So I am not sure I am cut out to be a sailor... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 70 Old 12-27-2009 Thread Starter
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So I am not sure I am cut out to be a sailor...

Hi all,

Just thought I would share my 'process' so far and just see if there is anything I am missing.

I was never a sailor at any point but had been out on a few boats as rail meat. I was getting quite bored of working and was trying to think of something to do that would keep me and my wife busy while not having to be pinned down at the corporate grind. We have amassed a reasonable enough amount of money such that I don't think going to work just because you can't think of anything better to do is a great way to live.

At some point I stumbled across the Bumfuzzles and their round the world travels and was inspired by the idea. At that point I started to think about how it could work out for my wife and I and started researching. I looked into the pros and cons of cruising life, bought books (even for the wife), worked on the idea, dreamed about boats and not being at work etc etc.

The wife liked the idea as it was pitched - something that would keep us busy, would have us seeing exotic locales etc etc. It would give me freedom from the monotony of the corporate grind as well as getting away from the crowds. It would give her a built in social network at each new harbor. The idea seemed perfect.

So we went and took a competent crew course down in Australia at the Whitsunday Islands. I figured it would be a good place to learn as well as easy and beautiful - highlighting all the good stuff. It was a full on week of learning and we were successful enough. Catch is, we didn't really get any kind of a relaxing trip with all the objectives.

That was fine though - it enabled us to rent again; this time freeing us up to take out a 38 foot catamaran. I all along thought cats would be the way to go and that first course kind of confirmed us for both of us.

Anyway, trip two sees the wife and I alone taking out a 38 foot catamaran. We hired a half day sail guide to refresh us and then it was up to us.

Well, thats where things started to get a bit wonky. In the first two minutes, my wife loses her hat overboard never to be seen again (on our first raising of the main). I find for the whole trip that sleeping at night is very difficult as I worry about anchors dragging, water leaking or funny noises. The windlass causes us all kinds of problems; one day jamming, one day jamming so badly I have to go in and disassemble part of it. The lazy jacks break. The tools for fixing things were rusty and barely able to help. We decide to move anchor and in the process forget about the tender and shred the painter, kill and engine for a bit and then manage to retrieve the dingy. We motor sail through an inter island channel that proves hair raising. We get our first mooring boy of the trip and then are inundated with backpacker boats that night and the following morning. We try to anchor in sand for a break pre returning to base and it won't hold so end up motor sailing all the way back in large waves. Every night the lack of air con has me in a small pool of sweat sleeping on what feel like wet blankets. Instead of waves lulling you to sleep they made noise or got larger over the course of the evening becoming uncomfortable (or making me think we must be draggin). We were not great sailors - at one point rushing a decision resulted in a headsail flapping free and a rope whacking my thumb like a hammer. The house batteries died in harbor forcing us to change sides for the night due to the alarm (and not knowing how to turn it off). I mean, rough going to be honest at pretty much every step of the way.

We did enjoy one night where we had a whole bay to ourselves and cooked up lobster on the bbq. The weather was nice. Sitting out in the evening and watching the stars with a nice bottle of wine was great. The quiet when the wind was not around was great. The 'idea' we both agreed was ideal; freedom, fairly inexpensive, interesting places, interesting people etc etc. The reality though, well, I dunno.

So, with that all said I am wondering what the rest of you think. We are both not sure where to go from here. I still like the idea but I now know there are a lot of things that I just did not enjoy. Yes, we were able to fix things as they arose but I didn't expect literally something to be every day if not more. I just really am not sure its for either of us.

Thoughts?

Regards.
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post #2 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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You're only problem is lack of experience, and knowledge. After 20+ years of sailing my own boats, and a lot of cruising. I am still a novice, and learning constantly.

If you think this is what you want to do. You need to buy a small daysailor, and sail the paint off her bottom. The mistakes newbies make. Is that act as if it's like driving a car. Bless the Bumfuzzles for making it, but it's rare for a newbie to have everything go their way. Most newbies get your experience. That doesn't mean at sometime you can't enjoy the bliss cruising can bring. Just hang in there, and get some sailing time in..........i2f

20 MPH ain't fast unless, you do it in a 1000sq 3/2 house on 10foot waves
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post #3 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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Man that sucks sounds like boats are not for you, why dont you try RV's.
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post #4 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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Sounds to me like you just got the normal first season snafus all in a week or two.. on a boat that wasn't yours and perhaps was not as well maintained as it should have been.

