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Old 21-02-2008, 13:49   #1
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Psychology of sailing

Hello all,

I hope everyone is doing well. I'm doing a college paper on the how sailing (the effect) it de-stresses the mind and body of the daily grind of life (the cause).

What I'm having difficulty in finding of any actual studies or medical analysis studies online regarding the psychology of sailing. We all already know the joy of sailing on personal levels, We know of how good it is to leave the watches, cell phones and such turned off as we enjoy the sounds of water rushing by the hull, wind in our sails. However, I'd like to find sources which actually show any study of the benefits of sailing.

So far, I have seen the physical and mental benefits of sailing programs for disabled and those of mental handicapped persons, which is great, however I'd like to focus on the average person too.

Anyone know of any studies I can find? I've done my paper, but I'd like to include reliable sources to back up my theories and comments. Good challenge, huh?

Mark R.
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Old 21-02-2008, 14:12   #2
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Have you seen the book, "Psychology of Sailing: The Sea's Effects on Mind and Body" by Michael Stadler (1988)? The first half of the book is about perception issues, but then he gets into seasickness, crew-relations, etc... I don't think it addresses your question directly, but still might be a good resource.
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Old 21-02-2008, 14:42   #3
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See:
Ocean cruising
: A study of affirmative deviance:
A Doctoral Thesis
~ by Dr. James Macbeth, Phd
E-mail j.macbeth@murdoch.edu.au

Abstract:
Modern day ocean voyaging in private sailing vessels dates back to the turn of the century. Despite this, the present thesis is the first academic study of ocean cruising to be completed. of the thousands of people who make ocean voyages only a few hundred arecommitted to the lifestyle of cruising, that is, see cruising as a whole way of life that they will pursue indefinitely. The thesis first presents an ethnography of the lifstyle of cruising with particular attention to (1) what activities constitute the lifestyle, (2) why people cruise, and (3) what values, attitudes, and characteristics attach to the participants. Second, the thesis relates this ethnography to several theories in socialogy and psychology.

In sociology, subculture and deviance theories are used to place cruising in the context of the wider scholastic study of society. Pearson (1979) and others are drawn upon in placing crusing in the context of subcultures while the work of walter Buckley (1967) is used to modify deviance theory to account for the apparently positive nature of the deviance inherent in the cruising lifestyle.

In psychology, theories of autotelic rewards, enjoyment, and human satisfaction are used to understand the experience of and motivation to cruise. In addition, theories of personal growth developed by Hampden-Turner (1970) and others are applied to cruisers and their way of life.

The thesis concludes that cruisers, as cultural 'heroes', can be seen as affirmative deviants. That is to say, given an humanistic and western individualistic value system their deviance can be seen as contributing to their individual health and growth, and to positive social evolution.



Read Dr. Macbethís entire (485 page) thesis at:
http://wwwlib.murdoch.edu.au/adt/pub...09/02Whole.pdf
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:12   #4
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Mark -

Don't know of any studies, but here's a great quote for your paper:

"There is more to sailing than ropes and winches, cleats and bulging sails. There are faraway places, and the ever-changing light, and the silence and great peace at the bottom of your soul." — Ferenc Mate
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:18   #5
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I believe you'll find that sailing and it's ability to reduce stress is in in-direct proportion to the amount of stuff one has on board. Carry lots of stuff and there's always something that needs fixing. Have you not heard cruising defined as," repairing your boat in exotic locales"? Believe it. I'm not really sure why some folks sail/cruise but based on what I've seen and read I don't believe that relieving stress and taking life easy is the REAL motivation for lots of folks, maybe most. So many want to basically live the same life afloat that they have on land; ie, they want to take all the trappings of land based life with them. Washers, dryers, flat screen TV, WIFI internet so they update that blog, gotta have it. Sat phone, AC, Waldon Pond it ain't!!
Reduce stress, I don't see how....
Yes, there are a few who sail for the 'get back to nature, aspect, but they are getting hard to find...
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:33   #6
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Do a Psychlit and/or Social Science Index search (university library). Also, the Dissertation Gordan listed above: see if the author (or departmental secretary because the author is no doubt gone) will copy and fax you the Reference page and/or Chapter Two (the literature review) and you will have more material than you will need.
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:41   #7
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Shellback - This is a great idea but I haven't seen any studies done either. There are studies done on the life expectancies of the general population but not for sailors I bet.

There are web sites that allow you to create survey's - I did a 3 month trial on one for $25 for our sailing club. You could look at a general population study and figure out what questions to ask.

How old are you, how old when you retired, BMI, hours watching tv, hours spent outside. You could get some college mates together to brainstorm the questions and make a nice survey.

Then post a link to it on all the sailing boards. I bet you find out that:

Sailors live longer
Are healthier
More active
Have a higher general education and income
Are mechanical hands on type people
Cover a broad spectrum of the population
Are predominantly caucasian males

Do this right and you could have a marketable product. Good luck.
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:47   #8
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Been sailing and messin with boats for over 40 years and I am still waiting for the stress from boat ownership to end.
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Old 22-02-2008, 11:20   #9
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thanks, this thesis is something I ran across before I popped into Cruisers Forum. I read through the sections which point out the psychological aspects of cruisers/boaters in general. To see the same document referrenced here is a good sign.

Thank you for sharing! It goes to show that there is not alot of scientific data gathered to quantify the benefits of boating on the average person.

Your help is warmly appreciated!
Thank you!

