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Old 27-12-2007, 13:45   #1
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Sailing Preparedness

Okay, as I stated in my "other" post, I'm a novice sailor and slowly working my way up to coastal sailing and maybe further if my wife and I enjoy it.

I've learned that the popular consensus is that despite weather forecast services, etc., one should be well prepared to sail through bad weather.
Next, I've learned the popular consensus is that despite occasional violent crime, one should not be prepared to face it.

So I'm curious, what other events or aspects of sailing require real preparation, and which ones don't?
In other words, which events are sail stoppers? Which allow you to go, "Oh well", and press on?

My present sailing experience consists of building a 16' sailing sharpie and teaching myself sailing on local lake. Been at it a year and a half or so. Being an overachiever on preparation, I would really like to be able to sort out what aspects of sailing are truly important, to avoid prolonging advancing to more challenging sailing areas.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 27-12-2007, 14:14   #2
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At least in broad brush-strokes it is challenging (indeed, perhaps futile …) to come up with a definitive list… But the basics are simple…
  • You can’t prepare the environment, but the sailor/boater/whatever must exist in it so knowledge of same is critical – go/no-go, when to go, when to run, where to run, etc…
  • You can prepare yourself (and crew) and indeed are responsible to do same – I’d propose this includes everything from training, to knowing entrenched inadequacies and how you plane to work around them…
  • and, finally, the vessel which is somewhat like the environment; it will effect your day, but you can do something about it either via your experience or through preparation of the vessel mechanically…
I’m of the mind to attempt to prepare for anything I might encounter – another long-time passion of mine is motorcycles – usually long-pavement excursions when I have the time… For years even when riding to the store I have carried more tools and spares than some home-shops, but my philosophy is simple -- self-rescue -- and so far in forty something years of riding I’ve never had to walk home -- yet… on occasions I’ve rebuilt carburetors, rewired ignitions and replaced broken parts in the middle of a rainy night right outa the onboard stores (although with modern bikes, the necessity isn’t as often…).

The state of affairs in the mariner’s world are similar… After once having to use a fillet knife to cut slivers of wood off a wooden keel to attempt to jury-rig steering gear that had come adrift, I learned my lesson on marine preparation… generally I now try to have along any tool I know how to use (chosen specifically for the boat – no need to carry tools or spares that don’t fit anything), with the appropriate spares (not to mention the ubiquitous roll of duct-tape), extra charts, redundancies for crucial lines, parts (bulbs), food, water and whatever it will take to keep the crew safe even if they become ill and can’t participate in sailing – happened more than once…

There are probably those with more experience who have convenient lists, but my usual plan is to answer the question: “what will I do when this fails…” Thankfully a well prepared vessel has few failures; on the other-hand, if sailing was totally predicable, sailors would be the most bored people on the planet…

Yeah, I know this only muddied the water – sorry…
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Old 27-12-2007, 14:18   #3
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If you are going to cruise overseas, you need to be prepared to obey the laws of other countries. Being thrown in jail would be a "sail stopper"
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Old 27-12-2007, 15:02   #4
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GTO - yes ... not only are you a self proclaimed novice sailor, but, you are fairly new here. We (Admins and Mods) try to allow as much latitude as possible - but when we have to delete posts, and close threads, it should be obvious (even to a novice) that they need to stay OFF the subject and let it go.

Maybe that was a bit to subtle, but lets see if THIS does the trick.

P.S. One post has been pulled from this thread already.

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Old 27-12-2007, 15:15   #5
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Originally Posted by GT0 View Post
what aspects of sailing are truly important, to avoid prolonging advancing to more challenging sailing areas.
Putting the sails up and going.

Go.

Just GO

Anything you need to learn will be done so much faster on the way.


As dcstrng mentioned don't take the wrong things. But the only way to find out what not to take is to go. So just go!

People can procrastinate building / rebuilding / fitting / refitting / unfitting / de fitting / cash money fitting / varnishing fittings / adjusting fittings / removing adjusted fittings etc etc

Some peoples boats are specially designed NOT to let them go sailing - beautiful timber yachts so seamanlike and beautiful that they need 365 days a year maintenance.

Just go buy a good plastic production boat of reasonable quality and as recent as you can afford... and go. If after a year you don't like that boat sell it and buy what you want.

If you procrastinate for 18 months you will have wasted the time that it takes some to circumnavigate the whole world. Procrastinate 5 years and you have wasted 10% of your adult life!



