Originally Posted by JazzyO
I just love stuff like that and would love to learn it, but where can you these days? I'm also quietly sure about the fact that I'm too much of a modern softie to be disciplined enough for it to be any use. I feel quite sad about that. Just finished reading Robin Knox-Johnston's book on his circumnavigation
(1968/9) and it is quite a revelation. I'm in awe half the time and bewildered by the lack of preparation the other half. Most prevalent is the thought I could never have done it because he has so much practical experience of just solving stuff with minimal tools.
Since it appears that you like to read, may I suggest four books
that are classics and will go a long way to improving your understanding of seamanship skills.
- Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 67th Edition
- The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
- The Ashley Book of Knots
- The Marlinspike Sailor
All are available from Amazon and all are packed with advice, techniques, practices and theory of the art of seamanship. Read the books
, absorb what they have to say and then put the knowledge to use on your boat. That is an excellent way to develop your skills.
As far as your lack of discipline goes, perhaps when you have a greater understanding of the how and why behind good seamanship, it will become less a matter of discipline and more a matter of common sense. Doing something the right way can avoid a whole mess of problems before they ever get started.
For example, consider the following scenario. A sailor fails to properly coil his main halyard
after raising the sail. He is sailing happily along with the auto pilot steering
in a fresh breeze when he gets caught in a sudden line squall and the boat becomes dangerously overpowered. He needs to reduce sail in a hurry so he snaps his harness tether to the jack line, rushes forward to the mast
and releases the halyard
from its cleat. But instead of running freely, the poorly coiled halyard gets hung up part way up the mast
. Now the sail is stuck and the knotted halyard is just out of reach.
In a panic, the sailor lets go his hold on the boat to try to stretch to reach the halyard just as the still overpowered boat gets hit with a violent gust and gets laid over. The sailor loses his footing and goes over the leeeward lifeline, still attached by his tether. But the tether is too long and he doesn't have a quick release on it so he is dragged alongside the boat with his head
pulled under water
. His wife, who was below, hears his screams and rushes to the cockpit
but is too panicked to think to disconnect the auto pilot so the boat can head
up and lose way. She lacks the strength to pull her husband back aboard and can only watch helplessly as he is drowned right next to the boat.
That is why one coils all halyards properly. Every time. No exceptions. Doing otherwise can have a way of ruining your entire day.