Mark R.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
See:
Ocean cruising: A study of affirmative deviance:
A Doctoral Thesis ~ by Dr. James Macbeth, Phd
E-mail j.macbeth@murdoch.edu.au

Abstract:
Modern day ocean voyaging in private sailing vessels dates back to the turn of the century. Despite this, the present thesis is the first academic study of ocean cruising to be completed. of the thousands of people who make ocean voyages only a few hundred arecommitted to the lifestyle of cruising, that is, see cruising as a whole way of life that they will pursue indefinitely. The thesis first presents an ethnography of the lifstyle of cruising with particular attention to (1) what activities constitute the lifestyle, (2) why people cruise, and (3) what values, attitudes, and characteristics attach to the participants. Second, the thesis relates this ethnography to several theories in socialogy and psychology.

In sociology, subculture and deviance theories are used to place cruising in the context of the wider scholastic study of society. Pearson (1979) and others are drawn upon in placing crusing in the context of subcultures while the work of walter Buckley (1967) is used to modify deviance theory to account for the apparently positive nature of the deviance inherent in the cruising lifestyle.

In psychology, theories of autotelic rewards, enjoyment, and human satisfaction are used to understand the experience of and motivation to cruise. In addition, theories of personal growth developed by Hampden-Turner (1970) and others are applied to cruisers and their way of life.

The thesis concludes that cruisers, as cultural 'heroes', can be seen as affirmative deviants. That is to say, given an humanistic and western individualistic value system their deviance can be seen as contributing to their individual health and growth, and to positive social evolution.


Read Dr. Macbethís entire (485 page) thesis at:
http://wwwlib.murdoch.edu.au/adt/pub...09/02Whole.pdf
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Old 22-02-2008, 11:31   #10
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Running a boat is a different type of stress. There ARE stressful days. Its not possible to label all boating as less stressful than what one one would encounter on land. I don't think being at sea is inherently less stressful. I think it is what you choose to make of it.

Sailing can be...


....anywhere from having to lash yourself into your bunk, to this.....



...steering from the hammock.

Have a peaceful day.
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Old 22-02-2008, 12:15   #11
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One of the reasons that I went sailing in the 1st place was because I had a very high stress job for many years. My doctor told me that I needed to do something different or the stress would kill me (I was 36).

I decided to sell the home, cars, personal belongings everything....buy a boat and sail around the world. We did it for 14 years and 2 circumnavigations. What I learned may shock you a little.

IMHO, stress is more about the person than it is about that person's job, family, environment and other outside influences. The stress does not subside because you "Change your life". That, in itself, is one of the most stressful things that you can do in your life. Think about all of the highest rated stress issues in life and that is what you do when you stop working and go cruising.

Yes....there are days when there is very little stress (which can be stressful in itself for some people) and there are days when the stress is enormous. It all depends on THE PERSON and how that person handles CHANGE and how that person reacts to crisis.. It took me many years to figure that out. Anyone that thinks that they can run away from stress by going cruising is kidding themselves. The stress follows you if you don't learn to deal with it. Most people would be far better off learning how to deal with stress BEFORE they leave their current situation. The fact is, if you can't deal with stress in your current environment, you have a good chance of being a failed cruiser.

Cruising is not all sunny skies and fair winds on a calm sea. In fact, there is actually little of that. People ask me what "Sailing across oceans" is like. I tell them that it is 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror....that is true.

Cruising is also not all about sailing. It is about constantly moving and changing living situations and environments, dealing with different cultures and government officials.

If you want an in depth study on cruising and stress.....just interview some retired cruisers.
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Old 22-02-2008, 12:18   #12
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David, that's the best sailing picture I've every seen in my life. WOW.

Good illustration of your point.
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Old 22-02-2008, 12:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanani View Post
IMHO, stress is more about the person than it is about that person's job, family, environment and other outside influences. The stress does not subside because you "Change your life". That, in itself, is one of the most stressful things that you can do in your life. Think about all of the highest rated stress issues in life and that is what you do when you stop working and go cruising.
I think you're right on the mark there, Kanani. My house is selling, I have a week to move out to a short term rental, then buying a boat to go cruising again. I should be really happy but I'm finding myself extremely stressed. We create our own stress, but like to blame it on other things.
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Old 22-02-2008, 16:16   #14
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The stress follows you if you don't learn to deal with it. Most people would be far better off learning how to deal with stress BEFORE they leave their current situation. The fact is, if you can't deal with stress in your current environment, you have a good chance of being a failed cruiser.

Cruising is not all sunny skies and fair winds on a calm sea. In fact, there is actually little of that. People ask me what "Sailing across oceans" is like. I tell them that it is 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror....that is true.
Kanani,

Well worded and you bring out excellent points. I know all too well, that sailing in and of itself is 90% boredom/joy and 10% terror. I broke my right arm last summer in a sailing incident in heavy weather, but you make some comments.

Sailing and cruising is the trade off from the stresses of conventional society to the stresses found in coping with weather, currents, other ships, other crew members, foreign countries and cultures, let alone the internal and often self-reflective, solitude findings of their own inner-being. All this is stress in some shape or form, however I'm merely touching upon in my paper, the basics, the core of why do we as sailors enjoy getting aboard our boats at the end of a long day. Or what can be the physical and emotional benefits of boating which we enjoy and helps us enjoy life.

Thank you for your comments! We trade one vice for another don't we.

Very Respectfully,

Mark R.
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Old 25-02-2008, 08:46   #15
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Just remember that STRESED spelled backwards is DESERTS.
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