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Old 14-11-2017, 04:58   #1
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Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I'm curious, why is it sailors (on this forum and perhaps others) love a good story about boats hitting reefs, collisions, failures, crews stranded etc..

Most of the threads seem to be cynical in their nature and try to apportion blame somewhere too. It' something that I've not seen on other types of forum. No-one ever posts, there was a car crash at the junction of such and such a street, I bet the owner was playing with his stereo or whatever, with other posts then chiming in 'no I have that same car, the steering can get out of whack....'
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Old 14-11-2017, 06:10   #2
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

The only reason that I am interested in such stories is to try to learn from the mistakes of others. I suspect that is the reason for most of the participants here. That ability is one of the things that sets humans apart from other animals.

Of course, there are always going to be a few who just have a prurient interest in the sensational. That's okay with me. Let them enjoy the story for their own reasons. I will learn and try to avoid making the same mistakes myself.
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Old 14-11-2017, 06:20   #3
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I raced the thunder storm into a bay I'm quite familiar with, though hadn't been into in several years.

Racing through the storm was flashing and blowing on my heels. I knew I had to make it around the bar into safe anchorage.

What I didn't know was that the bar had shifted. So I wound up on top of it. I tried to power off to no avail. I carried the anchor to the edge of the bar, but the water becomes very deep very quickly, so kedging didn't work.

I walked ashore on the bar to a public pier and asked the very drunk power boaters to give me a pull, but they were afraid to get arrested.

So I spent the storm there, and the night. bump. bump. bump. all night.

Why do we like to read these stories?

1. entertainment.
2. Increase self-esteem- it doesn't just happen to me!
3. Lessons on seamanship.

Why make fun of the skipper? Simple, because he/ she should have known better. Case in point, the above. I wish somebody had criticized me BEFORE I put the boat on the bar. And, because some of them are so stupid (and cocky) they deserve it.
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Old 14-11-2017, 06:38   #4
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I think it's human nature. When have you ever seen an automobile accident where the other drivers DIDN'T slow down to gawk?

As to WHY it's human nature, one could argue that we are programmed to try to learn from the mistakes of others. We are hard-wired to tell each other cautionary stories (e.g.; horror stories) about things that can harm us.

To do this, we need to analyze the casualty and try to identify the mistakes. It's important that we at least theorize how it could have happened, if we're ever going to avoid doing the same thing ourselves.

To be fair, I still come up with new mistakes of my own, but I like to think I'm avoiding many that I've learned about through stories of marine casualties.

I think this is also why stories of frauds and false distress are so frustrating.
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Old 14-11-2017, 06:52   #5
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I think we can learn a lot from an analysis of boating accidents.

In aviation nearly all accidents are investigated and relevant information is disseminated to those parties that could benefit. It has been an invaluable tool in improving safety standards. The forum cannot hope to conduct a proper detailed, professional analysis along the lines of the aviation model, but there are some very knowledgeable people on the forum and there is usually some useful discussion if you can seperate the wheat from the chafe.

Where these threads go wrong is where the vessel itself was a factor in the accident. In these cases some owners of similar vessels can become aggressively defensive, which is a pity because they perhaps have the most to gain from a frank discussion.
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Old 14-11-2017, 07:09   #6
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Certainly there will be a number of arm chair quarterbacks and worse but for me and I think the majority of boaters there is a desire to learn from the incidents. A good bit of "there but for the grace of God go I."

By the way, it's not just boating forums. I see exactly the same on diving (especially technical diving), flying and other forums that focus on activities that are potentially hazardous.
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Old 14-11-2017, 07:36   #7
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
Most of the threads seem to be cynical in their nature and try to apportion blame somewhere too.'
I don't think it's "apportion blame" so much as "determine the root causes".

I prefer to learn from other people's mistakes rather than my own.
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Old 14-11-2017, 08:40   #8
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
The only reason that I am interested in such stories is to try to learn from the mistakes of others. I suspect that is the reason for most of the participants here. That ability is one of the things that sets humans apart from other animals.

Of course, there are always going to be a few who just have a prurient interest in the sensational. That's okay with me. Let them enjoy the story for their own reasons. I will learn and try to avoid making the same mistakes myself.
It's the car wreck effect
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Old 14-11-2017, 08:53   #9
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I hear what everyone is saying. It just seems more prevalent on sailing forums.

