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Old 07-03-2006, 05:44   #1
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Why go sailing? Whats the satisfaction in that?

My father is a tradesman who takes great pride in doin his job better than anyone he knows. He puts much time and effort often sacrificing free time if he has a job to do. He is a very self motivated man and im proud of him. However, he likes the idea of sailing and escaping from the rat race as he is rather tired of it himself. His question is this, how can a person who sails around wherever they want and lives that sort of lifestyle find self satisfaction without working hard or having material goods to show for it? It would seem from reading the forums that the average ocean sailor is just drifting through life the easy way. Is all as it appears or is there as I suspect, something that is gotten out of sailing that attracts people to it and is satisfying enough to keep one from feeling useless? I dont know if this is a hard question or not but any feedback would be appreciated. thx
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:59   #2
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Hey there, My two cents. Sailing, for me, is a reward. A reward for all of the hard work. It is also a larger degree of tranquility. Let me explain. I have spent 20 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces. I have been to over 35 countries, made over 300 parachute jumps, slid down ropes out of helicopters and mountains. I have been in combat in shooting and getting shot at. If that was not enough stress/adreniline, I was a Federal Police Commander in Miami. So, sailing for me is a balance. My boat is a place that I can can go to, untie the lines, motor out of the slip and into the Gulf, set the auto pilot, raise the sails, open a beer and be absorbed by the world around me. I can laugh at dolphins on my bow and in my wake although I think they are laughing harder. I get the awsome opportunity to be in nature not just look at it from a window or a television. I get to be a part of it. And probably the best thing, is that it is me and my skill or lack of it sometimes with and sometimes against the sea. As we used to say, "sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield." I enjoy being tested by the sea. If I screw up, its my fault. I understand your Dad's question and I would tell him this: Stand at the helm of a fine boat with 20 knots of wind, close hauled, railing in the water and the boat sailing in the groove. Sunshine, nature, challenge and I'll bet he won't ask why people do it. Best of luck to you. Get out there and sail!
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:02   #3
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I'm a relatively new sailor, and will liveaboard in the near future, but I don't have near the experience that alot of folks here have. That being said, i don't envision sailing as completely relaxing, or day after day of lazy sailing. Yes there are beautiful sunsets, great sails, clear waters, but there's also horrible storms, boat problems, etc. To me, living on a sailboat is the ultimate in self dependence. I read in a magazine lately that living aboard takes alot of the decision making out of your hands. If you're at home, and the yard needs mowing, but there is a good game on tv. You can choose to sit, drink beer and watch the game. If you live on a boat, and a steering cable breaks, you HAVE to fix it, and fix it soon. The decision is made for you, and you have to rely on yourself(and help from friends) to live successfully. Maybe not the best analogy, but I hope you get my drift.
I envision liveaboard sailing as the most grueling, yet most rewarding way to live as a family. I can't wait to get out there.
A man who would go to sea for pleasure, would surely go to hell for pastime.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:02   #4
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It sounds like your Dad and I are somewhat alike. I worked and could aford most everything that I wanted but it is a empty feeling. Now a door has opened to go cruising so I am going through it. I feel that the Lord will direct me in this new way of life and will make it worthwhile.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:02   #5
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“... is(sailing) satisfying enough to keep one from feeling useless ..." depends upon how an individual defines himself.
Some define themselves by what they do for a living, and some by who they are.
The short answer is YES - if you’re so inclined.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 07-03-2006, 06:49   #6
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Quite helpfull there guys. Some interesting perspectives from different backgrounds. Can any1 try and explain what its like to be out in the ocean perhaps the only person/people for hundreds of miles? I have read that there is a feeling of being very small and defensless... also some people just cant mentally take being like that. Is it stressfull or calming and is there any way to know (perdict with some degree of accuracy anyhow) how you as an indavidual will react when in a situation like that without actually finding out by doing? I have read about people who were fine sailing around land but when they tried to sail open water for long periods of time some of them even had mental breakdowns. It seems quite strange... but does that happen? Sorry for all the questions but its stuff I have always wondered.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:47   #7
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When some folks come to BC they feel boxed in by the mountains. They have a sense that they can not escape. When some folks from BC go to the prairies, they get a similar feeling because they can not see the mountains. However the best feeling is to be sitting out in the large puddle and see the world drop away in all directions. This is easier to do on a big boat.
Some folks in the same situation can feel like they are going down the drain in a tub.
I tell new crew to experience sailing before making decisions about sailing. Some may like it, some don't. Hope in a boat and head out to sea. You do not have to go far before the land seems to disapear. Spend some time bobbing up and down and sailing and or fishing. Go the opposite way to get home. This will tell you a lot. Do not go out in the fog without the appropriate devices and instruments.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:28   #8
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Well written. Thanks all for the help.
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Old 07-03-2006, 19:12   #9

