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Old 14-08-2014, 19:08   #1
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Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Hello,

So I'm not quite a sailor (psssh... "not quite" - hell, I'm not a sailor at all!), but I am hearing impaired. Never sailed, but been on the bay as a kid on my grandfather's 23-footer. My last trip out, my grandfather let me steer the boat which I remember as being quite an awesome experience.

Here to lurk (for now) and learn about sailing and cruising, and figure out how a hearing impaired person should go about it.

EDIT: Perhaps I should add why, after so many years, I am interested in being a cruiser/sailor. The obvious - I enjoyed myself as a pre-10 year old on my grandfather's boat and want to do it again.

My sailing interest was rekindled by reading Jack London's The Sea Wolf, an article by M.B. titled "Get yourself a thirty-footer and go!" as well as the Netflix documentary of Laura Dekker's journey around the world. Well... that's all I have to say about that.

Ya'll have a good one now!
-Jay
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Old 14-08-2014, 20:28   #2
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Welcome aboard Jay!
Hearing well has it's advantages and not hearing well can be dangerous. On a smaller boat, say under 24', hear loss may not be a problem b/c if anything starts coming apart it's not going to do much damage and your most likely not going to be far from shore.

Where as with larger boats one relays on the sounds of the rigging, the creaking of the hull, water passing by and a few other things as one is sailing. Ones life can depend on hearing a shroud snap and a mast coming down. Or the shout of a crew mate saying "duck, boom jibeing". One would have to be very careful. Docking could be another challenge. I surely would not go out alone hearing impaired.

Radio communications, motor sounds, luffing sails are all monitored with the ears. I can even tell when the boat speeds up or slows by the sound of the water passing the hull. One becomes it tune with a boat after many hours of sailing her.

But like I said, if you take a mate and keep a good eye on him/her then cruising could be a possibility. Night watches could be a challenge. When the wind is gusting you may not know it until the boat is already healed over (blow down). The smaller the boat the more radical that would be. And with larger boats it's a team effort. One needs to communicate, sometimes quickly.

But going out with an experienced group would be beneficial.
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Old 14-08-2014, 22:08   #3
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

delmarrey,

Thank you for the response. I must admit I was a little demoralized after reading your post. You're probably right, but I think there may be ways to figure out how to work around problems.

Surely there have been other hearing impaired sailors. In any case, I believe I can hear the sounds you mention while wearing my hearing aids. How the hearing aids will handle the moisture and the salt, however, remains to be seen.
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Old 14-08-2014, 23:05   #4
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Sailor View Post
delmarrey,

Thank you for the response. I must admit I was a little demoralized after reading your post. You're probably right, but I think there may be ways to figure out how to work around problems.

Surely there have been other hearing impaired sailors. In any case, I believe I can hear the sounds you mention while wearing my hearing aids. How the hearing aids will handle the moisture and the salt, however, remains to be seen.
Hey, not so quick. If just one person on this site can get to you, then you're not going to last long here and we would be the poorer for it. Check out BAADS (Bay Area Assn. of Disabled Sailors). I am sure other hearing-impaired sailors have gone through many of the issues that you'll face and have already figured out some workarounds.

Welcome to CF, Jay!
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Old 14-08-2014, 23:34   #5
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

The post wasn't to demoralize you but to make you aware of the risks. I have two brothers on hearing aids and they enjoy the ride. But sailing is a risk in itself. One has to take assumption of the risk every time they go out. If you feel confident with your aids, go for it. Bring spares in a metal box in case of lighting strikes. Like any other piece of electronic equipment, if insulated the salt air will not affect them.

Gods speed
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Old 14-08-2014, 23:59   #6
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

I would be more comfortable sharing the water with a careful hearing-impaired sailor, who's looking where he's going, than an awful lot of the people who are out there.
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Old 15-08-2014, 04:52   #7
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jay.
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Old 15-08-2014, 10:56   #8
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

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Hey, not so quick. If just one person on this site can get to you, then you're not going to last long here and we would be the poorer for it. *snip*

Welcome to CF, Jay!
I was slightly disheartened, but by no means am I giving up. I did say "I think there may be ways to figure out how to work around problems." I am simply facing a longer learning curve as opposed to someone with good hearing.

