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Old 30-07-2009, 14:33   #31
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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Most boats are lost by hitting land, not in the "perfect storm" (no sailboats lost in that one!)
The Westsail 32 Satori was abandoned in that storm, but not due to any issues with the vessel. The Captain had an inexperienced couple of crew who panicked and wanted to be rescued. The Captain didn't want to leave the vessel and felt they could ride it out.

In the end, for a number of reasons, he left the vessel along with his frightened crew via USCG helicopter, and Satori ultimately went on the beach. She was salvaged, however, and sailed again, so she was not really a victim of the storm. She was, though, a victim of circumstance (and bad luck / poor planning in selecting crew.)


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Old 30-07-2009, 14:36   #32
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I confess:

Although I learned to use a sextant as a kid, I have an old almanac somewhere, I can find Polaris, and my dead rekoning skills are pretty good; if it were not for Loran or GPS, my wife and I would not have gone cruising.

"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

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Old 30-07-2009, 16:34   #33
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Seems to me there are several big elements in a good offshore sailor's psychology.

[1] As Zanshin says, how well do we handle crisis. People who panic so much they can't think and improvise will be - and put others - at pretty high risk (eventually).
[2] There are also personality types (many) that are confident, comfortable and happy a thousand miles from land, and alone or in a very small group.

In an imperfect and uncertain world, perhaps most of all we must know our own weaknesses, how to handle them, and how to bring strengths out of others ...

Not that I claim any of the serene attributes listed above ;-)
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Old 31-07-2009, 08:28   #34
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I would be interested in knowing the mortality rates of those cruising offshore in sailboats vs those driving on the freeway.

As for sailing, I think it has more to do with planning for eventualities than handling crisis. If you invest in good gear it tends not to break. If you practice what to do in "crisis" situations (MOB, sudden squall, etc.) you will get better outcomes in those situations. With modern technology, you can avoid bad weather most of the time.

Sailing, as I do, in the busy Northeast, I sometimes envy those offshore sailors making lonely, long passages. My biggest worry is getting rammed by some drunk in a powerboat, not getting caught in a "survival" storm.
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Old 31-07-2009, 13:59   #35
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Originally Posted by TAREUA View Post
To me the difference in wanting to cross oceans vs. just enjoying sailing where you're at it is the same as the difference between mountain climbing and rock climbing.

Rock climbing always seemed sort of like practice to me, I wanted a summit to complete the experience. I had pals who thought the top of a mountain was worth a look at for the view and not much more.
I like that analogy
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Old 31-07-2009, 15:16   #36
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Crossing an ocean means that you are away from land long enough to appreciate it when you get there. Even some of the inhabitants.

Then, when you have been there long enough: you begin to appreciate the ocean enough to want to cross it again. You can catch agreeable partners ashore and fish in the ocean: as long as there are any.
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:39   #37
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I once read a sign in a sailboat building, office that said:"The Ocean is not the enemy, it is the damn hard stuff around it." Which are some of the truest words. Once the lines drop from the dock, the stress starts leaving me, the longer I am at sea the more I want to be there. After awhile out, then coming ashore, I wonder at all the fuss that is accompanied by living ashore. At that point there are two different kinds of problems only, the kind that can potentially threaten your existence, and those that don't, the former deserves, your most vigilant attention, the latter can be dealt with at leisure. When I am ashore too long, I tend to lose sight of this fact of life, and the stress level starts going up. When out on the ocean, anything can happen, there are wonders that few will ever see, one never knows what will bite the fishing line, or just surface to see what you are about. No shore side vista can match an at sea sunrise or sunset, and the stars out there are like no others. One can gain an intimate relationship with one's own being, and be at peace. If you are not getting that from your sailing then, there are too many distractions aboard your vessel.
" Wisdom; is your reward for surviving your mistakes"
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Old 29-08-2009, 10:26   #38
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I still consider myself a newbie and a dreamer. I came to this site recently, so you guy's didn't fall victim to my first questions. I think when people, kids more often than not, find out that it's possible to get a sailboat and "escape" to paradise, they want to find out if they're dreams can come true in one post. When they encounter more reality mongers than enablers, reality hit's them in the head and they either give it up or if they really wanted it they sit back and save. I know more sailing than I used to when I first posted on other sailing forums. I still don't have the sailing and nautical terms down yet, but I get by. I still have dreams, but they're not so much of sitting in an anchorage in paradise sucking down Corona's as much as they're visions of putting on the last coat of bottom paint or starting the Atomic 4. I will not allow myself to go out of sight of land without feeling confident in my abilities not to hurt myself or others. I will also not bust anyone's balls for getting excited and posting dreamers questions on this forum, because that's what it's here for. We including me, wouldn't have a boat and be cruising to distant shore's if we didn't have people in a forum, much like this one, who answered our excitable, goofball, dreamfilled, unrealistic questions for us way back when. So, a toast to the next generation of Blue water cruisers and their ridiculous questions, may their dreams come true...

"What the boat wants, the boat gets"

"If one does not know to which port is sailing, no wind is favorable."
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Old 29-08-2009, 11:22   #39
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For you, and me having a boat means sailing to new shores. For most that is not their reason. Some are hasppy to entertain only. Some just like to get around the bouys, and they are content. We all get through life diffferently.

As far as busting balls to newbies? At times it should be done, and we do have a posterboy here, or at least was here. His dreams didn't quite pan out with reality. I think it hurts not to throw some cold water onto a dreamer. Nothing wrong with dreaming. I am extremely quilty of it myself. Only I was prepared when I left the safety of the bay alone for a 1300 mile sail.

