For those unfamiliar with the concept
of the 10,000 hours philosophy, it's a concept
popularized by Malcolm Gladwell that if you do something for 10,000 hours, you become proficiently expert at it that your actions are based on intuition. I've been at the cruising thing for about six months now, living full time on board the boat (a little over 4,000 hours of my lifetime), single
handing the boat from Tampa through the keys to the Bahamas
up to Charleston, and now working north through the Pamlico, and I'm wondering what it is I'm supposed to be expert in?
Sail handling: I can get her moving alright, and do take joy in trimming her just right, but during the day the sails
are blocked by the bimini
, and most of my afternoons are spent trying to find the wee bit of shade left on the boat, not sail trimming. There's also a sort of lassitude that sets in, and I spend most of my passage
days reading! Lots of previous small boat handling means that I exclusively sail on and off my anchor
, and at 28' my current
boat is hardly larger than a dinghy! But those skills were already there.
Helming: point up in the gusts, right? But it's hard to do when you've surrendered the task to the autopilot
: I only do this once or twice a day, so haven't built up any real hours at it, but I usually sit right on the hook save for two instances.
: I don't think it takes 10,000 hours to competently read a GPS
position (drift, set, blah blah).
Fixing things: definitely picked up some new skills here, but can't say I'm competent at it ...
: Sadly, lots of experience now reacting quickly to storms in order to calmly forereach through them!
Decision-making: this may be the most important skill: choosing weather
windows, planning out an approach to a new harbor, etc. I've found this fun.
Motoring: this is honestly something I have to work on, as I got pinned against the piles trying to leave Beaufort
, nc with the current
running, but it was my first time leaving a slip with my outboard
, so I had zero minutes of experience on this one but a lot of misplaced confidence!
The only real example of intuition on my boat though, is that I can now descend from the cockpit
into the cabin
, without trampling the water
pump lever and breaking my whale gusher.
Am I thinking about this wrong? I know I'm too competitive a personality to begin with, but if I'm doing this I may as well be good at it, right?! What would you say makes a good cruiser and is it through practice that you gain them or through books
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