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Old 13-05-2010, 19:36   #16
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Has he taken sailing lessons?
yes, in a lazer which he found exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. and don't even ask about the day he dumped her... I keep reminding his brain that a 9000lb cruiser/racer is a very different beast from a lazer... but he forgets when things unnerve him... He has been sailing with a friend who is a hugely experienced sailor and is schooling him and mentoring him. I think he just needs way more water time under his belt... and trying to get it with me has been, as you pointed out, less than successful...
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Old 13-05-2010, 19:45   #17
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well to whatever extent he can identify it the issue seems to be he is afraid the boat will get out of control and maybe flip. that he will land in the water and have problems getting to safety.

Often it seems to manifest as fear of wind. what seems like a nice breeze to us seems like a gale to him. In some other post I gave a semi humerous description of a huge failed sailing day we had recently where he was sitting and saying I couldn't raise the sail cause the wind was too strong, we were to inexperienced, the boat was too old... and I was lookin over his shoulder at another boat raising... the spinnaker...

So not just one thing, but a collection of anxieties that just have not gone away with any reliability... They seem to be under control and then surface at the strangest times...

Learning to be comfortable on someone else's boat seems like a way to get him pass the fear of the unknown and lack of experience because I am not having much luck helping him build his confidence sailing our boat.
As with any anxieties, it goes away with time and exposure which causes familiarity which instills confidence. I used to teach sailing and came across a number of people like this. Positive experiences along with what I said helps bigtime. He will be fine. Being the Admiral in the family, it sounds like you have him doing the right thing.
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Old 13-05-2010, 19:58   #18
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man I LOVE the Himself stories :-)

But do you think sending him out with racers is the right thing? I don't think if you are having troubles being comfortable that going sailing with others who are sailing on the edge is the right approach. Send him out with cruiser types whose goal is to go fast, but to do it comfortably. Then once he is ok with that he maybe will develop the need for speed thing.
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Old 13-05-2010, 20:22   #19
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Treating anxiety problems is one of the (theoretically) easiest things to do. The trick is having the exposure to the anxiety provoking circumstance without having the feared result......
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Old 13-05-2010, 20:23   #20
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Sounds like the whole laser experience has contributed to his fears/anxiety more than helping. I don't blame him, those things are tippy and temperamental. I've never understood why a "beginners" sailing course would be taught on a Laser or 420, they're terrible as a first boat! My wife has an irrational fear of heeling, mostly due to experiences on a tippy dinghy that DID go all the way over one time

I would do the following
1) A few shots of scotch, 2-3 max perhaps, just to take the edge off and help him move with the boat. I think it's still safer than being totally nervous and edgy.
2) Sail on days with light to moderate breezes, on the most sheltered waters possible! Do nice and easy down wind runs, minimal heeling and action.
3) Increase scotch dosing as required.
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Old 13-05-2010, 20:28   #21
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The trouble with racing like that is that you are just rail meat maybe with a macho crew maybe less so. While it gives you exposure to the conditions and probably pushing the limits that is with other people doing the work and knowing what they are doing. Handling it yourself or with a small crew even under cruising conditions is very different because it depends somewhat on you. I think mastery and experience under different circumstances builds confidence. Racing may provide the latter but not the former. Good on him for giving it a go, but you really can't expect him to run before he has learned to walk. There is a deep end approach which however may turn people off for life, and gradual learning at a pace that suits the person. I used to enjoy racing but not that stuff thanks. I suspect it takes too long to learn much with a big crew and specialised roles.
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Old 13-05-2010, 21:06   #22
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good observations about the lazer experience not being such a good one... but he wanted to do it and its water under the hull now... can't take away that moment he clutched the sheet and dumped us... me clinging to the high side and holding on while she lay on her side.. knowing I was gonna have to get IN the bay on a cold day to get her righted... that was a scene!

I am going to mention here that they are BEER CAN races at our dinky club... not trails for America's Cup ; -)

And while the boat he is on is one of the competitive boats, and the guys want to win, it's not cut throat competition or sailing in extreme conditions. But it is wind in the sails and moving right along.

I don't know if I could talk him out of it. He seems to think it's gonna help. I guess it's possible that instead of allowing him to get comfortable it might just make him more anxious. I am not sure how I could tell the final result here at the start.

Does it help to know that in the past he has flown airplanes, the little ones? and I know he got far enough to solo. And drove a stock car in races. had motorcycles and fast cars. went skydiving for a birthday. So he is not been over the course of his life a timid guy. But he admits he is more concerned at 62 with being injured that he was when he was younger. Which seems fair. This is a sort of self prescribed course of treatment, so I can't exactly say, hey honey, bad idea, stop racing... but I think it might be good to at least question him abit about if he feels that his anxiety has moved at all, one way or the other...

isn't there a shot for this?
(other than the scotch!)
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Old 13-05-2010, 21:20   #23
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Racing is it! THE way to learn about this stuff. There is no doubt in my mind that dinghies and beach catamarans, sailed on the edge, is the way to get familiar with how it all works, and the idea that no matter what happens you will self-rescue.