What I didn't know I learned quick, because all the fundamentals I could do in my sleep. The ocean is indifferent to us, and we have to learn to accept her moods, and use our skills to get through another day.......i2f
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Old 29-08-2009, 12:48   #40
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In addition to Psychology, I think there are other qualities besides cruising experience that will determine someone's potential to adapt quickly. A couple:

Other outdoor experience: Someone who's done expedition mountaineering, canoeing, sea kayaking, etc. is likely to have more transferable background skills, some of which will relate to the psychology.

Learning and competence styles: People who think outside the box and are logical learners will likely pick up cruising faster than people who tend to learn skills as a step by step process.

Certainly psychology and mindset are big factors. I myself think I have the competency for blue water sailing, but I've decided I don't really have the mindset for passage making. Seasickness, a desire to snorkel, swim, sleep, etc. keep me closer to shore. I think it's difficult to know some of these things until one experiments a bit.
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Old 29-08-2009, 13:16   #41
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Originally Posted by TAREUA View Post
To me the difference in wanting to cross oceans vs. just enjoying sailing where you're at it is the same as the difference between mountain climbing and rock climbing. Rock climbing always seemed sort of like practice to me, I wanted a summit to complete the experience. I had pals who thought the top of a mountain was worth a look at for the view and not much more.
As far as how someone can know if they are ready for offshore or not at a certain point can't really be known until you go. How you react to things breaking is impossible to predict, but really is key to how much will enjoy the journey.
I've always been more of an expedition person myself. To me sitting on a peak in the wilderness belaying the second, is much preferable to a top rope at a local crag. Yet I think one needs to beware of assuming something less expedition oriented is safer or that expedition use necessarily requires more skill. The risks and skills needed are different, as is the Psychology involved. One can die just as quickly taking a ground fall on an easy 5.4 beginner climb as being burried in an avalanche or getting cerebral edema on a bigger mountain. Any lead climbing requires a certain set of skills, no matter what the level. Many peaks are basically walk ups requiring little knowledge or skill.

What's more dangerous or requires more skill to get through: The greater risk of being caught in a storm out at sea because you couldn't run for cover or being caught in half the storm closer store with reefs around...
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Old 29-08-2009, 14:55   #42
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Personally, I have never seen much use nor need for (offshore, sailing, ocean crossing, younameit) psychology. Maybe because I was busy sailing.

What I did find, however, is that (psychology-wise) the life on land and the life at sea differ very little, and people who manage well in their land lives tend to manage well in their sea lives. While those who 'escape' something from their land lives often get caught up with by whatever they wanted to escape and "are back to square one".

So, my two eurocents on offshore psychology is that the sea is a great catalyst.

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Old 29-08-2009, 21:23   #43
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Life at sea is honest. It is direct, unavoidable and therefore simple. It is the only place where you can experience true freedom from stress. Everything and anything that occurs happens as the result of your decisions.

A sharp contrast to life ashore.
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Old 29-08-2009, 22:17   #44
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I must admit to not having read Gord’s links yet on the subject, but to be brutally honest with myself, I would characterize a major element in my offshore psychological profile as “Arrogance!”

After all, I spent a lifetime going where many fear to tread.

Studying hard to develop mariner skills needed for offshore towing and winter deliveries, sailing Super yachts to my own baby-yacht, I somehow built up that inner confidence to follow my own convictions tempered only by my responsibility, to ship and crew.

If conditions become dire, be it mechanical or weather, I listen to others, but ultimately follow my own counsel… maintaining my arrogant belief… that even if I guessed wrong….I still know how to fix it!

Many times at sea in stormy conditions a quiet stubbornness sets in as I take one wave at a time, privately enjoying the test. Ever alert but unknown to my shipmates, the chorus of a song I wrote in my early commercial days, plays silently in my head to bolster that self belief:

Seas are getting stormy…I’m a getting horny
the only taile I need is not from a winch but a wench.
This is sailin ma friend…ain’t it the livin end”

Arrogant AND chauvinistic bastard that I am!...
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Old 29-08-2009, 23:17   #45
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""Risk is inherent in war and is involved in every mission. Risk is also related to gain; normally greater potential gain requires greater risk." Our naval tradition is built upon principles of seizing the initiative and taking decisive action."

and better yet:
"The amount of risk we will take in war is much greater than that we should be willing to take in peace, but the process is the same."

I had to swallow some of this crap before I shipped to Afghanistan last year. The final quote made some sense to me though. After experiencing plenty of suffering and death firsthand, I was asked this question by a few of my Marines: "What are you going to do when you get home, Doc?" and I answered "I'm going to get a boat, and I am going to start sailing."

Life is too short. Believe me, it is shorter than we all realize. Those out there that are older than I, know it better than those of us that are younger. To see a few guys check out at 19 and 20, before they were even legal to drink, convinced me of something, and a lot more.

I got my boat, and I'm sailing it. I've come to realize it might not be the circumnavigating marvel boat I'm looking for, but I'm learning. I'm working towards getting the right gear, the right skills and the right boat. I might be a decade out, who knows. If I jump the gun and end up turtled and dead somewhere between here and Ascencion Island, I will have died daring greatly. I won't find myself amongst those timid souls, caught in traffic, and languishing, wondering, waiting for a day that might not come.

I understand the risks, and I understand there are ways of marginalizing those risks. Included in these are skill, preparation (material and mental) and the sober reality that it could all end tomorrow anyways.

More than anything, I'm sailing. It could be more than that, but it isn't.

I'm sailing.

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