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Old 11-10-2010, 16:22   #16
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Tanksalot,

A couple of questions for you. Do your friends wear their PFD's on their powerboat? Is your boat a lot smaller than theirs? What boat do you have? Have you ever asked if they know how to swim? There *is* some reason they show up in lifevests other than trying to make you uncomfortable.

I remember taking my stepmother out many years ago on our Laguna 22 in some pretty good wind. She wore a life jacket, but also was holding onto it with white knuckles the whole time, scared to death! For non-sailing people, I think the heel makes them scared. It just is not something they understand and it makes them think the boat is going over at any moment.

The question for you is - how to make them comfortable on your boat. It seems that you have a freindship with them, and there is no reason to let this become a problem. I'd give them some time on your boat to get comfortable. And maybe you should pick a better day to take them along. Good friendships are worth the effort, so don't give up on them.

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Old 11-10-2010, 16:50   #17
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It is interesting on how folks attitudes change when they are faced with worsening conditions. On a delivery from PV, Mexico back up hill to San Diego, before leaving, I assembled the crew (4) and ran through the safety issues I've discussed for years; where life jackets are located, EPIRB location, radio use (Pan-Pan vs Securite vs Mayday), location and deployment of life raft, ditch bag, location and use of fire extiguishers, MOB drill, etc, etc. A few snickers, some disinterest as well as one guy who really paid attention and asked some great questions. A few days later, heading north of Cedros island known for rough weather, a couple of the previously disinterested crew members asked for a refresher on the safety talk! While in my opinion, we were never in any real danger, it was rough and it made sense to repeat my little spiel.
If someone feels more comfortable wearing a PFD on a boat I'm driving, it wouldn't bother me at all. and I wouldn't take it as a commentary on my seamanship... cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 11-10-2010, 16:59   #18
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I learned this little trick. I do all that pre cruise stuff like a flight attendant heres the raft theres the life sling if you fall over heres what we do etc.. then Hey Tony wheres the life raft. Abigail what happens when you fall overboard. Funny when some one has to say something they actually start to remember otherwise its just a babble thing. I do the same thing at work now Tony what is it your doing?
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Old 11-10-2010, 16:59   #19
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Blue Stocking, my heartfelt condolences on your loss.

I guess the problem regarding the life jackets is mine......I took the "wearing of the life jackets" personally, as a reflection on my judgment and sailing ability. I also suspect if I had more confidence in my own ability, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.
I saw the "wearing of the life jackets" as a testament of their insecurity (which it was), and took that insecurity as a personal affront. I'm CERTAIN it wasn't intended, but it was painful nevertheless. Departing the dock was somewhat stressful (ALMOST like bumper cars with sailboats), and I suspect I was very significantly unnerved by their life jacket apparel and apparent unease. I DIDN'T see that they cared enough about my wife and I to go despite their apparent lack of comfort in going. They never expressed any misgivings.
Strangely (to me), the wife, the orange kapok-wearing member of the group, expressed to my wife afterwards how she would have stayed out there and was surprised that I opted to go in. But in those conditions, (20 knots, 3-4 foot seas), I would have felt much more comfortable with a group that was more relaxed. Maybe I'm not as good as I'd like to believe, or maybe the insecurity of our company very much affected my self-confidence, but in hindsight I don't see that I had many options but to go and try to make the best of it.

On the way in I joked that I had Valium and Thorazine available if anyone wished.
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Old 11-10-2010, 17:20   #20
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tanksalot, I would sail with you.
My point was, how often we find ourselves assessing gestures, actions or comments as measurements of ourself, only to lose something much more vauable.
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Old 11-10-2010, 17:55   #21
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Blue Stocking:

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Your words, "My point was, how often we find ourselves assessing gestures, actions or comments as measurements of ourself, only to lose something much more valuable"

So I have two choices:

1. I could take their "life jacket episode" personally and severely jeopardize our friendship, or.......

2. accept them for who they are, accept their shortcomings, don't take their shortcomings personally and continue to enjoy the pleasures of their friendship.

