Just a few observations. I'll keep each short, or I could go on for pages:
1. Making judgments is good. We make them all the time. It's what keeps us from drinking the ammonia under the sink. Judging before the facts come in, often, bad; judging after the facts come in, necessary, or we're fools. People who say "Don't judge" judge all the time. What we should not (aye, cannot) judge is one's true motivations, and I will have no comments about those; but we certainly should judge one's actions if we have any sense at all.
2. Every idiot out there in a yacht doesn't deserve my "support" by virtue of the fact that he has a boat. My fraternity with him compels me to come to his aid, and attempt collegiality; I don't have to approve of him or any of his actions if I find them faulty.
3. If someone posts his experiences on a world-wide forum, he is opening himself up to critique or praise from all quarters. If he is so unabashed about his exploits, he should expect candid responses.
I've read several of Pat & Ali's misadventures, enough to come to a couple of conclusions (and believe me, I'll be back to read more, as curiosity and shadenfreude overcome bewilderment and sympathetic shame (which I think is wasted, because Pat certainly doesn't feel any).
First of all, Jack (EuroCruiser) is being chided for using his good sense. He is one of the most knowledgeable contributors to this board; beyond that, he is the kindest, most gentlemanly poster I've read on any board, and he's being excoriated by those who are choosing to be offended when they should be listening to him; those who, I fear, are younger, less experienced, and less humble than he, and who, for those reasons, cannot hear what he is saying. That is a shame. They should consider themselves fortunate to benefit from someone so seasoned and generous with both his wisdom and his time.
Now, on to bumfuzzle:
I have no comments on the boat issues, or their handling of them, other than to say that previous experience may have served them well in this instance. I certainly learned from my first purchase
I'll be honest: I actually feel some resentment (not envy for their financial resources) for this silver-spoon couple who go off on a lark to cruise
the world with no real experience, and what really galls, not much desire to put in the time to learn to sail before they take on such a challenging pursuit. They jump in at the top, and expect it to be easy. I'm in no way a better person, but had I even a quarter of Pat's resources, I'd make myself into a competent sailor before I struck out and embarrassed myself. And in my view, this is a fundamental issue
. I know where my limits are, and I feel an obligation to learn what I'm doing out there. Give me a book, or even just a diagram, Man: I'll LEARN to splice that line in one evening. Or just tie the damned bowline. Pat just doesn't seem concerned with the actual art and science of seamanship. He is a dilettante
, and so has earned my scorn.
Consider the man who buys a "full set" of equipment and starts off to climb Mt. Everest, his only experience being long walks in the countryside near his home. Do you admire him because "at least he's 'out there'"? Do you respect his intrepid foray? Hold him up as someone who is "living the dream"? No: you call him a fool, and rightly so.
Now, some have suggested that others have set out on circumnavigations with relatively little experience: Robin Lee Graham has been noted. But Graham, or Tanya Aebei, both of whom were dramatically less equiped materially, showed adaptability, open-mindedness, resourcefulness, and self-reliance, and a willingness to immerse themselves in what they were doing. To compare P&A to them is to overlook this crucial difference, and is almost an insult to them. Robin Lee Graham built his own windvane
; Pat doesn't know what a windex is, and wouldn't care to look "all the way up to the top of the mast" if he had one. I wouldn't be surprised if he wonders what those little colored strips of cloth are, fluttering unevenly on each side of his sails
Pat doesn't know he has a two-speed winch
because he hasn't put in the time to sail his boat and learn about her systems .
I'm reminded of the joke about the man who bought a chain saw, then returned it the next day, complaining that it took him more time to cut down trees with it than with his old manual saw; he was amazed when the salesman pulled the cord and started it for the first time on the counter. . .
When Eric Hiscock writes about his mistakes
as a young sailor, such as overshooting a mooring
with too much canvas
up as a singlehander, or upon rowing out, discovering his yacht has freed itself from its mooring
, and with the help of the harbormaster's launch, finding his runaway up the Solent grinding up against a quay miles upstream, he does so with a self-deprecating, comic tone that invites us to laugh with him. Pat claims that his winches never turned in two directions until he rebuilt them. He just can't face his own incompetency, so we can only laugh at
him. BTW, I'm plenty incompetent still, but I've put in the time to learn the basics.
The second issue centers around Jack's observations about the couple's cultural-centrism, assumed superiority, sense of entitlement, and blindness to the richness and beauty all around them. Jack is entitled to his derision, and I quite agree. I think it's a shame they seem so cavalier (no, unappreciative) of that dimension of their experience, which for many erstwile cruisers, is the very reason to go. If I had a son with attitudes like that, I'd consider myself, to a large degree, a failure as a parent. The only positive thing I can say is that they need this excursion perhaps more than others.
Jack's concern for their safety
, once they enter the next, challenging leg of their circle, are well-founded. Are they remotely prepared for the conditions they may encounter? One shudders to consider the possible scenarios.
I'll stop here, though I could go on. I'm going back to bumfuzzle.com to read the next tragi-comedic installment