I would never agree that the way to gain the needed skills is to "make all the sailing stuff" simply go away by sailing with slow-poke cruisers in poorly trimmed boats, or on huge cruising catamarans that do not make you feel the ocean and the wind. Those are great choices to make AFTER you know what you are doing.

Yes, just my 2 cents. And good on Sara and Himself.

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Old 13-05-2010, 22:03   #24
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What about something like an Optimist dinghy on a day with decent wind? Pretty non threatening, easy to sail, fun most of the time. He can learn on his own, go fishing, have a beer, etc.
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Old 13-05-2010, 22:20   #25
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I wonder if he's putting himself through this, because he thinks that you'll think less of him if he fails to enjoy racing. Could be he has the cruiser mentality for sailing, not a racers. I like it when conditions are challenging, but my wife doesn't. If I push her to much, the experience turns out to be not very fun for me. So what does a person do? Ease off or go solo.
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Old 13-05-2010, 22:53   #26
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what? is that politically incorrect?
an 'm notta racer per se... I just like ta go fast...
no. "rail meat" is just part of racing slang. "Rail meat" connotes a crew member who doesn't have a function--unlike a trimmer, for example--other than to sit on the rail and attempt to keep the boat flat.

I used to campaign an Express 37, and we needed 2,000 pounds of human ballast on the rail when the wind picked up. At that point, rail meat was a greatly appreciated commodity.
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Old 13-05-2010, 23:02   #27
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Another notable piece of racing slang is "boat slut." This connotes someone who moves from crew to crew on a week-to-week basis.

You might encourage Himself to upgrade from rail meat on the most competitive boat, a position from which there will be diminishing returns, to boat slut on a number of boats.

Better learning curve, that way. And in beer can racing, boat sluts are a good thing.
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Old 13-05-2010, 23:08   #28
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good observations about the lazer experience not being such a good one... but he wanted to do it and its water under the hull now... can't take away that moment he clutched the sheet and dumped us... me clinging to the high side and holding on while she lay on her side.. knowing I was gonna have to get IN the bay on a cold day to get her righted... that was a scene!

I am going to mention here that they are BEER CAN races at our dinky club... not trails for America's Cup ; -)

My 2 cents is there is something else going on. Not wanting to get injured is a sensible thing.

If you were the one who schooled him in Lasers then IMHO he needs to do it again with a 3rd party. It also sounds like "dumping it" happened once. Learning from a sailing instructor in dinghys requires multiple capsizes and rightings. It's about learning how to right the boat and also finding its limits. BTW we often "dump it" on purpose.

It sounds like he has a great attitude about joining in the beer can crew and he wil learn a ton.

He has been an adventurer in the past so my humble opinion is about making him understand that a catalina 27 is really not that much of an adventure (no offense).

A boat like yours reaches hull speed and then you start shorting sail. Adding more heel at that point is counterproductive. As a pilot it should resonate with him that it is about the decision making processes that are going on. I don't know exactly your sail config but you should go out at some point in 20 knots with 3 reefs in and the genny furled to 20%.

He'll get bored and ask you to put out more sail. But he will understand that the boat is perfectly safe in almost any conditino as long as it is in the right configuration for those conditions.

Long story short and reading between the lines is that there is something else going on. He is trying like heck by doing the beer can stuff even if it does make him uncomfortable. udos to him.

Not to get too sensitive but have you examined how you and he interact on the boat in terms of command and decision making? Maybe he is feeling out of control and not part of the decision team?
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Old 13-05-2010, 23:31   #29
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What about something like an Optimist dinghy on a day with decent wind? Pretty non threatening, easy to sail, fun most of the time. He can learn on his own, go fishing, have a beer, etc.


Funnily enough the Optimist idea is a good one... or maybe a Laser.

Being rail meat the person on the rail has no control whatso ever. But sailing a dinghy you learn just how close you can go to another boat.

Last weekend we were terrorised by a flock of Optimists and a bunch of Lasers as they decided to put their race course around our anchored boat.

Nicolle freaked right out as she thought they were gong to hit us. Some of the Laser sailors were chopping the sterns off the competitors by 6 inches, no more!

To be on the help when you do race starts and tacking duels is the closest sailing possible. Exhilarating (scary!) but really teaches you how close is close
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Old 14-05-2010, 00:38   #30
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Hey hey. That is clearer. The guy is 62. Ok not past it, but mindful of it. Crawling under the boom is a pain in the butt, especially when you are not so agile, and it is mindless anyway.
Maybe he wants to relax and be accepted without performance anxiety.
I guess you would both like to think of yourselves as 20 years younger. Ain't gonna happen. Besides you are better now. Accept it.
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