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I'd agree with Gord, most of all. Society trains you to want the material goods to show off to others, and maybe to enjoy for yourself. We are all also taught from a young age that if you are not killing yourself working, you are worthless.

It's overcoming these two ideas that are the key to true freedom, in my opinion. I say this after a 14 hour day today working on the boat, but I stick by it.

Don't you find that you are much more creative and a smarter worker when you actually want to work (out of boredom) than if you are just trying to log a bazillion hours?
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Old 07-03-2006, 19:35   #10
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Sailing can be as relaxing and laxidasical as you want or as challenging as you want. Consider the variety of skills it takes to sail across an ocean and bring the boat to an island no bigger than a Texas cattle ranch. The reward is immeasurable. The satisfaction of accomplished mathematical skills, engineering skills, survival skills, culinary skills, and the physical accomplishment of handling sails, the endurance of long watches with short sleep periods, the self discipline to stay awake and alert on very limited sleep, and to not turn around when things look difficult. I am a sailor, and I take great pride in the accomplishment of that. The things I have are the things I need, and I take great pride in those things. The pride in the finish product, is the pride I feel when I sail into an anchorage and onto the hook with critical onlookers, many who have made the same journey themselves.
Whether you are cutting that perfect dove joint, or trimming the sails to get that extra tenth of a knot, it is all pride in accomplishment.
And... If you have a wood boat, you get to show off that perfect jewelry box, along with the accomplishment of taking it places using only the wind.
If safety and security are your life's goal, and the accumulation of money is your ultimate assessment of accomplishment, sailing will probably not be vey rewarding, but if you can see the beauty of finding that remote little spec on the chart after a thousand miles of open ocean, sailing will bring the ultimate happiness.
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Old 07-03-2006, 20:51   #11
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And when ya Dad has got the sails and trim of the boat so perfect that it can't be improved on, lets us all know how or better yet, write a book. He'd make millions.

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 07-03-2006, 21:05   #12
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Ah yes, perfect sail trim. I hear it is possible. Didn't Santa do it for a shrt time right before the Easter Bunny stole his wind?
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Old 07-03-2006, 22:06   #13
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It is as they say. You make it, or live it, the way you make it out to be.

Either you want to live it rough. Or live it simple. But life out at sea is rather a bit of both.

You'll have great sailing weather one day. Or a dead calm on another. And on another day bad weather. The kind that'll make you hurl your guts out, and your entire crew. And handling your boat much harder?

Your experience and skill will dictate that you and your crew could make it through hardships at sea. And as well enjoy the various adventure of enjoyment from it!!

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:31   #14
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Facinating... being an english buff I dig the book idea.... Thanx for your time anyhow. Some really good points.
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:51   #15
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Perfect Sail Trim

Perfect sail trim can be achieved by the simple expedient of epoxying your telltails so they are always perfect!
Ontario 32 - "Aria"

Within a dream, we may find a fantasy,
But never within a fantasy, will we live a dream.
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