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post #125 of Old 05-23-2013
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Re: My Horror Story

Sailing is a mixture of art, science and luck. Percentages may vary. You control the first two, but Huey is in charge of the last.

The art can only be acquired by practice, practice, practice. An example of art is sailing on to a mooring and coming to a dead stop, into wind with the mooring right where you can pick it up. Or taking advantage of the tide to sail under a bridge, or reading the wind shifts and tacking at the right moment. Art is being able to read the weather in real time.
A lot of the science can be learned from others and books. Science is understanding stuff like corrosion in shackles that allow your centreboard system to fail just when you need it to work. And replacing those shackles on a regular basis whether they look as if they need it or not. Ditto, rigging. Science is poor performance from a fouled hull or prop. Science is using the right antifoul paint for your particular waters to regain the performance your boat is capable of producing. Science is understanding propeller cavitation and how to cure it (possibly the cause of your engine's weird behaviour?). Engine maintenance is mostly science (though getting the beast to start and run right can be an art).
Navigation used to be a mix of both of the above, especially when we relied on celestial, but with GPS these days it is pure science for most of us. We don't need to know HOW it works but we still need to be able to apply it.
Science is being able to read a synoptic chart and deduce the weather that will come soon to a place near you.
As for luck - if Huey decides to zap your mast with a lightning bolt and fry all your new electronic gizmos, too bad, so sad. The same Huey will make up for it next time you are out with sunny skies, fair winds and a favorable tide. Don't give up because you had a bad hair day; hit a bridge, ran aground and dragged anchor. We all have had bad days; we learn, we get better at the art and the science, curse at the bad luck and give thanks to whatever we believe in for the good luck.

Last edited by arvicola-amphibius; 05-23-2013 at 07:41 AM.
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