Radio communication for sure would be an issue, just like telephones are an issue. It's hit and miss. Some people have a great telephone voice and I can understand 'em just fine others I can't understand for the life of me. I tend to use the telephone without a hearing aid though so maybe a radio with hearing aids would be different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
The post wasn't to demoralize you but to make you aware of the risks.

I did not think your post was meant to demoralize, so no worries there.
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Old 15-08-2014, 11:08   #9
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

The term you are looking for is "adaptive sailing" and a good place to start for resources might be US Sailing's site.
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Old 15-08-2014, 23:28   #10
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Speaking as someone who is hearing impaired, here are some things that will help:

1) alarms should go off in your hearing range that works without the aids (so that if they got soaked or something you could hear the oil pressure alarm, the bilge alarm, the anchor alarm, etc.)

2) If someone is talking and you can't hear, go to him/her and ask them to repeat.

3) If you are going to undertake formal instruction, do your best to elicit the help of the instructor, as in how do they want you to ask them to repeat something? Just raise your hand? Sometimes, if they're quick, they just rephrase it and you can get it that time. Sit where you can watch their lips.

Good luck.

Ann
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Old 16-08-2014, 08:03   #11
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Can't hear? No problem. As the old Chinese master said " Ah, you betta off"
If you can complete a sentence, and it seems you can, you can sail just find.
You will not believe the idiots out on the water banging into each other.
PS send me some Dim Sum, please.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:09   #12
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

My responses below are in bold text

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Speaking as someone who is hearing impaired, here are some things that will help:

1) alarms should go off in your hearing range that works without the aids (so that if they got soaked or something you could hear the oil pressure alarm, the bilge alarm, the anchor alarm, etc.)

The problem with my type of hearing is that I cannot hear most alarms. I have a high frequency hearing loss, so high pitched sounds are hard to make out. Even with hearing aids, I have a hard time making out the timer on my stove beeping.

2) If someone is talking and you can't hear, go to him/her and ask them to repeat.

Naturally. I think all hearing impaired folks are accustomed to doing that.

3) If you are going to undertake formal instruction, do your best to elicit the help of the instructor, as in how do they want you to ask them to repeat something? Just raise your hand? Sometimes, if they're quick, they just rephrase it and you can get it that time. Sit where you can watch their lips.

My father, my grandfather, and both my uncles used to race sailboats in their day, so the instructors/instructing won't be an issue. I know their voices and their formulation of speech so I can lip read without needing to hear.

Good luck.

Ann
Thanks Ann!
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Old 20-08-2014, 09:05   #13
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Howdy Jay!

Welcome aboard!

My thought is that you should do fine as a sailor if you practice good seamanship (e.g. situational awareness), even if there are some challenges (hearing impairment).

Simple (and easy to remember or intuitive) hand signals with a regular (someone who sails with you regularly) crew (who knows and practices them with you) can make it easier to move the boat (steering, throttle, etc.) or anchor or docking or adjust sails etc.

I hope you enjoy your sailing time and have fair winds!

And...San Francisco Bay is a wonderful place to learn to sail!
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Old 13-09-2014, 13:12   #14
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Re: Hello from San Francisco Bay!

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Alarms can be rigged to flash lights. The slatting of sails and rigging send a vibration through the boat. Radios can flash and you can buy volume enhanced headsets. You can adapt. Just hang in there and don't give up. I used to be able to tell the rpm of my boat engine by feeling the vibration of the hull on the bowsprit 30 feet forward of the engine. I'm not too much hearing impaired but realize how I'm adapting with increasing hearing loss due to big guns and machinery noises on ships.
You can do it. It'll be just a bit more effort.
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