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PBzeer 11-28-2006 07:58 PM

Learning curve
Well, what started as a long-term cruise, became a short one. Fifteen days worth. I won't recount all the trials and tribulations, but the main thing was, that while I had diligently prepared the boat, I neglected to do the same for the Captain. Things that should have been second nature (from practice) were things that I would forget when tired. Plus, November is not the time of year to try doing the "Ditch" from Texas to Florida. The weather is too unpredictable, the days too short, and a lack of support resources that isn't apparent until you need them. So, after about 200 miles traveled and halfway to New Orleans, I spent 4 days at the Lake Arthur Yacht Club (a great and hospitable group of folks) and decided to go back to Texas for the winter. That way, I could do some things on the boat that I learned while using her, and cruise the South Coast of Texas to better prepare myself to sail across the Gulf come spring.

Though it didn't become what I had planned, it was a great learning experience. Some things I thought would come easily, didn't. While some things I thought it might take a while to get the hang of, I was able to do readily. Mostly though, it showed me I wasn't really ready to be out there full time. So now that the boat is pretty much ready, I'll work on doing the same for myself.

labatt 11-28-2006 08:19 PM

John - I'm sorry to hear that things didn't go quite as well as planned but a safe end to a journey is just that - safe. I'd love to hear some of the details of the issues you had as it will help my family and I plan better for a short cruise in April and a much longer one in two years. Anything you are willing to share would be greatly appreciated.


Chuteman 11-28-2006 08:32 PM

Good for You - No Harm No Foul
I believe that You just demonstrated the most valuable lesson any Skipper can learn.............limitations. It's even more courageous that You identified yourself as the limiting factor................Bravo!
It takes a real man to make that call vs a reckless person who carries on because of some macho attitude or testosterone.
You will write a much better ending the next time out vs possibly having a bad experience, hurting yourself, someone else or your yacht if you continued.
Challenges, hurdles & limitations are faced on many voyages, Recognizing which ones can be overcome, bypassed, ignored or need careful attention separate the men/women from the boys/girls.
Again, Bravo!!!!:cool:

bestfriend 11-28-2006 09:55 PM

Share some stories if you feel up to it, PB. Some of us may have occasion to reflect on them and use them to our advantage on future trips.

PBzeer 11-29-2006 08:15 AM

For those of you wanting more details, I've posted some to my blog page here at Sailnet.

cardiacpaul 11-29-2006 08:52 AM

great blog, and for what its worth the most important thing is you're safe and sound.

camaraderie 11-29-2006 09:28 AM

John...Welcome back...glad you're safe & the cruising is a whole lot nicer in the spring! Looking forward to installment #2.

TrueBlue 11-29-2006 09:41 AM


You've written a very sensitive and thoughtful blog - thanks for sharing it with us.

Anyone who's sailed any distance has earned his share of sea stories. Although just 200 miles worth, the past couple of weeks has contributed in that respect. Glad to hear no real damage was done to the boat, or you . . . other than your pride.

sidiag 11-29-2006 10:11 AM


One thing that I learned early on (late 60's) when I was being taught how
to pilot an aircraft - is that the decision to make a 180 degree turn when
faced with bad conditions ahead - cannot be faulted.

sailortjk1 11-29-2006 10:26 AM

We all have similar stories. There was a thread a while back titled "Things I learned the hardway", we have all been there.

As I read your blog, I try to imagine what its like to be in a narrow channel filled with barge traffic.

My experinces our usually the exact opposite. I'm generally sailing in open water, usually at night, with a lot of commercial/large (800ft.) vessels, and we are always crossing their shipping lanes.

We learned that 1 mile is the limit as to how close we will get to them. At night its not worth it.

Like you said, its all a learning curve. Many many many years later, if your like me, you'll still be learning.

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