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Old 17-11-2012, 09:51   #46
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Too right! The difference between theory and practice is best illustrated by communism; top theory, crap reality.

Many of the latter day sailing pundits often forget they also learned by trial and error.
Trail and error is an awesome way to learn, but you may want to do it say while sailing up and down the Chesapeake Bay in summer and early fall for example rather than back and forth across the Northern Atlantic in November through February.
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Old 17-11-2012, 23:27   #47
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Good advice, but they still do it. You might want to checkout Tania Aebi's book Maiden Voyage. I don't believe she had much experience at all when she left NEW YORK CITY (sorry couldn't resist the Caps) on her 26' Contessa to sail around the world. Now she did receive lots of advice along the way her being not bad looking and 18 years old................

I've read Tania's book and many dozens of other great sailing adventure books. My favourite still to this day is Robin Lee Graham's Dove.... it inspired me as a boy.

Of course, people will always bight off more than they can chew and some may survive and become experienced through trial & error. But there is a big difference in teaching yourself to sail by 'trial & error' on a lake, in a harbour or even fair weather coastal waters in a 23' day sailor where the consequences of your mistakes are small and the Coast Guard are close by to save your bacon.

But on a displacement keel boat out at sea, how do you 'trial & error' correct winch technique with large sheet loads, reefing the main in 30kts with a large swell, piloting safely & not ending up on that reef because you didn't understand IALA system A & B differences, not loosing your head in an accidental gybe, understanding correct anchoring technique, scope, catenary, etc - those things should not be 'trial & errored' because the potential consequences are serious injury or death. And it is so easy to be taught those things quickly & safely by a competent friend or a good sailing school.....


A little story for you.....
Years ago a friend of a friend asked me to give him some tips because he knew I was a professional skipper and sailing instructor. He had just spent $130000 on a 42' sloop and had desires to sail out into the blue yonder - he had no sailing experience at all. I remember it well because it was 9/11..... anyway, when I got to the mooring I found out his wife thought she was just gonna sit sunbathing on the foredeck sipping Pina Coladas and he was going to single hand the vessel. I quickly informed him that single handing a large displacement vessel needed a lot of experience and told him the missus would have to help. I quickly proved the point by asking him to tack to windward (he had a masthead rig and therefore a large overlapping genny which are always a handful in 15 knots plus and generate massive sheet loads). He knew nothing about sail trim - he thought the mainsheet was just kept sheeted hard for all points of sail, etc. I took him out for half a day on Sydney Harbour and taught him to tack to windward and gybe downwind, explained apparent wind and how not to be fooled when sailing down wind and the breeze 'feels' light, correct winch technique so he wouldn't loose his fingers or get an over ride, how to keep proper look out and helm technique, etc.
At the end of the day, I asked him why he was happy to fork out $130000 but didn't want to spend a few grand on professional sailing lessons taking him from an Intro course, thru Competent Crew and on to Inshore Skipper level which would give him a fast learning curve, keep him and his missus safe and they would feel confident and competent.... he just shrugged. I'd brought some good sailing books & mags to lend him but he said he didn't read. I recommended he postphone his blue water desires 6 months and take the time to learn to sail, learn his boat's systems (mechanical, electrical, rig, plumbing, etc) and practise in the safety of Sydney Harbour. Then I left and said good luck...
A few months later I heard he was dismasted sailing down the coast because he and his equally oblivious friend (his wife had long since jumped ship when she realised she wasn't safe) had full canvas hoisted in a 30 knot Nor'Easter sailing downwind. Backstay gave out and goodbye mast! Luckily no one was injured....

Yes, people will always do stuff like this but the outcome and consequences can be severe. I was a Hang Gliding instructor for 10 years and also a Ski instructor - these sports are safe if you know what you're doing, learn about your equipment, proper procedures and leave the ego behind.

water sailing">Blue water sailing is a fantastic endeavour but the boy scouts motto applies - Be Prepared.

I hope you liked my little story.
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Old 17-11-2012, 23:55   #48
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Trail and error is an awesome way to learn, but you may want to do it say while sailing up and down the Chesapeake Bay in summer and early fall for example rather than back and forth across the Northern Atlantic in November through February.
And you think sailing "back and forth" across the North Atlantic between November and February is what I meant when I said trial and error?

Perhaps you are unaware of the conditions of that part of the world's oceans, at that time of the year, perhaps not. I wonder just what sort of experience and what sort of voyaging sailboat you would recommend for such a multi crossing journey.

Theory is fine (and some posters are well up on their theory), but practice is what counts and 50GB of theory is not worth 2GB of practice. The only way to practice offshore sailing, surprisingly, is to go offshore sailing.
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Old 18-11-2012, 05:12   #49
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
And you think sailing "back and forth" across the North Atlantic between November and February is what I meant when I said trial and error?

Perhaps you are unaware of the conditions of that part of the world's oceans, at that time of the year, perhaps not. I wonder just what sort of experience and what sort of voyaging sailboat you would recommend for such a multi crossing journey.

Theory is fine (and some posters are well up on their theory), but practice is what counts and 50GB of theory is not worth 2GB of practice. The only way to practice offshore sailing, surprisingly, is to go offshore sailing.
Actually, you are wrong there. Just like the astronauts, you don't have to go to outer space to practice a space walk...........

