Thanks for the nice thoughts
it's been good, and stays good, except for minor problems like this one that's kept me in one spot for three weeks
It isn't inspirational. It's easy
I think the skill set we think the old guys had is pretty exaggerated.
My first off shore races when I was 17, I had already raced for years in the Harbour so I knew how to sail, but offshore was a shock. Every morning I would wake up to the navigator and skipper looking through the gloomy dawn saying: ",is that Norah Head?" Or some other point. And I would look out at the thin grey line of the coast knowing I wouldn't know if I'd seen it a million times, just a thin grey line.
So I thought that skipper and navigator must be @#!*% .
Next boat I was on was exactly the same!
God knows how a whole race fleet got to Hobart. Must have all just followed one another, and the guys who could count 22 lighthouses and turned left, won!
So don't tell me they could navigate. If it was easy to take a sextant sight they wouldn't have been kicking the SatNav machine for 8 hours to get one fix putting you somewhere 300 miles ashore.
Don't tell me the guys who say they can reduce a sight actually can, they can't. They put it into a calculator and push the button. That's what they did in the 70's and did till GPS came out, then all the crap was shoved in the bottom draw and never, ever looked at since.
Don't tell me the professional fishermen could work out the weather by looking out the wheelhouse and sniffing the air.... Fishing was the most dangerous occupation in Australa till the 1980s when weather radar was first effectively used.
And we could discuss ships now going much slower than they used to because their nav is so much better they can clip hours off each day with tight nav and weather routing, schedules are still virtually the same, just the speed has gone down.
For the novice sailor now he has already used all the navigation and communication tools used on a boat! Yes! He has already used computers, electronic maps on his PC, iPhone and car Tom Tom thing, used his phone like a sat phone, used binoculars to perve at girls.
So the learning curve isn't as huge as learning a sextant, Maths, almanacs and pricking his finger with dividers, a funny ruler on wheels, a protractor he hated at school, all whilst vomiting...
We shouldn't look back with rosé colored glasses... Just look at the chart of cape Fear to Cape Lookout and see that long line of wrecks. That line has NOT been added to by cruisers out on their Mum and Dad jaunts to the Bahamas and Carribbean in the last 20 years..... They were all there from when the old timers held sway... Until the Bounty, of course.
I'm not saying recreational cruisers are all wonderful sailors but we have the tools that do make it much easier. We can't outlaw ding-a-lings, and tragedies happen too often, but the benefits of cruising outweigh them