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Old 17-03-2014, 08:56   #46
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

I was talking to my good friend, Plato, a while back and he was explaining his allegory of "The Cave". Those of us who haven't made the leap are just describing shadows on the wall. I have made a few small coastal hops of a few days each and am amazed that after 30 years of sailing, I still know very little. I will be starting a slow circumnavigation in about six months...am I prepared...hell no. Wish me luck.
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Old 17-03-2014, 09:12   #47
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

As I recall there was a time not that long ago when the term "handy man" was uniquely American; no other language had a similar word and rumor has it that it proved to be an advantage when American soldiers landed in Europe during WWII because when something broke down most of the GI's knew or could figure out how to fix it and didn't stay bogged down for long whereas other armies had specialists and if something broke it would take them longer to effect repairs.

Most Americans now call a specialist. Car trouble - AAA. Faulty switch or fuse - Electrician. Sink backs up - Plumber. Trouble with the kitchen stove - gas appliance repairman.

All the basic heavy weather sailing skills aside, my sense is a blue water cruiser needs to know his/her way around a tool box. Short of welding broken metal on the ocean, and unless your boat is loaded with redundant equipment, if something breaks you need to be able to repair it or sail with it well enough to get to the next port. Even with all the modern electronics at our disposal, an electrical storm could fry them and the batteries on a hand held GPS or cell phone will eventually run out so you need to know how to navigate without them.

That said, sailors have been circumnavigating for 100's of years in all manner or boats and equipment, but I'm not skilled enough to be one of them...yet.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:01   #48
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

You don't have to become full on sailors to go cruising. If you have lots of money, they can be hired, or you can be bailed out.

Take for example the huge thread about the delivery skipper limping a cat into Horta. That's what experience gives you, options.

Without it, your options would be:
1) Call for an expensive tow/salvage
2) Call for rescue and say goodbye to your boat, your stuff, and your cruising dream.

Usually it's the 2nd one that inexperience gets you.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:18   #49
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

Even if you attempted to learn everything, no one really knows EVERYTHING. I think on your scale of 1 - 10, I am thinking a 5. I say this because, often on this forum people think you should know everything you can and to some extent I agree. However, what is often not discussed is a person's temperament or personality. How you react to stressful situations. How you problem solve. Do you have and how you use common sense.

We all know at least one person, I am guessing, that has read all the books in the world, on any subject really, not just sailing. And despite having read all the books in the world, they really know and can apply very little.

In addition, everyone has to start somewhere, there will always be the first time. First time leaving the dock, first time on a coastal trip, first time crossing an ocean, etc. Now hopefully, you build up your experience over time and you don't just jump to crossing an ocean before the coastal trip, however, if we read and take literally some advice, no one should ever cross an ocean unless you have done it before. There will always be a first and sometimes no amount of reading/schooling/classes will prepare you for that first. This is why they call it an experience
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:28   #50
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I find folks that are hard over on terms and knowledge to be a bit boring and even borderline bully-ish about their opinions of self. Sailing away is freedom and freedom is free, all you have to do is get away from those that wish to put a price on your freedom. Sail with whatever level of skill you feel is good for you, the sea will teach you as you go, and that is how everyone else learned as well. But keep the joy in it, and stay away from expensive looking boats. They will likely be more concerned about "their" money than your freedom, decide for yourself if you that is an appropriate attitude for them to hold over you.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:42   #51
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

Install Inmarsat fleet broadband or Iridium Pilot on you yacht then when the **** hits the fan, google or start a thread here to fill in your knowledge gaps
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:46   #52
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

There are a lot of people out there who sail boats from an armchair in a nice warm room. They have the time and are in the position to look things up.

In some cases there is more Bull/ s*** around than in a field of cows with diarrhoea.

Then again there are some very, very knowledgeable people worth listening to who have excellent advice.

The good thing about knowing very little is that you don't worry about what you don't know about.

It is only when you learn how things can fail that you worry about them.

We moved aboard three years ago and have been sailing since.

When we set off I thought I knew a fair bit. I was taking my family with me so it was important to me to keep them safe.

It is only after a few years I realised how little I did know but the good news was I learnt so much more on the way.

I still have the knowledge of a gnat with Alzheimer's but I am still learning this sailing lark..
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Old 17-03-2014, 11:05   #53
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

I'm having a hard time getting a bite into this thread, even though the general topic is one that usually intrigues me. The answer seems too obvious: Of course you don't have to become a "full on seaman," if by that you mean do you have to know everything about everything. No one, not even the mythical seamen of old, match this characterization.

