A Discussion of the Philosophies of Cruising and Circumnavigating - Page 6 - SailNet Community

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  #51  
Old 04-08-2009
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I still have some of the peieces (?)- I could post them out to you - they wont cost much. You could share the fun.
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  #52  
Old 04-09-2009
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Great thread! A lot of the replies are just the type of thing someone like me needs to read about.

I am only 26 but it has been a dream of mine since I can remember to sail away on my own and explore the world. The primary motivation for me is surfing, and sailing is the optimal way of exploration for me since I am not rich. In the past two years I have taken sailing classes and have been gaining experience any chance I get. I have read a solid lineup of books pertaining to voyaging and have lurked these forums for some time now. I feel like I have the knowledge to begin my boat search and am currently looking around for my vessel. I plan to start my cruise in 2-3 years. If everything goes well (i.e. I don't get laid off, etc.), I will have solid savings for the boat, outfitting for off-shore voyaging, and a cruising kitty to last me a few years.

I don't own a house and have only have a car and some various equipment I can sell, so money is tight and savings will need to be spent wisely. I seek to learn from people like Lin and Larry Pardey and have adapted their advice for my purposes. The lack of funds demands that I be very self sufficient.

Thanks to responses like vega1860's. I love the advice and your philosophy.
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  #53  
Old 04-09-2009
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10,000 Hours

Just to play devil's advocate, let me toss in this concept:

I've been reading Malcom Gladwell's book Outliers. One of his concepts in the book is that success is primarily based on how hard and how long you work-- the magic number seems to be about 10,000 hours. Some people (hockey players, computer programmers, fiction writers, and probably sailors) hit the 10k hours mark by the time they are 20 if they are really devoted to the sport/profession/interest. If you look at the really successful "outliers," this is a common factor. In fact, the 10k hours seems to out-weigh a lot of "born ability" arguments or myths.

Anyway, it seems like sailing discussion boards focus on gear. That's fine, but I wonder if simply "time sailing" is more important. 10k hours is about 2500 four hour watches. Even at 4 knots an hour, 10k hours is 40,000 sea miles. Most of us won't reach that number, but some will.

So, a wholly different take on this issue: why not invest time sailing instead of in gear. In the end, big boat vs. smaller boat may be less of a safety concern compared to experience. Crap gear will make life miserable or unsafe, but lots of hours sailing will likely increase both the safety and the enjoyment factors.

So, personal philosophy? Instead of wasting too much time wanting or researching or thinking about having a boat 10 feet longer, I'd rather sail or take more courses or read up to improve skills. It's all like putting coins in a jar. It adds up.

We're off for another week on our boat tomorrow morning, and I hope we're not blasted with too much wind or rain on the Solent.
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Last edited by Jim H; 04-17-2009 at 12:49 PM.
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  #54  
Old 04-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, let me toss in this concept:
Nice one, Jim!
I wonder if one could not add a word about satisfaction also? Why "bigger"? Why "cruising?" It seems that you will enjoy sailing in the boat you have, whatever size and sophistication. If it is 18 ft and you dare not really go into open sea, then it is just the same challenge to take this boat as far as it will go, and to master it to its limits. You will know that the fun of sailing a small boat is partially lost as you get to the bigger sizes, so this is a precious time, and going bigger is not a one-way street to greater pleasure.
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  #55  
Old 04-15-2009
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Hear Hear Osmund!!!

I guess there are those who just plain enjoy sailing and do so however is appropriate for them and their financial/life circumstances at that point in time. Then there are those who spend more time obsessing about the bigger boat, the next boat, the new gear and how great it will all be when they get it is all just perfect than actually just sailing....

I think Jm H makes a great point, there is no substitute for experience. We could of 'gone cruising' 5 years ago in a reasonable boat if we had just had the money, but methinks even in a well founded yacht it would of been a recipe for disaster, if not at the least a very steep learning curve with success based largely on a generous dose of luck.

What a truly radical concept Jim, that better safety and understanding may actually come from sailing experience, rather than buying the new epirb, a sea anchor or a great chartplotter....
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  #56  
Old 04-16-2009
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This is a very interesting string.

Back in the 1970s when I lived aboard a Cal 40 in Puerto Rico I attempted to 'special order' a brand new boat with a number of modifications. I wanted a boat with zero thruhulls and no engine, plumbing or electrical system. And I wanted no stanchions, lifelines or pulpits because they are a major cause of headaches and leaks. I wanted a pure sailboat around 40' and around 20,000 pds. I had my heart set on a Valiant 40 but they had no interest in working with me on this project for a number of obvious reasons that I won't get into right now. Lol. Eventually I bought a partially built 38-footer and finished it off myself. It had oil navigation lamps, oil interior lighting, a composting porta-pottie, and other such things. No engine, thruhulls, electrical or plumbing system. We sailed from PR to Brazil and back several times and slowly added the following items to make life more convenient and pleasurable:

* parachute anchor
* custom built icebox with 8" of insulation (ice would last ten days)
* scuba gear
* dodger, full sun awning, spray cloths, and wind scoop
* stern anchor roller
* camping stove for cockpit
* vhf radio and a little battery to run it
* transistor am/fm radio with cassette
* solar shower
* zodiac inflatable boat/doubled as liferaft
* manual bilge pump

We kept our water in jerricans. Not needing to be anywhere at any particular time. Traveling with the wind and current.

At the time I would say half the people out there were cruising with similar gear. At least a third had no engine. These days a person sailing without an engine would be considered insane. Or pitied for their poverty.