Same with sailing, you can practice and learn tons right out in your local bay. You can sail on light wind days and heavy wind days etc. Practice changing sails, reading charts, learning about sailing into different marinas and creeks and the list goes on.
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Old 18-11-2012, 05:29   #50
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Re: Blue Water Survival

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Originally Posted by Surfer Girl View Post
I've read Tania's book and many dozens of other great sailing adventure books. My favourite still to this day is Robin Lee Graham's Dove.... it inspired me as a boy.

Of course, people will always bight off more than they can chew and some may survive and become experienced through trial & error. But there is a big difference in teaching yourself to sail by 'trial & error' on a lake, in a harbour or even fair weather coastal waters in a 23' day sailor where the consequences of your mistakes are small and the Coast Guard are close by to save your bacon.

But on a displacement keel boat out at sea, how do you 'trial & error' correct winch technique with large sheet loads, reefing the main in 30kts with a large swell, piloting safely & not ending up on that reef because you didn't understand IALA system A & B differences, not loosing your head in an accidental gybe, understanding correct anchoring technique, scope, catenary, etc - those things should not be 'trial & errored' because the potential consequences are serious injury or death. And it is so easy to be taught those things quickly & safely by a competent friend or a good sailing school.....


A little story for you.....
Years ago a friend of a friend asked me to give him some tips because he knew I was a professional skipper and sailing instructor. He had just spent $130000 on a 42' sloop and had desires to sail out into the blue yonder - he had no sailing experience at all. I remember it well because it was 9/11..... anyway, when I got to the mooring I found out his wife thought she was just gonna sit sunbathing on the foredeck sipping Pina Coladas and he was going to single hand the vessel. I quickly informed him that single handing a large displacement vessel needed a lot of experience and told him the missus would have to help. I quickly proved the point by asking him to tack to windward (he had a masthead rig and therefore a large overlapping genny which are always a handful in 15 knots plus and generate massive sheet loads). He knew nothing about sail trim - he thought the mainsheet was just kept sheeted hard for all points of sail, etc. I took him out for half a day on Sydney Harbour and taught him to tack to windward and gybe downwind, explained apparent wind and how not to be fooled when sailing down wind and the breeze 'feels' light, correct winch technique so he wouldn't loose his fingers or get an over ride, how to keep proper look out and helm technique, etc.
At the end of the day, I asked him why he was happy to fork out $130000 but didn't want to spend a few grand on professional sailing lessons taking him from an Intro course, thru Competent Crew and on to Inshore Skipper level which would give him a fast learning curve, keep him and his missus safe and they would feel confident and competent.... he just shrugged. I'd brought some good sailing books & mags to lend him but he said he didn't read. I recommended he postphone his blue water desires 6 months and take the time to learn to sail, learn his boat's systems (mechanical, electrical, rig, plumbing, etc) and practise in the safety of Sydney Harbour. Then I left and said good luck...
A few months later I heard he was dismasted sailing down the coast because he and his equally oblivious friend (his wife had long since jumped ship when she realised she wasn't safe) had full canvas hoisted in a 30 knot Nor'Easter sailing downwind. Backstay gave out and goodbye mast! Luckily no one was injured....

Yes, people will always do stuff like this but the outcome and consequences can be severe. I was a Hang Gliding instructor for 10 years and also a Ski instructor - these sports are safe if you know what you're doing, learn about your equipment, proper procedures and leave the ego behind.

Blue water sailing is a fantastic endeavour but the boy scouts motto applies - Be Prepared.

I hope you liked my little story.
Funny thing you mentioning Robin Lee Graham, I actually have the 3 National Geogrphic Magazines of his (and Patti's) trip. I think I would have smuggled her on board for more legs than we are told if I were 16-21 years old, and we were dating!! (and he probably did too) Anyway, I have the book on my boat and was checking out the pictures again yesterday during breaks (while finally removing the diesel engine controls from my cockpit)

I used to think his boat was so cool, but it's really such and awfully slow looking thing with terrible sails. (not so different from my Bristol 27 except my sails are new) Not until I started racing some really nice catamarans with technora high aspect ratio mains plus spinnakers did I start to feel for Robin trying to cross oceans on Little Dove.

Also, in your story, I have crewed on monohulls where they think they sheet in the jib tight on every point of sail. I was on a Beneteau 35 I think it was, and they were sheeting the crap out of the jib on a light wind day downwind and wondering why they were losing. And sadly enough, the telltales are right in view hanging straight down. Some folks I'm sure don't realize that you can lose a sailboat race if your sheeting techniques is off just by just and inch or so when racing experienced sailors.

And I love the way they have these boats up for sale with the wine and cheese set up on the table down below so the broker (and the husband) can sell the wife on how wonderful sailing can be! Then they get out there and she (and sometimes he) are blowing chunks over the toerail.

I worked with a man in Florida that couldn't wait to retire to the cruising life with his wife. Then I overheard him telling a friend not to tell her how big the waves were they had experienced coming in the pass that day which may have been 8' or 9'. His boat was 36'..............you can guess how long their cruising life lasted. (it was less than 6 months)
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