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Old 08-11-2009, 08:18   #91
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That makes the dream to life style conversion rate = 1 in 1000. That's obviously just a swag, but there is some truth to it.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was 5000 or even 10,000 to 1. Thanks for posting Evans! Funny you mention nurses. The word "nurse" brings to mind a tough, no nonsense, dedicated person. Same with school teacher. I have met almost every type you have described, and both you and James mentioned the group of cruisers who focused on cruising as a mode of travel to see the world. It takes a while to realize that not only is your boat anchored, it IS an anchor! I am often uncomfortable leaving the boat unattended for long to explore ashore. I feel much better in a marina, but finances argue against it. If either partner counted on a lot of inland travel without sufficient funding, I think they are better off going to windward in a 747. It's important to write down these "realitys" so potential cruisers can have realistic expectations before laying it all on the line...
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:06   #92
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OK - So Steinbeck was a cynic. I know many people with attributes we admire who also produce what we love. Those are the real success stories.

The comments made by some about goals are also interesting. Goals are very necessary to provide direction for the action, but the real value is in the process. Not yet a boat owner and only a rank beginner as a sailer, what I am gathering from the wisdom of the group is that sailing as a way of life does not lend it's self very well to hard set goals (other than the obvious, i.e. get to the next destination, survive this storm, solve the immediate problem, etc).

While the destination is important, it's how you get there that counts (a reflection on Stienbeck) How you get ther is where you get to practice successful failure and adjust the goals accordingly. That is true no matter where you "sail". It is just hard for me to consider someone who choses to quit sailing for any reason to have experineced a "failure of dreams". I think it is more helpful to think in terms of learning new information that motivates a "resetting" of goals.
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Old 08-11-2009, 15:55   #93
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There is a group that do get off but have a terrible first passage (surprisingly common - happened to us) and just never regain their self-confidence and turn around.
Evans, what kept you and Beth going? I love to hear the tale...
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Old 08-11-2009, 17:36   #94
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I - practicing successful failure.
Thats nothing ...I'v got a PHD in it...
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Old 08-11-2009, 19:09   #95
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This has been and interesting thread on "failure" of dreams. Quite wide ranging in fact. As a therapist I spend a lot of time helping people learn how to fail successfully - that is learn not how to repeat the same mistake. Only in that way is failure not a failure. I too look forward to retiring in a few years and living wherever the dream and live takes my wife and I - practicing successful failure. That perspective makes life a lot more exciting and resiliant
Ahhh now I have always called that graceful recovery from a f@#k up lol I figure that is what separates the wana bes from the the successful. The successful know how to recover gracefully from their mistakes, let's face it we all make mistakes some of us just do better in the recovery lol. Make it look like you meant to do it that way all along This applies to working on and sailing boats as much as anything.

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Old 08-11-2009, 21:09   #96
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Graceful recovery - I like it. Not that I go out of my way to "fail" but I've come to learn that I'm not really learning unless there is a fair amount of trial and error involved. I believe discretion is the art of making little mistakes around the edges so I can learn how to not make the big ones when it really counts. I've really appreciated this forum for that reason. We certainly can learn from the learning opportunities of others.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:21   #97
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Evans, what kept you and Beth going? I love to hear the tale...
We both have Phd's, not in graceful failure, but in stubborn!

There were some secondary external factors:

Beth was quite ready to get on a flight home after our first passage but the women in the cruising community convinced her that our passage had been exceptionally bad and to continue on and give it another try. Looking back, our next passage (to the Azores) was bad by normal cruising standards but so much better than the first one that Beth enjoyed it enormously - singing and baking fresh pizza while hove-to in a gale. I knew I had a winning crew at that moment.

My parents had been so disappointed in me, giving up my career and education, to be a sailing bum. I just simply could not accept the thought of quiting cruising at the first hurdle and slinking back home. Perhaps not the best, most logical, reason for continuing, but an honest human one - ego and stubborn combined!

My impression talking with other cruisers is that really bad first passages are actually quite valuable experiences if you manage to survive and continue. At the very least they set a very low standard/expectation level so everything else from then on looks pretty good!

Something about the cruising life that is hard to understand or accept from shore is that you trade-off really high and exciting and emotional moments for really low and difficult moments. Ashore you generally cut off the highs and lows and have a stable somewhat pale and dull existence. But learning to deal/cope with the extreme swings of comfort and emotion and excitement of the cruising life is difficult for many/most people. It's something you really can't prepare for - you don't get it in a week's charter in the BVI or in week vacation type coastal sailing/cruising.

I remember our first passage on Hawk. We had been RTW on Silk and then come back to shore for 4 years to work and build the next boat. Since we had been RTW we figured we know what it was all about. But on that first passage after 4 years ashore, we both realized we had forgotten entirely what it was like to have the extreme highs and lows back in our life. You really need some stable and calm place inside you somewhere to buffer these extreme swings.

Regarding 'graceful failue' - at GE, there was a policy not to give anyone an important job until/unless they had already had a bad failure and bounced back and dealt with it and recovered the situation. The 'bright young turks', who typically were stars all the way thru school and had never failed in their life at anything, were constantly thrown into small situations and places until they had a failure and dealt with it (or not). The feeling was that you could not be judged to be an adult until you had failed and gracefully recovered. I never had this problem . . . I am dyslexic and failed early and often
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:30   #98
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at GE, there was a policy not to give anyone an important job until/unless they had already had a bad failure and bounced back and dealt with it and recovered the situation.
I'm quite impressed with this. Smart, very smart. I notice you mostly referred to bad passages, but I guess problems can start even before an attempt at an offshore passage is made. Met a guy in a marina a couple of years ago who was trying to convince his wife that cruising would be a perfect way to retire. They went on a nice coastal cruise, and one day as he listened to the weather they warned about a nor'easter coming. He took shelter in what he thought would be the perfect place; a tiny lagoon surrounded by big houses in New Jersey. It blew, and that night the boat dragged in the crappy holding ground and took out a dock and three VERY expensive powerboats. In the course of our conversation, he related atleast three other "horror stories" about close calls he had been through. He thought it was just part of cruising. Luckily, he managed to get his wife ashore, and although he was almost finished with repairs when I met him, his cruising days were over before they even began...Darwin wins again.

