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Old 19-03-2013, 14:43   #46
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

To resurrect aviation comparions:

One of the main lessons taught to pilots is that, in case of emergency "FLY THE PLANE"

The point of the lesson is simple. No matter how many beeping, flashing, buzzing, honking, or screaming things are going on around you...
No matter what has broken or bent...
The FIRST and LAST thing a pilot must do is to FLY THE PLANE

Another lesson is to teach the value of risk avoidance. A good pilot is a pretty boring dude. He is not a risk taker. He is not a thrill seeker. He is patient, prudent, and wise from experience and training. He knows how to (a) recognize a dangerous situation, (b) avoid a dangerous situation, and (c) handle a dangerous situation - in that order

In sailing training, your are taught to take command of your vessel. This is not a skill, or a knowledge test. It is a judgement of your ability to be in command of your vessel, and not allowing the vessel (or it's circumstances) to take command of you.

Knowing how to (a) recognize a dangerous situation (weather or navigation hazards), (b) avoid those dangerous situations, and (c) handle a dangerous situation are surely key elements for a blue water cruiser - much of which comes from experience - ideally experience that was gained in a measured, predictable way over a period of time, rather than learned from a sudden near-disaster that came entirely by surprise.
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Old 19-03-2013, 14:48   #47
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

I would add to point [9] - The ability to predecide when to call for help. In the back of your mind there must be a set of circumstances when that call is to be made.

If I have read comments from those involved in rescues correctly it is way better to call earlier rather than later.

Losing a boat is one thing. Losing a loved companion would bring pain almost beyond belief.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:02   #48
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Calling for help only works when your coastal cruising or Island hopping, not too effective in the middle of the ocean although you might get lucky depending on exactly where your at.
Self sufficient is very cool because in our day to day lives it does not exist. We are told when to get up, when we can cross the road, when we should do damn near everything but we are lead to "believe" that we are free souls. When we first went cruising and we only looked to ourselves for whatever we needed was when we felt free for the first time. Words do not do justice to the feeling and even after all these years its still the number one thing that draws me back to this type of lifestyle.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:06   #49
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
To resurrect aviation comparions:

One of the main lessons taught to pilots is that, in case of emergency "FLY THE PLANE"

The point of the lesson is simple. No matter how many beeping, flashing, buzzing, honking, or screaming things are going on around you...
No matter what has broken or bent...
The FIRST and LAST thing a pilot must do is to FLY THE PLANE

Another lesson is to teach the value of risk avoidance. A good pilot is a pretty boring dude. He is not a risk taker. He is not a thrill seeker. He is patient, prudent, and wise from experience and training. He knows how to (a) recognize a dangerous situation, (b) avoid a dangerous situation, and (c) handle a dangerous situation - in that order

In sailing training, your are taught to take command of your vessel. This is not a skill, or a knowledge test. It is a judgement of your ability to be in command of your vessel, and not allowing the vessel (or it's circumstances) to take command of you.

Knowing how to (a) recognize a dangerous situation (weather or navigation hazards), (b) avoid those dangerous situations, and (c) handle a dangerous situation are surely key elements for a blue water cruiser - much of which comes from experience - ideally experience that was gained in a measured, predictable way over a period of time, rather than learned from a sudden near-disaster that came entirely by surprise.
Funny thing, when I'm sailing on a local lake I find I keep too much sail up for wind conditions, head for home at the last minute when a blow is comming in, etc.

However, when sailing in the salt (or Great Lakes) I find my appetite for risk taking diminishes the further I go from shore.

I have a significant adversion to having a Coastie come rescue me from my own stupidity.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:14   #50
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
To resurrect aviation comparions:

One of the main lessons taught to pilots is that, in case of emergency "FLY THE PLANE"

The point of the lesson is simple. No matter how many beeping, flashing, buzzing, honking, or screaming things are going on around you...
No matter what has broken or bent...
The FIRST and LAST thing a pilot must do is to FLY THE PLANE


.
I fully agree with your other point, but I think this first one needs to be taken in a more limited context, because it seems to me there's a crucial difference between planes and boats:

How many planes do you find drifting around the sky weeks or months after being abandoned?

Sometimes people knock themselves out trying to look after the boat at times when the boat is perfectly capable of looking after itself.

You sometimes need to harbour your resources in bad conditions, so that you're fully available, should something happen such that you suddenly DO have to look after the boat.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:21   #51
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pirate Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
I fully agree with your other point, but I think this first one needs to be taken in a more limited context, because it seems to me there's a crucial difference between planes and boats:

How many planes do you find drifting around the sky weeks or months after being abandoned?

Sometimes people knock themselves out trying to look after the boat at times when the boat is perfectly capable of looking after itself.

You sometimes need to harbour your resources in bad conditions, so that you're fully available, should something happen such that you suddenly DO have to look after the boat.
Often the hardest part of sailing for so many..
sitting back and doing nothing...
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:52   #52
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

I was at an interesting cruisers meeting at the marina on the topic of crossing from Florida to the Bahamas. One common route is to go from the upper Keys to Bimini, especially for first timers. There was lots of discussion about the markers and how to get to the marina in Bimini once you had crossed the Gulf Stream. (I do understand how some folks might not consider this water sailing">blue water sailing but bear with me).


