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Old 05-01-2013, 07:29   #1
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What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

Has anyone out there read the book Outerbridge Reach? I won't spoil it for those that haven't read it, but it's about a 'round the world race' where there isn't a happy ending happening. Btw, one of the sailors lacked experience...........

I love the idea of circumnavigating in a small boat like Robin Lee Graham (Lapworth 24/Allied Luders 33) or more recently Zac Sunderland (Islander 36) but what worries me is what do you do out there all day? As a hyper individual, this is my concern.

Graham, for example, spent lots of time with his sextant and his charts and tables just getting his position. Plus, he was only 16 and spend even more time trying to figure out how to meet up with his then girlfriend Patti (and maybe smuggle her aboard) Today, we glance at the GPS..............
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:42   #2
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

A very high pain threshold and no sense of time. What do you do all day you ask? Why do you think so many sailors have tattoos?
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:45   #3
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
what do you do out there all day? As a hyper individual, this is my concern.

Today, we glance at the GPS..............
One of the weird suggestions why GPS is bad is that you have nothing to do!
Of course that's a load of bunkum.
At sea I don't read many books, I don't do much apart from sail, or just ummmm look...... Ummmm "Be".....
Eat and plan dinner.

There's always plenty to do at sea so I never get bored. I sure dont polish the binnacle or service the engine.

On my last trip across the Atlantic there wasnt much wind so the 20 to 22 day passage stretched out to 30 and the last week was getting a bit mind boggling. I had read all my good books, wasnt interested in the trashy books, had run out of naughty food.... Couldnt wait to get to port lol.

If you are hyper maybe a long passage will do you good. Settle you down a bit.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:52   #4
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

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One of the weird suggestions why GPS is bad is that you have nothing to do!
Of course that's a load of bunkum.
I think you misunderstood that GPS comment. I was just saying there is less time spent getting a fix on your location these days not that there was anything wrong with using GPS.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:46   #5
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

You can have some very good conversation's with your imaginary friend or if you have been out a long time your imaginary friend's?? IE: should we post this, or will some people think we should keep ourselves to ourselves? Post it? ok here goes, in for a penny in for a pound
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:53   #6
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

I've only been sailing for a year and a half but virtually all of my sailing has been blue-water sailing (over 5000 nautical miles and counting).

I've always been a "hyper" individual myself. But once I'm "out there" I tend to slow it down quiite a bit. I spend time checking my course, keeping a look-out for other boats, checking everything on the boat, estimating when I'll reach the next port, day-dreaming about what I'm going to do, eat, drink, etc. when I get there. I also think find things that need to be repaired when I get there and spend A LOT of time figuring out how I'm going to repair things and what items I will need to make those repairs.

What I don't spend a lot of time doing is: stressing over silly BS. I don't think about a job, a boss, taxes, material bs, politics, crime, etc.

The "hyper" me, stayed in port long ago. Time slows way down out there in the big blue. It's the one place I've found where one can truely relax and just live in the moment.

I single-hand (with the exception of my first-mate: Mr. Murphy) but he only causes trouble, doesn't talk, and only shows up when least desired.

The up-side to the solitude is that I am usually quite eager to engage in conversation with just about anyone once I reach shore. This has allowed me to make many new friends in ports from Rhode Island to Texas and eveywhere in between.

Also, you will really get to know yourself quite well after a year or two of blue-water sailing. It strips away all of bs and influences of society. You get down to the "true" you. You get a very clear sense of what's really important and what "things" really matter.

Your choices of what passes for entertainment will also evolve. I've watched a bee fly around my cockpit for over an hour. I asked him where the hell he came from, what he was doing way out there, etc. He was a rather rude bee. He never answered or even acknowledged me. Just kept buzzing around the boat like he owned it.

Of course, there are times when the "boredom" is broken when the wind and waves start to kick-up, the autopilot breaks, your chartplotter starts acting wierd and your furler jams.

Just get out there. You'll find plenty to keep you occupied once you're out there. It takes some getting used to but once you get adjusted it's pretty cool. All the stress of land-life fades away and your just left with what really matters: Peace.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:18   #7
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

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I think you misunderstood that GPS comment. I was just saying there is less time spent getting a fix on your location these days not that there was anything wrong with using GPS.
I got what you meant I'm saying its fine... There's much more enjoyment in cruising when you aren't tied to not knowing where you are

Cruising really is an enjoyable experience... I just don't know what I do all day. I know I look at waves. It doesn't bore me even if I have seen a few

If you can spot every dolphin that comes near you then the wonder of sailing never diminishes. Oh, and the stars at night...
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:22   #8
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

I made a video about what we do while cruising. I think it solves the question about what I do.