Last edited by LoTech; 04-16-2009 at 06:36 AM.
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  #57  
Old 04-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chall03 View Post
guess there are those who just plain enjoy sailing
I started off with a run-down 23ft day sailor with an outboard, and a beach trimaran. Our young little family had a ball in them. At times I wonder if the "bigger and better" has not been an attempt to find back to the pure joy we felt then...
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  #58  
Old 04-18-2009
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I grew up sailing, first on my father's boat and then on my own boats (have had 8 of my own over the years). My siblings have boats as well, as do many friends.

When I was a teenager, I used to think that it would be satisfying to spend my life in the manner that the Pardey's have spent theirs - a simple existence moving from port to port. Idyllic - few possessions and fewer cares.

After university I spent a few years in the Navy. My thoughts changed after sailing on a destroyer. There was one particular North Atlantic storm that we were ran in front of for almost four days. The waves (not swells) were higher than the bridge on a 450 foot long ship. Had we risked turning beam on, we might well have been lost.

Sobering.

Although we had cruised many miles on my father's ketch along the shores of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it was not common for us to be out at sea in any type of weather. We endured a few minor storms but we did not handle them stoically - any of us.

Subsequent to that, I acquired a cold-moulded Tancook schooner designed and built for racing. You couldn't really call her stripped down because there had never been anything there to begin with. We raced her regularly, but I also spent many weeks on the boat alone, cruising the seaboard with a temperamental VHF, an Origo stove, charts, compass and sextant. Never used the sextant at all. Navigated with charts, binoculars and timing lighthouses. No engine, no refrigerator, a Porta Potti and oil lamps. Many books.

Some of the most perfect times I have experienced in my life were on that boat. Spending days lying on the foredeck, naked, in complete solitude thinking of everything and nothing as the boat bit through sun-dappled waves on a course to nowhere in particular.

There was a sail though, from Newfoundland to Cape Breton, that was sheer hell. For two days the boat tossed back and forth, lay on its side, tried to bury itself headfirst and, failing that, to immerse itself arse-deep in the cold, cold water. Winds were not incredibly strong but it rained incessantly and the waves were high.

No spars snapped, no rigging was lost but everything in the cabin was wet and dented - especially me. When you are on a boat in a storm, there is nothing you can do. You can't get off for a two hour break regardless of how tired you are. There is no towel to dry yourself off with, no toasty heater to get rid of the numbness. If you start puking you don't stop until hours after the last ounce of bile has burnt the back of your throat.

And you are so incredibly tired that you start to lose your ability to think properly...

Realised after that experience that I have no desire to deal with a real typhoon on a sailboat. Sold the schooner, moved to Upper Canada and got serious about working.

Owned small daysailors and crewed on friends and acquaintances' boats on the Great Lakes, went back to the Maritimes regularly to sail with friends and family.

Decided to get a larger boat a couple of years ago and do some marina hopping in the Great Lakes region. Got a 30 footer with a diesel, a refrigerator, hot and cold presure water, a good stereo, autopilot, propane stove, BBQ, etc., etc., etc. Have been on boats with more gadgets and conveniences but never really used them.

What a difference between my Dad's old wooden ketch, my beautifully primitive schooner and this current marvel of naval engineering! I am a true convert - plastic all the way baby (or perhaps I am just getting old ).

In the years to come, we'll be spending increasing amounts of time on our boat and probably end up wintering in the Meditrerranean with it. There will be years that we sail back and forth, years when we leave her there and the odd time we may even load her on to a freighter and ship her around.

It won't be this 30 foot boat though. It will be a strongly built something or other that might not go too fast but has a couple of fuel cells and a washer and dryer. Dishwasher would be nice too - microwave is a necessity. Electronics up the yin-yang, satellite TV and a separate shower stall. Why not ?

I don't think that I'd actually enjoy sailing so far on the schooner anymore. What I used to think of as perfection afloat had hard, uncomfortable cushions and a coaming that was impossible to sit on or against. You couldn't stand up inside and everything got mouldy very quickly.

Dad's big, green ketch was a bit more comfortable, and certainly beautiful, but it still leaked and needed hundreds of hours of maintenance in a year to keep it going. Built before the time of fibreglass pleasure craft, it took my father, my brothers and I as well as several of our friends to get her seaworthy every spring and to get her ready for the winter every October. We did it until we realised that there were easier ways to enjoy the wind on the water.

I guess this means I am getting soft, and maybe a little plastic like the boat I have now - but - too bad. I'm happy

Last edited by Sailormann; 04-18-2009 at 01:27 AM.
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  #59  
Old 04-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormann View Post
Some of the most perfect times I have experienced in my life were on that boat. Spending days lying on the foredeck, naked, in complete solitude thinking of everything and nothing as the boat bit through sun-dappled waves on a course to nowhere in particular.
Good grief, Sailormann, that was a wild post you made.

Quite a cool review of a lot of sailing history. In some ways, I can see that your hard off-shore experiences put you off the rose-colored glasses cruising life ideas, but at the same time Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the North Atlantic and Newfoundland aren't exactly the places the Pardeys spent their winters sailing through. I wonder if you might have made other choices if you had grown up sailing in Puget Sound, the Chesapeake, or (god forbid) Florida and the Bahamas.

Okay, you've earned the right to enjoy some plastic and electronics and warmth...

Still, it's funny that you think that some of your perfect times were on the older boats. Time and place and opportunity still seem to play a big role in "finding the groove." Sailing isn't always comfortable, but then would we like it as much if it was always a trip to disneyland?

Thanks for the post.
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  #60  
Old 04-19-2009
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Jim,
Disneyland offers both wild, and mild just like Mother Nature. ........i2f
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