Perhaps because the risks are bigger, I don't know.
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Old 14-11-2017, 09:30   #10
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
The only reason that I am interested in such stories is to try to learn from the mistakes of others. I suspect that is the reason for most of the participants here. That ability is one of the things that sets humans apart from other animals.

Of course, there are always going to be a few who just have a prurient interest in the sensational. That's okay with me. Let them enjoy the story for their own reasons. I will learn and try to avoid making the same mistakes myself.
This, essentially. Criticisms of other sailors (the "armchair admiralty court") and their decisions, while clearly inviting hubristic outcomes, are often only a sort of exasperation at the sometimes minimal skill set (or so certain incidents imply) required to sail the seas. This is particularly the case for me when I read of plotter- or related device-mediated groundings or other situations in which just being on deck looking around might have prevented the unpleasant outcome.
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Old 14-11-2017, 10:42   #11
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

I have read the posts on this forum and there is an alarming element of "oh blood in the water it's feeding time!" that goes on here. I have heard many say how 'helpful and friendly' Cruisers are when you meet them on the water. I guess that friendly spirit drys up when you put a keyboard in from of them.
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Old 14-11-2017, 10:47   #12
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

yes, I read the stories and as others stated I learn from other sailors mistakes of equipment failure.
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Old 14-11-2017, 12:56   #13
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

some of us remember the good ole days when doing a watch meant staring at a compass for 3 -18 hours or so and hand steering.

getting a fix meant ,dead recconing,star fix,lop or noon site.

weather forcasts at sea involved watching the upper level cloud formations , barometer and wave patterns.

dinner at sea after the first week involved tinned food.

sail reduction involved leaving the cockpit to reef at the mast and un-hank,and hank on smaller sails.

water and power was something that was conserved,and accumulated when the opurtunity arose......

arriving at night at your destination generally would have you hove to till daylight untill safe to approach an unknow coast.

i could go on but i think you get the gist of why some of us have a degree of "shadenfrude" for those that substitute seamanship with gadgetry and impatience,then wonder why it all went pear shaped....
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Old 14-11-2017, 13:00   #14
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Cruiser Forums Loves A Good Disaster Story

(I'm curious, why is it sailors (on this forum and perhaps others) love a good story about boats hitting reefs, collisions, failures, crews stranded etc..Most of the threads seem to be cynical in their nature and try to apportion blame somewhere too.)

I explain my interest by stating my belief that I try to learn something useful from as much reporting on the details as I can find. and in some cases make changes on my refit project.

One prime example being; That after reading a repeated scenario of sailors (usually those with more limited experience?) Getting caught in a very bad storm at sea. Take down all sail, Start their engine. As the boat pitches and rolls, Algae growth in the fuel tank gets agitated. Which blocks the filter, Causing the engine to stop. So they Call SOS. Coast Guard or the navy performs a dramatic rescue. They abandon their yacht. Almost immediately once on shore there is a U Tube video and a GO FUND ME page. The yacht usually drifts/sails back to the land and is salvaged. After receiving the insurance money if there was any, and the sympathies donations. (value never disclosed) The original owner often seems to have limited interest in the recovery/


So I have fitted two Diesel Fuel tanks. The engine will draw from a small day tank that has a progressive bank of filters between it and the engine, All fuel from the larger supply tank will be filtered and pumped over as required. Any fuel from Jerry cans will be treated the same way, So I hope this will help to prevent such a scenario happening to me.

Clearly there are legitimate accidents that happen to even the more skilled sailor who are renown for great feats of round the world racing and cruising. The two most common failures are loss of their keel. or serious damage or loss of their rudder or steering. These situations are far more understandable reasons for being lifted off. and when ever there is a successful story of Drogue and sail balance being used to bring a vessel without a Rudder back into safe harbour. or jury rigging after a dissmasting to achieve the same end, Doesn't that serve as inspiration to us all?

However once in a while we get a news story of drifting at sea for so many months, or run up astern on an uncharted Rock in a situation where the wreck site is totally surrounded by islets and rock, Am I the only one who is cynical in these circumstance. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!
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Old 14-11-2017, 13:10   #15
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Re: Cruiser forums loves a good disaster story

Quote:
there are some very knowledgeable people on the forum and there is usually some useful discussion if you can seperate the wheat from the chafe.
H

Nolex, I was wondering if the above is a typo or a rather clever pun? If the latter, hats off!

Jim
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