's the situation I prefer to be in.
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Old 17-03-2014, 07:56   #42
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Yes, definitely.

Its hard for me to tell because I had been on boats since I was a kid and ocean raced etc (as in the long ocean races of 3 or 4 days). However, it must be pretty daunting for someone new to it now... But I doubt it needs to be. More like what Sailorboy said: " I think all you need to know are the basics that could be learned in a few days. There you could start out doing small hops along the coast till you feel more confident and go longer and longer."

But thats just the initial learning part untill one takes off. Then in the Caribbean, or Pacific, or Med we are not meant to be who we were but try to emulate some old seadog. Thats not why I went cruising. I went so I could travel the world, see things and experience things I couldnt see in any other way affordably. The boat to me is just accommodation and a conveyance - it gets me from point A to point B and lets me chow down cheaply.
Also for many people who are choosing retirement I wonder if they wanted to exchange the office with dirty hands? But they feel compelled to become a grease monkey because thats whats expected of cruisers? Crikey, I did some high level creative jobs and didnt retire early to take up a new profession of amateur sailing ship captain/ motor mechanic/ toilet unblocker.

Is it daunting for those with the dream to be confronted by an internet forum? And is it necessary?

Anyway, as I said, I just thought the question as a philosophical bit of revery.



Mark
I really like this tread. Thanks for posting it.

Here is how I am looking at some of this. First, my experience level. Sailed small dinghies as a kid and sailed on my aunt and uncles C&C 24. Took some years away from my late teens until I was 30. Bought my aunt and uncles boat. Sailed that for 5 years while only doing the bare minimum as far as maintenance. I did learn a fair amount about outboards during that time. In 2010, we bought a Catalina 310. The learning curve really went up then because I didn't know anything about diesels, 12 volt systems, plumbing systems for boats, etc. I took on all of the maintenance and didn't hire out any of it. This month we are selling our house and becoming full time live aboards. Our plan is to save for another year plus and then cut the lines and head off towards the Caribbean at 40.

My philosophy on learning to work on my boat didn't start as replacing my 9-5. I am a geologist working as a consultant cleaning up after major oil companies. It doesn't pay very well. I knew I would have limited funds and the best way to extend my cruising time was to learn how to do the boat things myself and not loose some of the kitty having someone else do the work. However, as I have learned more and gotten better at it, I now think this would be something I would enjoy more than working in a box. I would guess I would be on the lower level of knowledge of boat maintenance for full time cruisers but I am very high for day/weekend sailors.

When it comes to boat handling/seamanship I want to have good skills here because its a matter of safety. I feel I need to be able to handle my boat in the conditions I could encounter if I make a mistake picking a weather window. We sail/cruise locally and that has given us some great experience. We also read a lot! This is because we don't feel we have to burn our hands on the stove to know it's hot. We can use the collective knowledge of others to gain experience as well as first hand. So internet forums like this, blogs, books, magazine article, etc. are all tools to gain experience without putting ourselves in danger. But I have to admit, when I back my boat into a slip and a couple of old salt looking types make a comment about how easily I did it I do feel a sense of pride in my seamanship.

As to my philosophy as to why we are planning to go. Mark summed that up well when he said "I went so I could travel the world, see things and experience things I couldnt see in any other way affordably. The boat to me is just accommodation and a conveyance - it gets me from point A to point B and lets me chow down cheaply." The boat is freedom. It allows us to travel to places and spend extended periods of time that we otherwise couldn't afford. If we had endless funds would we still travel by boat? Maybe in some areas. In other areas we would probably hope from luxury hotel to luxury hotel.

So to your last question in the post I quoted above, I do think forums like this are necessary. I remember when I read the book "The Cruising Life" that the author had a discussion in the first chapter about how many people like the idea of cruising, how many people actually buy a boat to go cruising and how many people actually make it out cruising. He estimated these numbers that 2,500,000 people like the idea, 250,000 people actually buy a boat but only 25,000 people are out cruising. He gave a few sources and it seemed to be a decent estimate. He also talked about why people drop off at each stage. I think forums like this are necessary to weed people out as you go down that list. If you want to go cruising because you think it will be all white sand beaches and drinking frozen rum drinks, you need the reality check. You read the forums and realize there is a lot of work. The ones that make it past to buying a boat then get hit with the reality of their first time changing a joker valve. Many will realize it's not for them at that point. So hopefully the ones that actually cut the lines and go do so being more informed of the problems/challenges they will face and don't call it quits the first time they end up in 10 foot seas in a 35 kt blow.

Like I said, thanks for this thread.

Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 17-03-2014, 08:09   #43
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Perhaps a simple example is knots. When I started full time cruising seven years ago even after a couple of decades of sailing I was crap at knots, but after a bit of practice I am now reasonable. I would still like to get better. People can successfully sail the world with very limited knowledge of knots, but the skills to tie even obscure and difficult knots like a bowline around your body with one hand, could conceivably save your life one day.
Tying any knot with one hand is a challenge; doubly so if you had to do it with both left and right. If that were part of the exam certification process there would be a lot fewer sailors out there.
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Old 17-03-2014, 08:30   #44
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

I'm not sure where the numbers came from 250/250/250 but I don't believe them. Personally I think multi millions of people dream of sailing off into the sunset and thousands actually buy a boat and hundreds actually start crossing oceans and take on a multi year cruising lifestyle.
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Old 17-03-2014, 08:35   #45
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

Some of these responses from people who think they know enough already are pretty scary, or funny. They would be funny to watch in some situations, but scary if they figured you only need to be able to, for example, take off an airplane. Why bother taking the rest of the lessons? You're Flying!!! ( or sailing)
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