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Old 24-01-2009, 20:17   #16
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This thread has me wondering though, what the future might bring to the " Last Frontier" as more and more people venture offshore.
If you consider the last frontier was about 200 years ago I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
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Old 24-01-2009, 20:32   #17
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Ain't getting off the stinking boat unless we gotta step up to get in the raft. . . .
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Old 24-01-2009, 20:51   #18
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I think if the coasties (or anyone else for that matter) charged by the mile away from land for rescue, we'ed have different results. I can hear it now....
Skipper:- "Mayday mayday, this is the sailing vessel scared stupid. We are 1000 miles of the coast of Utopia. We are in a fierce storm and the ship will be breaking apart in minutes. Please help!!! Mommy!!!
Coastguard:- Roger that Skipper...we are sending out a Helo to pick you up. We are charging you $10 a mile. Uhhh, lets see...1000 miles times 2 is 2000 times $10 is $20,000. Do you have your visa card number Skipper? Over...
Skipper:- Uhhh...Nevermind Coastguard...I think we have the situation under control...over and out.
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Old 24-01-2009, 21:12   #19
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Yes...or they ask for your rescue insurance policy number...like health insurance.

or......."Skipper..sure we can open that bridge for ya...will that be debit or credit? "
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Old 24-01-2009, 22:59   #20
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Assumptions

One of the underlying assumptions of a modern cruiser is s/he is entitled to ask others to put their lives at risk if for any reason the cruiser's life is endangered. The sense of entitlement is symbolized by the omnipresence of the epirb.

I'm pretty sure this isn't a good thing, and while soloing I don't plan on having one aboard. But if I have my family with, I want it. I hate being wishy-washy...
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Old 25-01-2009, 00:29   #21
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The problem is landlubbers sailing flimsy, ill-handling production yachts. They, as well as their floating condo, don't belong anywhere near the ocean. Throw a little adversity at them and they are screaming like kids for their mommy. Life at sea can become very unpleasant at times, even for experienced sailors in a proper yacht. Put a landlubber in an unfriendly boat that feels like it is about to sink at any moment, and you have a great recipe for panic.
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Old 25-01-2009, 06:14   #22
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From the accounts of offshore abandonments that I've read, it's not necessarily a case of badly designed boats as much as skippers and crews who haven't taken steps to prepare themselves for the offshore experience. Time after time the boat that was abandoned remains afloat and weathers the storm.

People post threads here and on other boards asking what it takes to be ready for an offshore passage. Mostly their focus is on the boat and equipment. They forget the human part of the equation. Others post advise them to "Just do it!" I suspect that most of those posters have never sailed offshore in a storm.

I really have a problem with the "just do it" mentality as applied to offshore sailing. Even a skipper and crew who are very experienced and accomplished as coastal sailors can become unglued in a three day Force 9 or greater storm offshore. In coastal sailing it's usually possible to find safe haven after a few hours of battling wind and waves, and the wind and waves encountered are usually maybe 40 knots and 6-8' or less. Sleep deprivation, dehydration, lack of proper food, debilitating sea sickness, the ungodly din of the wind in the rigging, and battering and bruising from the gyrations of the boat are almost never part of the equation in coastal sailing. So, once the crew gets offshore and into the "soup", it's a whole new world for them. They had no way to visualize it, and they're not up to it, physically nor psychologically.

The physical and psychological demands of offshore sailing in adverse conditions can be mastered through practice. Purposefully sailing in heavy weather in a coastal environment, practicing heaving to, learning how the boat handles and how your body reacts in rough conditions are important first steps. But the best learning experience is to get your first offshore adventure in someone else's boat, with a crew who are experienced offshore sailors. That was my first offshore experience, and I can tell you that nothing in my fairly extensive coastal sailing and island chartering experience prepared me for it. Having three experienced guys along allowed me to make the most out of the learning experience. We endured a three day Strong Gale, lost the primary steering, had the engine quit, and the batteries drained to almost nothing. During the worst of the gale we were standing double watches, steering with a two foot long pipe attached to the rudder post. Steer for a half hour, collapse on the cockpit seat while your watchmate steered, repeat the cycle once. Then down below for some "rest" (sleep was impossible), then back to Hell at the helm. This went on for 2-1/2 days. A boat within miles of our route was abandoned. But we made it, and the rum at landfall was all the tastier for our troubles.

Of course many coastal sailors do make a first-time offshore trip and are able to complete it successfully, in spite of storms and gear failures. But I wonder how many of those who abandoned ship could have stuck it out and continued on to their destination if they had only taken the time to work their way up to the experience.