Someone raised the point of what would happen if there were engine or rudder problems and the answer was to go into Nixon Harbor with its easy access instead of using the narrow entrance to Bimini Harbor. At this point the idea of how important it is to have a Plan B. No matter where you are boating (be it a small inland lake or the Southern Ocean) you need to keep in mind that you may need a Plan B.
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Old 20-03-2013, 07:12   #53
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Well said ArtM, sail the boat.
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Old 20-03-2013, 08:30   #54
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

When I was young I did a few trips without worry.Raced a lot as well.
Now I know much more,have done a lot more and I worry a lot more.
Just do it but keep seeking advice and listen occasionally!
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Old 20-03-2013, 09:56   #55
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Hey y'all

This is a great topic, and pretty relevant to our current situation. I and a friend purchased a 2000 Hunter 340 two months ago. At the outset, we had zero experience with full size yachts, and only a months worth of sailing small centerboard crafts on some lakes in Michigan.

We purchased the boat in Corpus Christi, TX. We hired a captain to take us as far as he could in two weeks, and to teach us about sailing. Unfortunately, due to some pre-departure repairs, our time with the captain actually on the water was shortened to about a week. We left Corpus on February 2. We are heading to the Florida Keys. So far we've made it to Panama City, Fl.

We've run into several problems (which apparently is common in sailing), and are definitely learning a lot as we go. We've had some scares. Been beaten up by storms. Gotten seasick while fixing engine problems. Had some near collisions with unlit oil rigs.

Our experience in the last month and a half has taught us that sailing is more than just throwing up the sails and gliding through the water, sun shining and a perfect wind, but when those moments come, they are priceless. Our last sail from Pensacola to Panama City was one of those sails.

We have a blog going. I'll try to avoid shameless plugging by posting links, but for those who are interested, if you do a google search for "sailing Miss Informed", it should be the first link.

I've enjoyed reading all the other comments under this thread. Some great advice!

Cheers,

Bri
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Old 20-03-2013, 11:22   #56
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Informed View Post
We have a blog going. I'll try to avoid shameless plugging by posting links, but for those who are interested, if you do a google search for "sailing Miss Informed", it should be the first link.
Welcome to CF, I appreciate always a bit impolite to start off with posting a link to own blog - but seems relevant to this thread so think a fair chance the following link will survive the Mods .

Living Aboard a Sailboat: Follow our sailing blog as we sail from Texas to the Caribbean!

There is also a thread around here somewhere for links to blogs / websites.
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Old 20-03-2013, 11:30   #57
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

Thanks for the endorsement David!

Also sounds like we need to take a look at "Shoestring Sailors...."! One of the things we've learned is that sailboats cost a lot more than just the price you pay for them...

Cheers,

Bri
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Old 20-03-2013, 18:34   #58
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

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I would add to point [9] - The ability to predecide when to call for help. In the back of your mind there must be a set of circumstances when that call is to be made.
I really like this idea, and I'm sure I wrote a brief something about it recently, but I can't find it...

I really like the idea of having a pre-established set of rules or guidelines that act to give you a somewhat unemotional decision making process.
The same principle can be applied to some rules and guidelines about the conditions & situations you will put yourself into... eg. I will never take my wife out when the forecast includes gusts over 45kts etc...

However, when I spent a few moments trying to work out how to practically write this list, it all became very complicated quite quickly. I became stumped because there are just so many variables that it makes the black & white rulebook very hard to write.

I guess there are some very basic things you could establish - eg. if water in > water out, make a PanPan at least...
I would love to see someone have a crack at writing this list (i love straight answers, lists, rules and black and whiteness... but the real world is very curvy and colourful!) <-- Yes, thats how you spell colour!
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Old 20-03-2013, 23:02   #59
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

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I really like the idea of having a pre-established set of rules or guidelines that act to give you a somewhat unemotional decision making process.
The same principle can be applied to some rules and guidelines about the conditions & situations you will put yourself ..........

I would love to see someone have a crack at writing this list (i love straight answers, lists, rules and black and whiteness... but the real world is very curvy and colourful!) <-- Yes, thats how you spell colour!
Grey areas and the possibility of infinite combinations would make this list next to useless <-- Yes, thats how you spell grey!
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Old 21-03-2013, 00:17   #60
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Re: Bluewater sailing - how much knowledge & experience is enough?

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I really like this idea, and I'm sure I wrote a brief something about it recently, but I can't find it...

I really like the idea of having a pre-established set of rules or guidelines that act to give you a somewhat unemotional decision making process.
The same principle can be applied to some rules and guidelines about the conditions & situations you will put yourself into... eg. I will never take my wife out when the forecast includes gusts over 45kts etc...
It can be done, and if you take sailing certificaion courses you will get your pre-established set of rules and guidelines. You will find someone who will certify you to be competent to various levels of sailing. For a fee, you will get books, instructors, testing, and certificates. You can do it on your boat, on their boat, or on a rented boat. You will start a log, and begin tracking all of your experiences at sea.

And then, some day, you can proudly post your opinions and wisdom here on the CF with the moniker "CaptWannabee007"

Boat designs are tested, and the results published, as to their ability to weather various conditions, limits for capsizing, maximum safe speeds, and so on. The various coastal officials around the world publish warnings with systems of flags, radio signals, and announcements on automated weather stations as to when you should not be out sailing with your wife.

When you are unsure of your own judgement or information, you will find voices of other certified competent people coming over your VHF, shortwave, SatPhone, or whatever new gizmo they will have 10 years from now.

Charts, books, and guides can be purchased, downloaded, or pirated. They have even more lists and guidelines and rules to be followed. You can get an electronic gizmo that will mount on your boat and feed you a constant stream of this data, custom tailored to your exact location, bearing, and planned course.

Then, someday, you will be on CF grousing about all the gizmo kids who can't sail a boat without an electronic Nanny beeping and buzzing in their ears, and that a man should be able to sail a boat by his wits and muscle and eyes and ears alone, and anyone who can't do that probably shouldn't be at sea.
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