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Old 02-02-2010, 09:47   #1
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Storms at Sea

For many years it has been my dream to sail the world - alone, except for maybe my dog, or an occasional friend or family member.

So, I'm plodding along, working harder, and watching my wealth dissapear as my country continues it's financial slide into becoming a banana republic - without the bananas and warm weather.

That issue aside. Recently I've been reading a book by Pat Henry titled By The Grace of The Sea. I'm sure many of you have read it. My question is this: how close is this story to what those of you that are full-time cruisers have actually experienced?

This book has been SO DISCOURAGING to me!!! Is this lady particulary unlucky, or negative in her thinking? What a nightmare. She describes storm, after storm - detailing literal days of fatigue, tears and almost total devistation! Then there's the mechanical break-downs and challenges...and sometimes total poverty because of higher-than-expected costs associated with unanticipated break-downs.

Honestly, it's enough to discourage even a mermaid from her dream!
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:08   #2
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Hi Mermaid,

Welcome to the site. A lot of publications sell best when they focus on drama.

I've not read this ladies book but we have covered more than a few miles and 100% of it has been good. Maybe 5% in strong to storm conditions - but well prepped and equipped - that can be a lot more fun that sliding along in near calm seas.
Reality is with today weather predictions and the relatively fast times cruisers can now make - no one need expose themselves to the bad stuff.
In terms of boats breaking - well that happens, but it need not ruin the cruise. Most cruisers adopt a regular if simple program of preventative maintenance and that usually ensures you find trouble before it becomes a big problem - and problems do not turn into big troubles.

Honest - cruising is great. Give it a go and find out for yourself.

Enjoy
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:09   #3
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there is also the awesome side--lol---sounds like someone didnt like cruising when writing the book..>LOL..there are days like that--but they are overcome and left behind by th e sea life and the sunsets and the sunrises and the fish ye catch while trolling and the folks ye meet while out and about in anchorages and places not called home--lol...
sailing along in the dark and flying out of a following sea a porpoise ....
evening sailing along and playing with dolphins as the sun sets....LOL...there is so much more positive than negative--we got stuck in some lightning storms last summer off florida--so what?? so we sailed 10-12 kts instead of a peaceful 4-5.....LOL.....is all part of the trip--sailing is not always pure fun--have ot do work to keep it that way----LOL...like a relationship----is a relationship with a lifestyle, a traveling style, the boat......nature.....
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:30   #4
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Im amazed you got past the first few paragraphs of drivel!

By the Grace of the Sea: A Woman's ... - Google Books
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:41   #5
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Read more singlehanded accounts to ensure a balanced perspective.

Singlehanding is in fact about dealing with fatigue, getting used to 15 min naps every couple of hours and if you're circumnavigating its weeks at a time.

Donna Lange has a good account from a couple years ago.

Storms can be minimized by planning passages in favorable seasons but won't be entirely eliminated.

Breakdowns happen but they can be managed as Swagman has said with maintenance and prep before putting to sea. You have to know your gear and how to fix it or get by without it.

And the awesomeness of the experience can not be understated! Many of the peak experiences are had during these passages!
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:36   #6
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Why not sail with another person? Split the watches, have someone pass up a snack when the weather is bad, etc.
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Old 02-02-2010, 13:11   #7
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Im amazed you got past the first few paragraphs of drivel!

By the Grace of the Sea: A Woman's ... - Google Books
Yep, pretty nauseating. I like Knox- Johnston's "A World of My Own"- written like a true seaman, (coincidentially, by a true seaman)
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Old 02-02-2010, 14:59   #8
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some people are consumate whiners. I've heard two versions of the same crossing where one gave glowing accounts of great speed and a well performing boat and another describing a terror filled nightmare where everyones life was in peril.
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Old 02-02-2010, 15:20   #9
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It's like "forsailbyowner" sais! It's all about mental attitude. You'd be surprised to know how differently two people can experience the same situation. I havn't read the book you referred to, but plenty of others. I'd recommend "Dove" by Robin Lee Graham, it tells both good and bad. I'd also, ofcourse recommend "Sailing alone around the world" (I think the english title is) by Joshua Slocum. No matter what breaks down or how bad the conditions are, he just keeps going on and on about how great his boat is and how much he enjoys what he's doing.

Don't listen to the whiners, they only bring you down!

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Old 02-02-2010, 20:41   #10
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Maybe the 'story' was written for sales!?
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Old 02-02-2010, 21:11   #11
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On our circumnavigation, we experienced wind to fifty knots on only three occasions. I have talked to other yachts that sailed around the world and never saw winds of fifty knots.

Low winds and small seas don't sell books. Dull reading.

I never watched the movie, "The Perfect Storm". I don't want those exteme images in my mind. Sailing is too much fun and too enjoyable to spoil it with doom and gloom stories of perfect storms.

Of course, you can duplicate the stories of doom and gloom. It's not hard. Sail across the Bay of Biscay during a winter storm. Enjoy a winter storm in the North Atlantic. How about going for a sail during a tropical storm in the Caribbean?

On the other hand, how about a sail around the world in the tradewinds? How about moving your boat out of the hurricane and cyclone zones when it's hurricane and cyclone season.

Avoiding bad weather isn't rocket science. Sensible cruisers do it all the time. It isn't that hard.

If you would like to know more about storms at sea, visit:

Blue Water Catamaran - Exit Only Sails Offshore Around The World.* Captain Dave - Privilege 39

It will put things in perspective.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:50   #12
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It goes back to the "fear" thread. Seems being kept in a state of fear is a way of life.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:38   #13
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if you want an almost day-by-day account of a circumnavigation you can download webb chiles' logs of his fifth and last solo circumnavigation ("the 5th circle") - it's free.

Passage Logs  The fifth circle.pdf This is the downloadable log for the entire circumnavigation. It includes the story, €˜Sailing to Africa.€˜ Logs for Individual passages are below. Most of the posted photographs of the fifth circumnavigation c

i've read the whole thing - he writes well - and the lasting impression is generally of a lack of wind and not a lot of cost
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:12   #14
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I've experienced 70+ knots in the Biscay(May 96) for 36hrs... and 60+ knots off the Azores(June 05) which was accompanied by rain so heavy visibility down to -500metres... this lasted 4 days... My normal parctice is Heave To heavily reefed... go below, read books and drink coffee, eat digestive's and generally take it easy till conditions improve. I find gear breaks when people insist they can fight the weather and keep on sailing... wasted energy IMO.
Storms pass, conditions improve and of you go again.... to enjoy the beauty of the Ocean....
And anyway... is it not about FACING CHALLENGES
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:20   #15
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I've experienced 70+ knots in the Biscay(May 96) for 36hrs... and 60+ knots off the Azores(June 05) which was accompanied by rain so heavy visibility down to -500metres... this lasted 4 days... My normal parctice is Heave To heavily reefed... go below, read books and drink coffee, eat digestive's and generally take it easy till conditions improve. I find gear breaks when people insist they can fight the weather and keep on sailing... wasted energy IMO.
Storms pass, conditions improve and of you go again.... to enjoy the beauty of the Ocean....
And anyway... is it not about FACING CHALLENGES
EXACTLY!........i2f
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