I really appreciated that opportunity to test myself offshore with guys who could easily continue on without me if I had ended up unable to perform. In subsequent bluewater passages on my own boat, I always had two experienced crew, but made room for an offshore "newbie", someone with solid coastal experience but none offshore. Without exception the newbies experienced "shock and awe" at how much more demanding it was compared with his coastal experience. But they made it through, and were glad to have the experience.
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Old 25-01-2009, 07:07   #23
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Well said, Hud!
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Old 25-01-2009, 08:50   #24
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Complacency

I think the main problem here is complacency. People forget one of the most famous seafairing quotes..." If you're not scared, you dont know the facts." They see others cruising and they think, "hey, I can do that", with no understanding of whats involed. This type of complancency is obvious in just about any anchorage. How many times have you been enjoying a nice secluded spot on the hook when someone else comes and drops a hook right next to you, when there is lots of room elsewhere. These are the cruisers I refer to as "Sheeple", because they tend to herd together. Often going out in the bad conditions because someone else did.

Another factor is that some people dont react in a good way in bad situations. Anyone with any experience in bad situations knows what I am saying. Some people panic, some freeze, and some really shine, (often suprising themselves). You should know alot about yourself before you go out there.
Mother nature can overwelm any vessel. Through proper planing you can avoid most of the really bad wheather.

Another factor is that So many of the boats cruising today were designed with racing and racing rules and IMO are not very good cruising vessels. Too light and the rigs are to tall. All in the interest of sailing into the wind or in light wind, but who, (other than someone racing), wants to sail to wheather anyway.

Insurance breeds complacency. I have never had insurance, EPIRB, or a liferaft on any of the boats I have cruised on.
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That type of elitist thinking has ballooned the cost of boats, and cruising , far beyond what it need be, and beyond the reach of too many low income cruisers, for no benefit. --Brent Swain
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:11   #25
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QUIDAM
I'd sure like to see pictures of your boat, the avatar looks nice.

PS. I like sailing to weather....makes it feel like I'm going faster than my usual 4.5kts
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:13   #26
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quidam - I agree with your sentiments. However, not having insurance in the USA is brave to put it mildly. A legal system where web sites such as "Who Can I Sue dot Com" flourish is not a comfortable place for the uninsured.
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Old 25-01-2009, 10:06   #27
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quidam - I agree with your sentiments. However, not having insurance in the USA is brave to put it mildly. A legal system where web sites such as "Who Can I Sue dot Com" flourish is not a comfortable place for the uninsured.
And the reason for those to exist at all is because of insurance.
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Old 25-01-2009, 10:30   #28
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Another factor is that So many of the boats cruising today were designed with racing and racing rules and IMO are not very good cruising vessels. Too light and the rigs are to tall. All in the interest of sailing into the wind or in light wind, but who, (other than someone racing), wants to sail to wheather anyway.

.
Me, that's who! Unfortunately, there are some places that nature has placed to windward of where I was at the time... like New Caledonia and Vanuatu when I was in Australia. That is some 800 or 1000 miles upwind in the trades, and having done this trip around 10 times now, I'm really glad that I have one of those unsuitable boats that go well to windward! And this past year on the return trip we had days of light airs from well aft of the beam... I was really glad that I had a dangerously tall mast and a big kite so that I didn't have to motor the whole bloody way like some other voyagers did.
I may have to reef sooner than the chap in a traditional boat, but that seems like a pretty good trade-off to me.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone, Qld, Oz
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Old 25-01-2009, 15:17   #29
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QUIDAM
I'd sure like to see pictures of your boat, the avatar looks nice.

PS. I like sailing to weather....makes it feel like I'm going faster than my usual 4.5kts
Jim, the boat is still in the construction phase but I'll try to post some pics that will give you an idea what she's like.

I've always wanted to go to Yemen ever since I read "Motoring with Muhommed" by Eric Hansen.
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One must be constantly on guard against advocates of the "Be reasonable and do it the hard and expensive way" school of thought.

That type of elitist thinking has ballooned the cost of boats, and cruising , far beyond what it need be, and beyond the reach of too many low income cruisers, for no benefit. --Brent Swain
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Old 25-01-2009, 15:19   #30
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quidam - I agree with your sentiments. However, not having insurance in the USA is brave to put it mildly. A legal system where web sites such as "Who Can I Sue dot Com" flourish is not a comfortable place for the uninsured.
Neelie, It's hard to squeeze blood out of a turnip.
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Quidam (pronounced "key-DAHM"; IPA: /kiːˈdɑːm/) means "a certain one" -or- "a certain thing", "an anonymous passerby" in Classical Latin
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One must be constantly on guard against advocates of the "Be reasonable and do it the hard and expensive way" school of thought.

That type of elitist thinking has ballooned the cost of boats, and cruising , far beyond what it need be, and beyond the reach of too many low income cruisers, for no benefit. --Brent Swain
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