A 38' cat's a lot of boat for a newbie when things go badly. I like I2fs recommendations... start smaller, get a firm grip on the basics and transfer those skills to something bigger down the road.

Working through the night time worries? forget it.. in some shape or form they'll always be there, you just get used to noises that are normal, deal with expected problems better down the road, etc. Whatever you do don't start using earplugs... that 'bump' in the night might one day save your lives..

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #5 of 70 Old 12-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Heh, speaking of rv's - I did a five week 10,000 mile road trip this past summer and loved it. In that whole trip I had Mr. Lube do an oil change; very much the opposite of my daily experience on a boat. There are a lot of things to not like about that kind of life as well of course but its a bit off topic.
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post #6 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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If the lack of AC really bugs you... yeah, move on.

Every other problem was preventable with experience or a familiar boat.

The lack of AC in warm climates - that is part of the course, and if you don't like it, don't go tropical. Go Maine or BC. But there will always be some discomfort.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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post #7 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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Those posting above that suggest your problems would dimenish with experience and familiarity with your own equipment are correct. The only point I would contest is the advise to stay out of the tropics to best adapt to the stresses of temperatures. Records show the harshest summer temperatures are typically in the areas from 25 to 35 degrees of latitude, while the tropics rarely experience these same discomforts. Many people thrive aboard vessels in the trade wind easterlies between 10 & 20 degrees of latitude with days in the eighties (fahrenheit) while those in the mid-latitudes are in the high nineties. We, more often, take another choice and cruise to Maine for the summers and keep to the lower latitudes in the winter. We've lived aboard and cruised for four decades and maintenance keeps me alert, but not awake at night. Once your know your boat and the cycles of need, the great majority of maintenance will be preventative and not an emergency. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #8 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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Do you golf? I used to, but don't really anymore (any good day for golfing is a good day for sailing). Anyway, golf is a very frustrating game. You sit there staring at this little ball that's not moving. No one is yelling at you. No one is hitting you while you try to strike the ball. No one is trying to throw the ball past you while you swing the club. Nope, the ball just sits there, everyone is quiet, and you can take all the time you need. Yet, you never can get the d*mn thing to go where you want. You spend 90% of your time very frustrated, cursing under your breath, wondering why you decided to "waste" an afternoon like this, and spend lots of money for the privilege to boot!

Why do I raise this in response to your question? Because invariably, there is one shot during every round of golf that you remember because you hit it exactly right. Everything feels perfect, your swing was smooth and easy, the sound of the club head striking the ball is exactly the same as the sound you hear when the pros do it, the rest of your group applauds, and it brings a serene smile over your face. It's called a "Golf Shot." And it's THAT shot that stays in your mind and keeps you coming back to the links, even though you shot a 138. Well, in your situation, keep picturing that one evening you had with the calm winds/seas, lobster on the barbie, nice wine, stars shining bright, and your beautiful wife next to you. That was your Golf Shot. And that's the experience that should keep you coming back, because once you start to get experience, YOUR boat is set up the way you want and properly maintained, there will be many more of those Golf Shot evenings than the ones where you shank the ball into the rough.

Stick with it. Once you get in the groove, sailing will change your life. Forever.

Dan Goldberg

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post #9 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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I mention rv's because I consider my boat like an rv. I am probable your opposite I hate driving so I would never buy an rv. Sounds like you don't like boating. If you cant sleep well in a 38' cat because it moves to much do you realy think a smaller boat is more stable? I always like to say little boats Rock Better.
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post #10 of 70 Old 12-27-2009
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Although I don't golf, I think danielgoldburg's analogy makes sense.

My husband and I both agree...a bad day of sailing just means, later on, you have a good story to tell.

PS You can buy hat clips, or just don't get too attached to your hats. Or when the hat goes over, use it as a man overboard drill
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