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Old 28-08-2009, 21:19   #1
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Essential Personal Qualities Of Offshore Sailors

Many people wonder what it takes to be an offshore sailor. Most of the time people focus on how much money you need, what kind of boat is required, and how to outfit the yacht. Most of the questions I encounter about sailing around the world are externally oriented focusing on yachts, storms, pirates, and other dangers of sailing offshore.

Less frequently, they comment on the personal qualities required to be a successful offshore voyager. It doesn’t really matter if you are sailing singlehanded or with a crew, offshore sailors have to run their brain in a way that makes it possible for them to survive and enjoy their adventures.

In my experience, I find that offshore sailors need several personal qualities to live their dream. They need Mental Toughness and Zero Ambivalence. The Mental toughness means that they won’t crumble or fall apart when they face adversity. Zero Ambivalence means that they are totally committed to their adventure. They are willing to do whatever it takes to make their adventure happen.

What qualities do you think a person needs to sail long voyages offshore?
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Old 30-08-2009, 08:19   #2
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Of course, besides the traits you mentioned there is - Lunacy, denial, and no fear of mortality. All of which make for great and interesting people with a zest for "living" fully what life they have.
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Old 30-08-2009, 08:48   #3
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prudence & preparation
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Old 30-08-2009, 08:49   #4
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A sense of direction and a belief in their destiny
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Old 30-08-2009, 09:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Of course, besides the traits you mentioned there is - Lunacy, denial, and no fear of mortality. All of which make for great and interesting people with a zest for "living" fully what life they have.
In the lunacy and denial departments, I have come up short. I'm not crazy or in denial, and I still go sailing.

Fear of mortality doesn't seem to be much of a problem for me as well. I am much more afraid of suffering and never really living. I would like to skip the suffering and do some intense living before mortality pays a visit.
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Old 30-08-2009, 09:23   #6
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You need an optimist - if not you will never untie the dock lines and never actually leave. And you need a pessimist - if not you will lose the boat because you did not take enough care. And both need to be stubborn and not quitters.

I suppose that means a singlehander needs a split personality.
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Old 30-08-2009, 13:53   #7
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Patience, Prudence, and Perserverance.
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Old 30-08-2009, 14:05   #8
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If crewed, then too me the number one would be:

-coping well with the crew (by being a kind, understanding, competent and charismatic person),

If solo, then the number one would be:

- being a skilled sailor - one knowing what they are doing & why they are doing what they are doing, well prepared and thorough,

b.
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Old 30-08-2009, 16:16   #9
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Quote:
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You need an optimist - if not you will never untie the dock lines and never actually leave. And you need a pessimist - if not you will lose the boat because you did not take enough care. And both need to be stubborn and not quitters.

I suppose that means a singlehander needs a split personality.
An "optimistic pessimist". That says it for me.

The optimist looks forward to the sun, the wind, the waves, the dancing dolphins and the quiet sunsets at anchor at the end of the passage. He knows that the storm will end, the boat will survive, and all will be well. The pessimist says, "What can go wrong", and prepares for the eventualities, protecting the boat and the crew and insuring the success of the voyage. He wakes up in the middle of the night, hearing a new sound that's "not quite right", and ferrets out the cause.

Without both, the chances of truly enjoying the experience will be less.
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Old 30-08-2009, 17:16   #10
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a higher than average tolerance for discomfort.

a different set of motivators from the average person - not the house, the 3 carat diamond, the fancy job title - instead a Zen like focus on what matters to self and the intense need to be out in the open wilderness.
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Old 30-08-2009, 21:48   #11
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An "optimistic pessimist". That says it for me.

The optimist looks forward to the sun, the wind, the waves, the dancing dolphins and the quiet sunsets at anchor at the end of the passage. He knows that the storm will end, the boat will survive, and all will be well. The pessimist says, "What can go wrong", and prepares for the eventualities, protecting the boat and the crew and insuring the success of the voyage. He wakes up in the middle of the night, hearing a new sound that's "not quite right", and ferrets out the cause.

Without both, the chances of truly enjoying the experience will be less.
Well said. I've listened to the dialogue between the optimist and pessimist thousands of times. It's an essential dialogue for the cruising sailor.
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Old 30-08-2009, 21:57   #12
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You need an optimist - if not you will never untie the dock lines and never actually leave. And you need a pessimist - if not you will lose the boat because you did not take enough care. And both need to be stubborn and not quitters.

I suppose that means a singlehander needs a split personality.
Sometimes it's hard to keep the optimist and pessimist in balance, especially when the going gets tough. Sometimes I wish the pessimist would just be quiet.
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Old 30-08-2009, 22:16   #13
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I would add "a sense of humor" to other good points already made.
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Old 31-08-2009, 00:17   #14
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I would add "a sense of humor" to other good points already made.
Also essential for internet forums
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Old 31-08-2009, 01:10   #15
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Abilitly to work while chundering.

Most long term/long range cruisers dont get sea sick anymore; but often times some feel pretty off during the first few days. My sailing partner (stuffed if I can remember her name) has never taken a watch off because she has felt crook.

Ability to learn new things, wether its a new sailing thing or something else to wile away the time... The self same chic as in the above paragraph has transformed her self from worlds biggest 'fitter and turner'* to worlds best cook!!!!!!! Every week she is trying something new and its always sensational! I am learning to use new spices and thats great fun too!

*Fits food into pots and turns it into S#$%!

Ability not to be afraid of all the things people tell you to be afraid of: ships at night; bumpy rides; pirates; rip-offs etc etc etc


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