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Old 08-04-2015, 22:40   #1
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Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

My husband and I just got back from our first charter in the Seychelles. We checked the weather before we headed out but were unable to get weather info after we left as the radio antenna was broken and eventually fell off in a squall. My husband and I are both racers by history in small boats. I took the RYA day skipper course and learned about cruising, comfort and reefing. My husband did not take this course. I spent 90% of my time at the helm with him on the sails with help from the kids. As the first squall approached I suggested a reef. He refused and joked we should put the kite up. As it hit there were an uncomfortable few minutes while he put the reef in with the kids. The next day the black clouds approached and we double reefed the main and reefed the jib. We are teachable! We learned a tremendous amount on that trip and think we need to repeat it a few more times before investing in a boat ourselves


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Old 09-04-2015, 05:28   #2
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

Today I started reading "Storm Tactics" by Lin and Larry Pardey. I am about a quarter of the way through it and have learned a ton. We were lucky to be near a protected cove and just ducked in the second time around. There we had cell phone reception and called the base to get a weather update...winds continuing at 35 knots until 4 am with driving rain. We decided to stay put and had a really bumpy night when the wind clocked around as did the swell. We stood anchor watches but all was well


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Old 09-04-2015, 05:59   #3
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

The Pardy book on storm tactics is a great book, distilling all of the wide ranging storm and safety tactics down to practical, usable advice. You can't go wrong following their recommendations, in my opinion.

As someone who grew up racing as well as cruising in equal measure, there is a big dimension of the racing mindset that you need to check at the door when you go cruising. Yes, it's fun and rewarding to get somewhere more quickly, to have the boat going as fast as you can, but safety comes first. There's a huge difference between day races in smaller boats among a gaggle of other boats and being on a big, more complicated boat, in challenging conditions where if something breaks or goes wrong the consequences are more severe, are more difficult to remedy, and can threaten your safety.

There is no better teacher than experience. Sounds like it made a good impression on the both of you.
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Old 09-04-2015, 06:21   #4
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

I recommend you relish your racing experience and don't suppress it as you acquire cruising knowledge. You will be better cruisers as a result because you will better understand whatever boat you come to know. There is no substitute for racing for learning how to sail optimally, IMHO.

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Old 09-04-2015, 07:02   #5
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

There is no teacher as good as first hand experience.

Now you know that the oft repeated phrase

reef early - reef often

is well sorth knowing and heeding.

Our experience is that as soon as you begin to think about reefing - it is past time to do so.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:04   #6
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

I want to know how much ribbing you gave him for not listening to you, and how did he take it?
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:14   #7
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

As a racer you need to suppress your racers erge to push the boat, and embrace the cruiser that is shoved aside by the racer. When you do, sails will last longer, much longer and so will your other gear. That one extra knot comes at a cost.

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Old 09-04-2015, 07:15   #8
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

In truth there wasn't much ribbing. He saw the fearful look on the kids face, my knees shaking and what an awful time he had getting the reef in. The second time around all I had to do is ask.

I agree that there are some aspects of racing that are just plain good sailing practice. The mentality I was more referring to was the no holes barred boat speed at the brink of destruction thoughts.


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Old 09-04-2015, 07:38   #9
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

methinks that perhaps you husband should take the day skipper course

of course you both probably could learn a lot by taking a couple more advanced courses

Actually you generally don't lose much speed by tqking in a reef. The sailing is much more comfortable. No one like heeling 20+ degrees all day long if it can be avoided
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:07   #10
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

Carsten,
I fully intend on taking more advanced courses as I get more time under my belt. We don't intend on purchasing a boat for a couple more years and will try and charter a few more times before then and catch a ride any chance we can get. Hubby and I just went for a long walk and discussed what went well and what we both could have done better at next time. The experience really seemed to sink in and I think we both will do things different next time


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Old 09-04-2015, 09:12   #11
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

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Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post
Carsten,
I fully intend on taking more advanced courses as I get more time under my belt. We don't intend on purchasing a boat for a couple more years and will try and charter a few more times before then and catch a ride any chance we can get. Hubby and I just went for a long walk and discussed what went well and what we both could have done better at next time. The experience really seemed to sink in and I think we both will do things different next time


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Good for you!

And remember - you should both get equally good at sailing the boat - lots more enjoyment for both.

If I recall, I once posted a link to Captain Jack videos for you. They're great for people starting out and even old salts can learn from them. You can buy them from The Sailing Channel for about 12 bucks - well worth the investment
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:15   #12
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

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Actually you generally don't lose much speed by tqking in a reef. The sailing is much more comfortable. No one like heeling 20+ degrees all day long if it can be avoided
With my boat, that is very true, on a broad reach she is going about as fast as she is going to at 15 degrees or so, more sail just stresses the rigging and lays her over more, with very little increase in speed.
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:16   #13
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

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With my boat, that is very true, on a broad reach she is going about as fast as she is going to at 15 degrees or so, more sail just stresses the rigging and lays her over more, with very little increase in speed.
True for most boats
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:30   #14
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

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Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post
Carsten,
I fully intend on taking more advanced courses as I get more time under my belt. We don't intend on purchasing a boat for a couple more years and will try and charter a few more times before then and catch a ride any chance we can get. Hubby and I just went for a long walk and discussed what went well and what we both could have done better at next time. The experience really seemed to sink in and I think we both will do things different next time


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Most of what we learn to do right we learn by doing it wrong. I just try hard not to make the same mistake over too many times. There are always new mistakes to try out.😉


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Old 09-04-2015, 11:23   #15
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Re: Getting a racer into the cruising mentality

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There are always new mistakes to try out.😉


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