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Old 27-05-2024, 15:33   #1
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Are you a sailor?

What things made you feel like an actual sailor?

We all have some or another kind of imposter syndrome -- we're amateurs after all.

Was it that perfectly elegant harbor maneuver, where you got yourself in just the right spot for the wind to to work in your favor?

Was it a good hard passage in tough weather where you got the reef in at the right time and nothing went wrong, arriving safe and sound out of the howling storm?

For me I think it was finding my boat safe and sound after a 100 year storm earlier this year which devastated my home port and sank half the boats in the harbor, hanging from shore lines I spliced myself.
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Old 27-05-2024, 16:37   #2
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Re: Are you a sailor?

First overnight passage from Maine to Halifax back in the day when we navigated with sextant, flashing depthsounder, and an occasional RDF line of position, and no radar even in the fog.
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Old 27-05-2024, 16:46   #3
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Re: Are you a sailor?

Ha, when I was a youngster, I floated across an animal drinking waterhole in a 45 gallon steel drum , cut lenghtwise in half.
Mast was a broom purloined from my mothers house as was an old bedsheet, all cobbled together with odds and ends of string.

Not sure how I made it across, but I did.

Though my mother raised hell when she found out about this venture, I considered I had earned the right to call myself a sailor.
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Old 27-05-2024, 17:05   #4
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Re: Are you a sailor?

When I could sail my Sabot to windward faster than my Dad could row.

Worked great until he bought an outboard.
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Old 27-05-2024, 17:29   #5
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The first time I ate spinach..
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Old 27-05-2024, 17:32   #6
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Re: Are you a sailor?

I think I had that moment today. Me (the powerboater) and a friend racing his boat in a distance pursuit race, about 5.5nm out and the same coming back. Both of us had raced some, but not a lot. He'd never raced his own boat prior to today and neither of us had helmed a start before. Managed to take first against some significantly more experienced racers. We were the first start (slowest boat) and we were still a solid minute or more ahead of the next boat at the finish.
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Old 27-05-2024, 17:41   #7
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Re: Are you a sailor?

For me it was when we raised the Molokai channel light after our first offshore passage in 1983. It was my first time doing celestial in anger and the thrill of seeing that light looming only 15 minutes after my predicted time was something you just don't get with gps nav. The success of that voyage (and return to SF) lead directly to the past 38 years of full time cruising that Ann and I have enjoyed.

Did that "make me a sailor"? I dunno, but it sure affected the rest of my life!

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Old 27-05-2024, 17:58   #8
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Re: Are you a sailor?

I'm not... not a sailor. I'm a cruiser who sails.

To me, a "sailor" is someone who sees sailing as an end in itself. To me, sailing is just a means to a greater end, which in my case is the broader lifestyle called "cruising."

I compare it to whitewater canoers, who are out there for the thrill of the run. They might travel far, but it is to run that next great Class IV or V rap. This is in contrast to me, the canoe tripper, where whitewater happened as part of the journey, but it wasn't the reason for the journey.

As a cruiser, and as someone who has wondered somewhat off the beaten path, I've had my share of notable events. I've had some amazing passages, and times when I've learned some lessons. But I don't view myself as a sailor. Sailing is just part of the lifestyle.
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Old 27-05-2024, 19:08   #9
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Re: Are you a sailor?

Mike, I hear where you are coming from, but what about all the working sailors from the olden times. Fishing vessels, merchant ships, and war ships were all powered by sail. Surely those crewmen were "sailors" by anyone's definition even though the "sailing" was secondary to the mission.
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Old 27-05-2024, 19:36   #10
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Re: Are you a sailor?

Getting the boat home safe and sound from a storm that almost caused a knockdown.

Navigating at night

Being able to read charts
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Old 27-05-2024, 19:47   #11
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Re: Are you a sailor?

For me it was when the engine died while I was coming into the dock. It was just my wife and I onboard at the time. I realized there was no time to try to restart the engine. My wife was on the tiller at the time. I grabbed a sheet, and told her how to steer. We came in, swung the boat around, and set it right next to the dock without any problem.

My wife was kind of amazed. Said, "how did you do that!?!" I told her, "you helped!"

Don't know if it is justified or not, but I felt pretty good about my abilities to handle a sailboat at that point.
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Old 27-05-2024, 20:44   #12
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Re: Are you a sailor?

I couldn't put a label on myself, but this creed has always been my guiding light.
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Old 27-05-2024, 22:47   #13
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Re: Are you a sailor?

I reckon I had things figured out when I set and retrieved 4 shrimp pots in 250' water - under sail, by hand (no winch), no helper.
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Old 27-05-2024, 22:56   #14
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Re: Are you a sailor?

Heading out the Bay and turning left and then surfing for 2 and a half days straight in a 21 foot boat to Point Conception with dolphins at night weaving blue trails at the bow, and waves roaring up in the black from behind only to melt away underneath us. It was crazy for us to do that, but it sure was fun!
But really it was in the Sabot on Lake Merritt when I first pulled in the string of a mainsheet (didn't know the name of that thing) and felt the wind fill the little sail and send me scudding across the lake. That was it, that's when I became a sailor.
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Old 28-05-2024, 01:35   #15
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Re: Are you a sailor?

When I learnt how to spell yot.
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