Originally Posted by BarryL
Lastly, I am 49 years old, fit, and with good balance. I find it easy to leave the cockpit to go to the mast (or bow) and perform any necessary tasks.
We are about the same age. Once you start acting old, you are old. Once you start acting scared, you are scared.
To me, this is further evidence of the "wimpification" of our culture.
Come on boys and girls, make your way up to the mast, even if you have to crawl on hands and knees, crying all the way...
Every sailor should read K. Adlard Coles "Heavy Weather Sailing" to find out what our courageous predecessors did in the days before push button convenience sailing, GPS, electronics, electronic depth sounders, and weather faxes. Those guys had balls. We are mere shadows of the trailblazing sailors of earlier times.
If you read about the first, solo, nonstop round the world race, you will discover that the race winner, Robin Knox Johnston, eschewed the use of a safety harness, because he felt he was more safe without one. It may him aware of the danger and he had hours and hours of practice walking around the boat in the worst conditions without a harness.
One of my most memorable moments from my racing days as foredeck crew was pulling down a genoa while a Chesapeake Bay cold front came through the fleet during the Solomons Island Invitational Race. Wind was gusting in the 50s and I literally had to lie down on top of the sail to hold it down, no harness, no PFD, clutching the bow pulpit with the boat heeled over, dipping the rail.
That's when you know you are alive!
Now get off your arses and crawl up to the mast, dangit.