2008 is going to be a great year!
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:11   #6
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Originally Posted by dcstrng View Post
At least in broad brush-strokes it is challenging (indeed, perhaps futile …) to come up with a definitive list… But the basics are simple…
  • You can’t prepare the environment, but the sailor/boater/whatever must exist in it so knowledge of same is critical – go/no-go, when to go, when to run, where to run, etc…
  • You can prepare yourself (and crew) and indeed are responsible to do same – I’d propose this includes everything from training, to knowing entrenched inadequacies and how you plane to work around them…
  • and, finally, the vessel which is somewhat like the environment; it will effect your day, but you can do something about it either via your experience or through preparation of the vessel mechanically…
I’m of the mind to attempt to prepare for anything I might encounter – another long-time passion of mine is motorcycles – usually long-pavement excursions when I have the time… For years even when riding to the store I have carried more tools and spares than some home-shops, but my philosophy is simple -- self-rescue -- and so far in forty something years of riding I’ve never had to walk home -- yet… on occasions I’ve rebuilt carburetors, rewired ignitions and replaced broken parts in the middle of a rainy night right outa the onboard stores (although with modern bikes, the necessity isn’t as often…).

The state of affairs in the mariner’s world are similar… After once having to use a fillet knife to cut slivers of wood off a wooden keel to attempt to jury-rig steering gear that had come adrift, I learned my lesson on marine preparation… generally I now try to have along any tool I know how to use (chosen specifically for the boat – no need to carry tools or spares that don’t fit anything), with the appropriate spares (not to mention the ubiquitous roll of duct-tape), extra charts, redundancies for crucial lines, parts (bulbs), food, water and whatever it will take to keep the crew safe even if they become ill and can’t participate in sailing – happened more than once…

There are probably those with more experience who have convenient lists, but my usual plan is to answer the question: “what will I do when this fails…” Thankfully a well prepared vessel has few failures; on the other-hand, if sailing was totally predicable, sailors would be the most bored people on the planet…

Yeah, I know this only muddied the water – sorry…
Well thanks for that. But it hits directly the root of my question. When you first started out, did you already know how to handle everything? At least, everything you were aware of that you needed to know. Or was it an on-the-boat, learn as you went, put it to use experience?
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:14   #7
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If you are going to cruise overseas, you need to be prepared to obey the laws of other countries. Being thrown in jail would be a "sail stopper"
So how detailed of a study do you make of laws of countries, and I guess more importantly, their enforcement, that you plan on entering? One day review? Good enough to be a local attorney?
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:22   #8
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GTO - yes ... not only are you a self proclaimed novice sailor, but, you are fairly new here. We (Admins and Mods) try to allow as much latitude as possible - but when we have to delete posts, and close threads, it should be obvious (even to a novice) that they need to stay OFF the subject and let it go.

Maybe that was a bit to subtle, but lets see if THIS does the trick.

P.S. One post has been pulled from this thread already.

Thomas
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Yes, I am a novice sailor. Who else would state that for me? As far as I know, no one on this forum is a personal friend of mine. New here? Less than 10 posts, yep, I'm new here.
When/if someone chooses to respond to me, I'm hoping they will take my experience level into account, so that I can actually get something useful out of their response.

And you are right, it's too subtle, I don't understand to what you are alluding. Me or the pulled post? And why?

I'm hoping to separate BY-THE-BOOK procedures, from what people really do. Learning to be proficient in anything takes at least time, if not more money. I'm interested in how people really prepare for sailing, not how they should prepare.
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:37   #9
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Putting the sails up and going.

Go.

Just GO

Anything you need to learn will be done so much faster on the way.

As dcstrng mentioned don't take the wrong things. But the only way to find out what not to take is to go. So just go!

People can procrastinate building / rebuilding / fitting / refitting / unfitting / de fitting / cash money fitting / varnishing fittings / adjusting fittings / removing adjusted fittings etc etc

Some peoples boats are specially designed NOT to let them go sailing - beautiful timber yachts so seamanlike and beautiful that they need 365 days a year maintenance.

Just go buy a good plastic production boat of reasonable quality and as recent as you can afford... and go. If after a year you don't like that boat sell it and buy what you want.

If you procrastinate for 18 months you will have wasted the time that it takes some to circumnavigate the whole world. Procrastinate 5 years and you have wasted 10% of your adult life!



2008 is going to be a great year!
Well, I'm not ready to just GO yet, although it would be nice if I could.
Thanks for the encouragement though.

I guess my question comes across too ambiguous.

Take rules-of-the-waterways. For example, my family chartered a small, captained, catamaran in Destin, FL. When leaving the bay mouth, it really seemed everyone was just sort of going where they needed to go, simply maintaining some safe distance from one another. Is that it? Good enough to get started with? Or should you really be a water traffic legal expert before you hit the water?

Thats the type of questions/answers I'm looking for. Specifically for a FL to the Bahamas trip.