Now, if you're probing as to whether you need to be able to run your craft safely and somewhat efficiently, I'd say yes. If you're wondering whether you need to be able to manage basic maintenance and affect simple repairs, I'd also say yes. Same goes with navigation (using whatever tools work for you), and understanding weather (short and medium term). Good anchoring skills are vital if you're not just marina hopping. And other things like being a decent cook, having some medical knowledge, being able to cope with adversity ... all these things are useful as well. I don't think you have to become an expert sailmaker, or diesel mechanic. Nor do you have to know everything about electrical or plumbing systems, but some knowledge is definitely useful. Oh, and you certainly don't have to be an expert sailor. Sailing is easy. Becoming really good at it can take a lifetime

A lot of this depends on who you are, where you cruise, your boat, your crew, and the size of your wallet. I think it's perfectly viable for a wealthy person to buy all the services they need. It means they must restrict their cruising to locations where services are more redly available, but we all face constraints. I also think it's viable for a poor person to cruise. Again, they (we) just have to deal with different constraints, and be more reliant on our own direct skills.
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Old 17-03-2014, 12:07   #54
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
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.
That's not really much different than what I had. I don't have the book in front of me the rationale went something like this:
  • I think he quoted Cruising World in that there are typically 25,000 cruisers actively cruising the world at any one point.
  • He said 10% of those who buy boats for cruising end up leaving (again I believe this came from Cruising World). So that lead to 250,000 who buy boats to go cruising.
  • And then he said something like if you use that same 10% type of number you could figure that 10% of those who dream about cruising actually buy boats. That would lead you to 2,500,000 people who dream about buying a boat and cruising away. That is probably the lowest part of the estimate to me. I bet only 1-5% of those who dream about going cruising ever buy a boat. So this number could be closer to 5-10 million people.
Not what I would call a scientifically defensible estimate but its the best estimate with an explanation I have read.
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Old 17-03-2014, 12:09   #55
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Originally Posted by jimking100 View Post
I was talking to my good friend, Plato, a while back and he was explaining his allegory of "The Cave". Those of us who haven't made the leap are just describing shadows on the wall. I have made a few small coastal hops of a few days each and am amazed that after 30 years of sailing, I still know very little. I will be starting a slow circumnavigation in about six months...am I prepared...hell no. Wish me luck.
Yet another reason to love cruising forums. In most other walks of life most people would even get this reference to Plato's Republic. Never mind being able to apply it meaningfully to a discussion.

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Old 17-03-2014, 12:35   #56
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Smile Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
As I recall there was a time not that long ago when the term "handy man" was uniquely American; no other language had a similar word and rumor has it that it proved to be an advantage when American soldiers landed in Europe during WWII because when something broke down most of the GI's knew or could figure out how to fix it and didn't stay bogged down for long whereas other armies had specialists and if something broke it would take them longer to effect repairs..
Maybe it was just the crappy gear that needed constant fixing (tels the rumors this side of the bond)
Thou, there has been such a term in every language long before Mayflower so crappy gear has a long history
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:04   #57
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
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?
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the sea will teach you as you go, and that is how everyone else learned as well. But keep the joy in it,
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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
Maybe it really is quite easy, not luck at all? We are smart enough to work it out, the sea teaches us and that experience is nice to have, and useful, but not overly necessary in the vast majority of cases.
Sure the modern conveniences have made easier, and imho, much safer, but we seem to be setting the recommended bar higher and higher.

Tanya Albia is lauded for her achievements but couldn't sail when she set off, nor could she use a sextant, and Dad had to fly out and fix the engine.



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Old 17-03-2014, 13:10   #58
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

OK, here's my deeper philosophical take on what's at play, now the OP has clarified his own stance.

Cruisers for whom sailing is an end as well as a means DO sometimes find ways to belittle those to whom a boat is just a means.

I think that's unfortunate, but also understandable, because those who aspire to be self-reliant are increasingly looking at a future where we are no longer permitted to be self reliant.

And arguably it is a subset of the passionless sailors who put our own future passion at greatest risk.

I'm looking forward with minimal enthusiasm to a world where national authorities have had their fingers burned once too often by people who have bitten off too much, and whose taxpayers have, yet again, ended up having to chew it for them.

Sailing is not a standardised activity, like driving, and draconian safety regulations are likely, eventually, to force everyone into a tightly defined model, one which suits bureaucrats and business interests.

This will squeeze the last drops of joy out of what had once been a highly satisfying and very individualistic way of life.

Which won't matter to those for whom there was never any intrinsic joy in sailing, just a means of getting to interesting places.
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:17   #59
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

Does it count if you have a daddy with a big budget who can fly anywhere in the world to fix you?

Heck that sounds like remote control cruising. Or like those here who say "just hire a pro crew"

I.e. Throw money at it til the problem goes away.
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:20   #60
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Re: Does Cruising mean we have to become Full On Seamen??

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OK, here's my deeper philosophical take on what's at play, now the OP has clarified his own stance.

Cruisers for whom sailing is an end as well as a means DO sometimes find ways to belittle those to whom a boat is just a means.

I think that's unfortunate, but also understandable, because those who aspire to be self-reliant are increasingly looking at a future where we are no longer permitted to be self reliant.

And arguably it is a subset of the passionless sailors who put our own future passion at greatest risk.

I'm looking forward with minimal enthusiasm to a world where national authorities have had their fingers burned once too often by people who have bitten off too much, and whose taxpayers have, yet again, ended up having to chew it for them.

Sailing is not a standardised activity, like driving, and draconian safety regulations are likely, eventually, to force everyone into a tightly defined model, one which suits bureaucrats and business interests.

This will squeeze the last drops of joy out of what had once been a highly satisfying and very individualistic way of life.

Which won't matter to those for whom there was never any intrinsic joy in sailing, just a means of getting to interesting places.
Well said.

If we suffer idiots, they will eventually out breed common sense.
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