STILL sanding, CVH
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:33   #99
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Great thread, loved the posts!

Lots of thoughts on the topic of "failures" but I will share briefly only my thoughts regarding depression and solo sailors and goal setting after six years getting from Australia to Venezuala. In almost every port where there a variety of sailboats either passing through on passages or folks living aboard "on the cheap", but few marine facilities such as full facility marinas, chandleries, travel lifts etc; if you ask around, you will find a boat for sail where the solo guy sailor committed suicide. Places like Port Elizabeth in Africa, Nosy Bay in Madagascar and Paramaribo in Suriname come immediately to mind as specific cases in point.

I really do not know the reasons why other solo sailors would take this drastic step, but would comment on my own experience as a solo guy. The sheer volume of work involved (day to day housekeeping, cooking and maintenance on top of it all) can become daunting, especially if something majo breaks, if you do not have a goal or destination in mind for the voyage. I have the boat, and almost adequate funds (almost because there is never enough money to have the boat the way you would like) to keep the boat maintained and moving. I love sailing and love visiting the different places. But as a solo guy, I had periods of depression while anchored in Brasil for six months, I think due to worries of finance and the maintenance chores. When combined with no clear goal for the future, I would sort of wonder what I was going to do if things did not get better. Never thought about suicide, but the depression did keep me from tackling the chores at hand, only making things worse! Once I established a goal for the next year, ie cruise the Carribean, I immediately got back to work. But now the question looms as what to do after touring the Carib this season. And when you can not have that clear goal in front of you, it sometimes is hard to see beyond the constant work and effort. I would imagine it all becomes much worse when the funds are lacking.

Just six months ago in Trinidad, there was a solo guy on a boat, sort of permanently anchored in one of the bays. The boat was in poor condition and it appeared there was being little effort expended in bring it back. I spoke to him briefly when going ashore and passing his boat, sort of a casual question, saying Hi and asking where he was going next, a curt response was "No plans, except that if things do not get better I may kill myself." He then just turned and disappeared below not to be seen on deck for the next two days.

I suspect it is less difficult with couples to have these highs and lows of depressions The shared work load helps, and I suppose the goal setting is easier, although there most certainly more discussion!

One final thought, some folks never get started cruising because what the really enjoyed was the "project". I remember vividly a guy and his wife in Australia who had spent three years refitting their boat to go on a circumnavigation. At least that was his story to all, but one night while his wife was visiting relatives, he came to visit Juno and I for drinks and dinner. The subject came up after several drinks and he confided to me that he doubted he would ever leave the slip, he enjoyed working on the boat so much and his wife really did not like sailing. But he said it was being able to participate vicariously with those living the life that made helped make the "project" so much fun and worth while.

Great thread, we do learn through failures and mistakes, so some times the doom and gloom is necessary!

Great thread!

Tom
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:49   #100
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I remember vividly a guy and his wife in Australia who had spent three years refitting their boat to go on a circumnavigation.
Great post Tom! I singlehanded my first cruise, NJ to the Keys and Bahamas. I loved the experience, and wouldn't trade the memories for anything, but I often found myself exclaiming "Look at that!", only to realize there's no one there... I cant wait to share the experience this time.

About cruising goals... We are asked all the time "Where ya goin' in that thing, round the world?". My standard answer is that we're going up 'til it get cold, then down til we're just right. That usually pisses off the questioner, but it's 100% true. I dont really understand circumnavigations. If I ever do one, it will be because it's quicker to keep going that way to get home.
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:56   #101
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Thanks Christian

You are so right people cruise for different reasons, I never have said my goal is to do a circumnavigation, but since I almost have now, peple think I am being disengenous when I say that. Now I jokingly tell other cruisers that my goal is to run aground at least once in every major ocean of the world. So far I am proud to say I am on track in my goal!

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Old 09-11-2009, 05:59   #102
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My impression talking with other cruisers is that really bad first passages are actually quite valuable experiences if you manage to survive and continue. At the very least they set a very low standard/expectation level so everything else from then on looks pretty good!
I would second this. Pretty much describes my experience. My new wife, however, hasn't had the same experience.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:49   #103
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if you can get through nursing school, you can get through anything.


Its attitudinal. In the face of immense difficulty: "Its only the pain that hurts Mr Smith, now roll over while I give you bottom a little prick!"

That and dealing with bed pans.

I think nurses has a real sense of reality.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:33   #104
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...
There is a group that do get off but have a terrible first passage (surprisingly common - happened to us) and just never regain their self-confidence and turn around.
...
I have always been suprised that people would start off on a long trip without having done a passage or two in someone else's boat. It seems pretty easy to get a crew position for deliveries. Of course, I am a confirmed member of the "other people's boat" club and have no other way to sail.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:09   #105
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I would second this. Pretty much describes my experience. My new wife, however, hasn't had the same experience.
I should amend that. It wasn't my first passage, but it was an early one and the longest, as well as the most memorable!
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