Makes it pretty simple.

Thanks for your input.

Tanksalot!
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Old 11-10-2010, 18:10   #22
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Words of wisdom, Bluestocking... and I would sail with tanksalot as well. What I really enjoy about CF is we are all able to express our fears as well as our ability to adjust and overcome them. While I've got a lot of miles under my keel, I always learn something from these forums... Capt Phil
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:59   #23
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What an interesting situation! One that won't happen again, no doubt.

It could also have been a 'couple' thing. She feels unsafe so orders hubby to wear a lifejacket too so she wont feel embarassed wearing one. (No lifejacket, no sex for a week!)

We used to do this thing called a Status Game where you would try and change the status of other members of your team.
You are the captain, they the crew... but they change the status to make the Captain feel inferior!

It does affect the way we think and operate.

We should just ignore it as another persons foible. But if we had child-like brains ( ) we would just find a way to invert status again.

"You might not be strong enough to hang on so you better sit over here. Its safer."
"We're goinng to tack. Feel free to go sit below."

"Hey thats Kapok! genuine World War 2! They used that till they found it takes on water and drowns the wearer..."
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:12   #24
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Originally Posted by tanksalot View Post
We're at a dock for the first time ever. Some people we knew ended up at the same dock with their powerboat.....we're sail. We really hit it off as two couples, except when they went for a sail this spring they BOTH showed up with life jackets....he with a less-obtrusive inflatable, her with a kapok orange "Titanic" model. We (all 4 of us) spent a significant part of the rest of the summer enjoying each other's company; but not sailing or motoring, just dinners etc.

Today, they invited us out for a short cruise, and we (I) preferred to enjoy one last sail. We compromised by going with them for a short motor jaunt around the area, and then they came over for a short sail.

The conditions for sailing were "challenging"......nothing serious, but 15 - 20 knot winds from a bad direction (re: leaving the slip and returning). When they showed up, they BOTH showed up in life jackets; him in a "lower-profile" model, and her with the kapok orange "Titanic" model. My composure was shot. I didn't object or say anything, but the tone was set, at least in my mind (that's really where the problem is).

My "captainship" suffered severely, significantly from their life jacket attire, partly from the windy conditions, and partly from my wife's freezing when there's a crisis of any sort and I'm depending on her. Rather than a pleasant afternoon with friends, it turned into a trip into hell & back.

I cut the trip short, made it back to the slip without a catastrophe, and am sitting here attempting to understand and regroup. Nobody got hurt, I got only somewhat embarassed, but feel like ****.

Any ideas/advice?
Thanks for this; I got a good long laugh out of it -- you described it very well.

We've all been there, and done that, so don't feel bad.

Running a sailing boat on the ocean is essentially a matter of exerting control or some semblance of control over the uncontrollable, so no matter how good you are, there is always a risk of something like this, which is what your guests never want to see (you, the skipper, not being in total control, and exuding anything less than total confidence).

So whenever you invite non-sailor guests out on your sailboat you are at risk of freaking them out if they see the tiniest crack in your total confidence. This risk just goes with the territory. If you can't afford any chance of it (your boss, say, or a key investor) then better not take them out at all.

Meanwhile, learning to fake utter, bluff confidence in any situation, even when you just t-boned the dock, say, or you've just blown a through-hull and the boat is filling up with water, is another useful technique to have with guests.


As to life jackets -- I agree with other comments that there is nothing to be offended about there at all. I am sure that you just took that the wrong way. Your guests just assumed that sailing is a more serious and, if you like, rougher activity than motorboating (which in fact it is), and that it is appropriate to wear a life jacket (ditto). Just like, if you were to invite them to ride your motorcycle, they would expect to put on a helmet.