As stated in a previous post, know the local laws so you don't get arrested. Well, does everyone study Bahamas' laws before boating over?
Navigation. Does everyone become qualified on a sextant before leaving?
Storm preparation. If you are just going to hit a few islands in the Bahamas and then come home, do you really need a parachute anchor or drogue?
Piracy/crime. Really something to worry about? Or just random bad luck for a few? (I guess this one has been answered. )

I guess I'm looking for the minimum skill set (and equipment) required to sail from FL to the Bahamas, enjoy a few islands, and then come back home.
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:44   #10
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Yes, I am a novice sailor.
I'm interested in how people really prepare for sailing, not how they should prepare.
The way they prepare is the way they think you should prepare.

What else would they say?

You get to digest it, pick through the skat, and do with it what you want.
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:50   #11
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Being an overachiever on preparation, I would really like to be able to sort out what aspects of sailing are truly important, to avoid prolonging advancing to more challenging sailing areas.
A truly important aspect of life in general and sailing in particular is to be able to separate good advice from trite commentary. You've been given both in this thread. If you can learn to recognize the good you may avoid losing 100% of the balance of your life in the blink of an eye because you didn't take the time to prepare properly. Or end up in a huge legal jam because you didn't think it was necessary to understand basic rules of the road.

Avoid taking advice from people you don't know who suggest you can summarize a complete change of life in two words.
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Old 27-12-2007, 18:55   #12
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So how detailed of a study do you make of laws of countries, and I guess more importantly, their enforcement, that you plan on entering? One day review? Good enough to be a local attorney?
At the bare minimum you should be qualified to be a supreme court judge in any country you intend to visit. 90 years or more experience would be preferable. I suggest you work toward that before even considering going sailing.
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Old 27-12-2007, 19:06   #13
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At the bare minimum you should be qualified to be a supreme court judge in any country you intend to visit. 90 years or more experience would be preferable. I suggest you work toward that before even considering going sailing.
Or lets be more blunt, okay?
I hate you as much as you hate me.
There, now we don't have to play games.

Wow, what a tiny person you are.
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Old 28-12-2007, 04:15   #14
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Gentlemen* (GTO & 44'cruisingcat):
ENOUGH!
The CruisersForum will NOT tolerate public displays of personal animosity.

* A term, apparently used loosely in this case, to denote a man of good, and courteous conduct.
Gentlemanly conduct isn't just about how you treat others, but about your sense of yourself.
Always be polite:
Even if you don't like someone, there is no need to lower yourself to their level. Be polite and courteous; show that you're the better man.
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When you lose your temper, you are showing everyone that you can't control your emotions. If you can't even control yourself, then how can you possibly control anything else? Keep your cool at all times (it won't be easy but it is worth the effort) and people will take positive note of your levelheadedness.
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Old 28-12-2007, 08:17   #15
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Okay, as I stated in my "other" post, I'm a novice sailor and slowly working my way up to coastal sailing and maybe further if my wife and I enjoy it.

I've learned that the popular consensus is that despite weather forecast services, etc., one should be well prepared to sail through bad weather.
Next, I've learned the popular consensus is that despite occasional violent crime, one should not be prepared to face it.

So I'm curious, what other events or aspects of sailing require real preparation, and which ones don't?
In other words, which events are sail stoppers? Which allow you to go, "Oh well", and press on?

My present sailing experience consists of building a 16' sailing sharpie and teaching myself sailing on local lake. Been at it a year and a half or so. Being an overachiever on preparation, I would really like to be able to sort out what aspects of sailing are truly important, to avoid prolonging advancing to more challenging sailing areas.

Thanks for any input.
From my own experience, sailing a small boat (like your 16' sharpie) will teach you everything you need to know about how a sailboat interacts with the wind. You'll learn more on a 16-footer than on a large keelboat.

Chartering boats in the 36-40' range will teach you docking, anchoring, reefing, motoring, reading the water, etc. Charter in the areas that you ultimately want to sail in. Hire a captain the first time, if you feel like it. Chartering will also help you decide what kind of boat you want to buy.

Reading some good books on sail trim, boat maintenance, marine weather forecasting, boat handling skills, etc. will help you get the most out of the on-the-water experiences. There are a handfull of classics on the topics.

I think this will prepare you for coastal sailing, which is what you said your goal is. You don't need to be an expert weather forecaster, diesel mechanic, or anything else, before buying a boat and heading out. Just get a little experience under your belt. Don't overdo the "preparation" part.

Frankly, there's nothing like simply getting out on the water and making some mistakes to teach you what you need to know. In a coastal sailing environment, it's usually easy (though not necessarily inexpensive) to recover from just about any mishap.
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