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:29   #9
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

Chicken Hawk is an awesome book, and the stars are great on the boat at night. Where in Florida did you get that accent.....(-:
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Old 05-01-2013, 13:46   #10
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

Damn, I never have the time to think about being hyper !! Theres just to much to do !! Little things most of the time ! but theres always lines to renew, splices that need doing or redoing, things that need lubeing. Menu planing, fishing, cleaning, cooking, canning fish ect ect !! when do you have time for worring about being hyper ???? And the late night watchs, watching the sun rise with fresh coffee! watching the sun go down while watching for the flash! Always something to see or do !! And of course I still use charts and a sextant once in a while!! LOL So ya see Im never worried about being hyper ! I wish I was LOL
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Old 05-01-2013, 20:55   #11
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

A hobby can be handy. I make straight razors. Making a sweet shaving full hollowground straight, out of an old Nicholson file or a piece of o-1 tool steel or a POS Chinese Gold Dollar #66 is very time consuming. One razor can take weeks, depending on your equipment. Takes reasonably calm weather, though. I usually single-hand, so catnaps in the cockpit take up much of my time. Keeping a good DR with chip log and a hand bearing compass (for sighting back up your wake) and hand drawn plot sheet will consume a lot of time. "Oh no! I can't charge my batteries so my electronics are useless and I don't have a clue about where the hell I am!" or "ARGH! Struck by lightning, now everything is fried!" or "Darn storm... blew down all my antennas and I can't get my GPS to work with just this silly piece of wire... I'm LOST!" are not dealbreakers when you keep a good DR on paper and have sextant, almanac, and calculator handy. So navigation can occupy you like a hobby does, but it also serves a practical purpose. Just because you have a magic box that automatically tells you which way to steer doesn't mean you can't concurrently utilize the classic methods, too, as a backup system.

If you don't know how to splice double braid, or wire, then being at sea gives you a great venue for learning and practicing. Personally I like spliced shrouds and stays. Swaged fittings hold seawater and if you notice, many if not most rigging failures occur at the lower end of a wire, inside the swage sleeve. A splice, properly executed, is definitely superior. Worried about that old outer shroud that hasn't been changed in 30 years? Make up another one, and have it ready for the next opportunity to change it out. And not a bad idea to have spare sheets and halyards ready to reeve. Then there is fishing. Sometimes the trolling is so good it is a challenge to NOT catch something. Let's see... if I pull my line in so the hook is skipping over the water 10 feet astern of the boat, will they still bite? LOL. Now if you have a Boat Bunny aboard, and you still can't find things to do, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.
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Old 05-01-2013, 22:06   #12
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

I have never been bored sailing offshore. Keeping the boat going and doing the required maintenance are full time jobs. Then there is weather and emails. Meals. Reading. Writing. Watch.

Busy but not bored.
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Old 05-01-2013, 22:41   #13
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Quote:
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I made a video about what we do while cruising. I think it solves the question about what I do.

Nice one, thanks for making that.
I particularly enjoyed the navigation advice you have to the ship.
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Old 06-01-2013, 00:40   #14
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

I have found that it can be difficult to kick a feeling of sleepiness offshore. Particularly true when singlehandling -- but not exclusively. Anyone else experience the same?
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Old 06-01-2013, 00:56   #15
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Re: What Makes a Blue Water Capable Sailor?

the sleepiness is the worst part IMO. if it's a long trip with bad weather it can be torture. 5 days at sea can feel like 50. Single handing is the worst but even when I've had a companion sailing with me the sleepiness is still bad. You never get a deep sleep even if you have one other person because you can only lie down for a few hours at best before you have to get back up to stand watch. It's very difficult to even fall asleep when you know you have to get up in 2 hours or sooner if weather is bad.
I usually sleep for a full day after reaching port if I've been out for more than a couple of days. I'm usually rather grogy too the next day as a result of the screwed up cycle.
Eating and sleeping are by far the 2 biggest challenges for me while single handing long passages.
Autopilot makes a HUGE difference but that luxurey went away a few weeks ago. I am desperately trying to avoid going back out until I get it replaced.
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