I actually wear a life jacket most of the time myself these days. Although I did not wear life jackets in previous years and decades of sailing, I have gradually started to take safety more serious, especially after having gone overboard for the very first time this year and discovering how shockingly easy it is to happen. I prefer my non-sailor guests to wear life jackets and I provide them and encourage their use. I have compact, comfortable, automatic inflating ones which don't get in the way of anyone's running the boat.

I'm sure your friends will give you another chance. Next time choose more benign conditions, and provide good lifejackets, and laugh about the last time.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:23   #25
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So I have two choices:

1. I could take their "life jacket episode" personally and severely jeopardize our friendship, or.......

2. accept them for who they are, accept their shortcomings, don't take their shortcomings personally and continue to enjoy the pleasures
A third option is to do what many are trying to suggest; don't consider this a shortcoming. Many people like to wear life vests when on the water. Experts of all sorts advise it. As you can see here, many very capable sailors use them all the time. It is not a fault, a shortcoming or an affront. It is just safe boating practice.

Jim
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:43   #26
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... I guess the problem regarding the life jackets is mine......I took the "wearing of the life jackets" personally, as a reflection on my judgment and sailing ability. I also suspect if I had more confidence in my own ability, it wouldn't have bothered me as much ...
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A third option is to do what many are trying to suggest; don't consider this a shortcoming. Many people like to wear life vests when on the water. Experts of all sorts advise it. As you can see here, many very capable sailors use them all the time. It is not a fault, a shortcoming or an affront. It is just safe boating practice.
Jim
Indeed.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:00   #27
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Thanks again for the feedback!

I might have erred in saying "orange kapok". The wife's vest was one of those bright, day-glo orange ones. It grew into the size of a huge pumpkin in my mind as time went by.

Sometimes the roller furling on my boat (Ericson 27) doesn't totally unfurl, and someone has to go up front and manually unfurl the last foot or two. Usually a minor glitch that we've somewhat accepted (although it should be addressed).

This time out, due to the conditions, I decided to sail with the jib only, and with it only partly unfurled. About 15 minutes into the cruise I had changed direction slightly, and at that time I couldn't understand why the jib wouldn't unfurl when I pulled on the jib sheet. (I have ADD also). My wife started to go forward to manually unroll it and lost her balance, fortunately catching a grab rail and staying aboard. Then the husband went forward but couldn't unfurl the jib. So then I had my wife take the helm and I went forward to fix the problem. That's when I realized the jib furling line was on the cleat keeping it from fully unfurling. Keep in mind the 20 knot winds, 3-4 foot seas.

My mind raced for a "slick" way out, but, being who I am, I 'fessed up. About that time I thought going back might be a good idea.

Going out alone, I know I am capable of handling just about anything. Significantly as a result of this experience, I'm realizing that having more people on board, ESPECIALLY non-sailors, hampers rather than helps.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:03   #28
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"A couple of questions for you. Do your friends wear their PFD's on their powerboat? Is your boat a lot smaller than theirs? What boat do you have? Have you ever asked if they know how to swim?

No, they don't wear PFD's on their powerboat. They have a 26 ft. cruising powerboat. I don't know if they know how to swim, and haven't asked.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:42   #29
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We wear life jackets nearly full time. Now maybe just a bit less than before. I started sailing racing an Opti dink, so the jacket was there always. Then sort of became a habit.

The typical situation we DO NOT wear jackets is:

- flat seas, nil or very light wind, very hot, both crew in the cockpit, daytime.

Maybe we would in a colder clime, but in the tropics it is at times simply too hot to have ANYTHING on.

b.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:19   #30
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As others have stated you should not take your guest's safety routine as a critical analysis of your sailing ability. Any guest sailing with me, regardless of conditions will be given a Lifejacket...It is up to them whether they wear it in the cockpit... however they will if they are outside on deck. In addition I carry five harnesses and NOONE works on deck without using one when sailing conditions require a reefed sail...ever.

I was taught that as a kid and enforce it as an adult. Perhaps he was too!

Regards

Alan
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