Originally Posted by CaptForce
Now that I've seen other's responses, it seems I was too quick to say "No" to all. I have simply not had dire consequences. Sure, I've had rigging break,- a club foot flying about loose while offshore. I've have a couple of little fires of no consequence while underway. I've been blown aground on a lee shore in a tropical wave. I've had my diesel engine full of seawater. I've had food poisioning in a third world country,-"Chicken Quarentine"! I've been without 12VDC,- hasn't everyone? I've awakened to look down at my shoes floating above the bilge ceiling.
*....,but none of this was unusual to general cruising and more importantly, all these events can be traced back to my errors,- not my expertise!*
The whole premise of this poll suggests that the sailors with the most experience are those that have made the most mistakes. This can't be true!
1. offshore 500 nm
2. 500 nm for a minimum continuous 72 hours
3. experienced boat failure (rigging, vital electronics, engine, shipping water)
4. capsizing, knock down, roll over, accidental gybe while 500nm or more offshore
5. electronic failure
6. fire at sea
7. required medical attention beyond and above that onboard vessel
8. vessel swamped or sunk or not coming back up after capsize or roll over
The way I read the poll questions:
1. Self explanatory
2. Self explanatory
3. Boat failure = critical equipment
failure (that results in an incident or drastic change of plans)
4. Any one of these potentially serious events that resulted in a serious event or the implementation of your emergency
5. An electronic failure: that results in a return to traditional techniques until landfall.
6. Any fire at sea until it's dealt with is an emergency
in my book.
7. Self explanatory
8. Self explanatory
Different cruisers with different experience and/or training levels will have different personal responses to some of these questions. However if you weren't prepared/trained for it and/or it results in a "change of mission" then it probably means you have answered "yes" to the question.*
Questions 3 and 4 are the ones that might have you debating whether you did or didn't.*
For my part:
3. Cap shroud
chainplate failure while skippering a triple spread 50 foot yacht on a delivery
having just cleared Sri Lanka. Resulted in a return to port to effect repairs
4. Accidental gybe resulted in a rip along the whole main foot, repaired over two full days at sea, without which we would not have made our destination
CaptForce I agree that most of these "incidents" over time can be attributed to typical cruising problems (as we all sail yachts with similar kit) however they should not come to be what we accept as normal cruising.*
I have a friend of a friend who's recent accidental jibe resulted in his wifes death and they were only 4 mile offshore.
Ideally we are always fully prepared and ready for anything, however no vessel is always in Bristol condition and no crew is fully prepared all the time. At some point we as skippers need to say we are as ready as we need to be given the season, latitude and passage
we are about to undertake. Its our crew that we are responsible for and the trust they place in us is humbling in the extreme. Even if they don't know it (ie greenhorns) they are trusting us to know the difference between being ready or not ready yet. This is the "art" of cruising, sailing and seamanship.
Our mistakes over time teach us to prepare and train well for the worst and hope for the best. The lessons I learnt from the cap shroud
failure was that I reacted correctly by tacking the boat (thereby saving the rig), that some things are unavoidable and that a well trained crew will be your best means of returning safely. From the main ripping on the jibe that: I shouldn't have gone to sea with such an old mainsail
and that a permanent preventer/boom brake is good safety gear
Each of your errors taught you something new and added to your own hard won knowledge.. It can't be taught but must be experienced.
Unless you are one of those rare people who are always prudent, always prepared and never have any incidents then your best learning
will be from your experiences. May we always be lucky enough to practice the "art" without having any serious consequences so that our vessel and crew return home safely.