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  #31  
Old 01-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_gee View Post
It would be churlish indeed for a more expert player to deride their efforts and the pleasure they take in it despite the frustrations and imperfections.
Good post.

What has always amazed me about sailing is the conceptual pleasure of the idea of sailing, even if it is never done.

I believe one of Don Casey's books begins with a discourse on "backyard sailboats"-- boats that are built in backyards over a period of years or decades. What is amazing is that a fair percentage (or majority) of these boats are never sailed by the builders (due to age or illness or never being completed), but they still serve a strong purpose and role in the builders' lives. They represent at least the hope of escaping from the routine of daily life, even if that day never comes. (Or perhaps the pleasure is in the building, the journey instead of the destination.)

Anyway, your post reminded me of this theme. In fact, I think Herb Payson's "barely used wooden sailboat" in the book Blown Away was exactly one of these boats. Overall, I think its wise to try to respect other sailors' interest in boats or sailing, regardless of many factors, because the passions could run very deep in non-obvious ways. (I'd rather hope that everyone had some interest or concept like this in their lives, sailing or not.)
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Last edited by Jim H; 01-01-2008 at 03:48 PM.
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  #32  
Old 01-01-2008
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Thanks for your thoughts, you guys. I think it's a good idea to try and be open minded, that's a hard and thoughtful thing to strive for. What's also funny and I guess could be another thread... is regional differences. Sailing in a lot of different places in the world, you know I've noticed there are quite different cultures and what may be par for the course one region may be completely unheard of somewhere else.

Example: on some tallships I sailed on, I was taught that clove hitches are something to be avoided. Yet here in BC, people SWEAR by them. Everyone ties their docklines to bull rails on the docks here with--you guessed it--clove hitches (albeit with an extra hitch around the standing end). where almost everywhere else I've seen cleats on the docks, or bollards... or sometimes pipes along the docks, we have these big, square, fir 3 by 3's bolted to the dock every 24 inches.

People when I'm somewhere else have called me imcompetant for using clove hitches in this fashion, because that's how I learned it yet I'm now in a different region. The more places I've gone, the more I have to refine my judgement of who's trustworthy and who's not because there's actually a whole code of things that are regionalized without others realizing it.

It's great to read all the different opinions and one thing I'm picking up is that I should strive to stay open minded... and that black is quite often less black than I think, and white is quite often less white. Licensed or not, experienced or not although there are many absoulutes, maybe I should scratch a couple of them off the list before I judge someone to be incompetant. I still had to laugh at the story about the guy on the SeaRay dragging anchor tho. In fact there's still lots of pet peives that get my blood going.

Sailing around near Genoa and Rome... I noticed EVERYONE had their fenders over! At least I thought THAT was a universal sign... :-)
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  #33  
Old 01-01-2008
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Nice topic, nice post Chris Gee. For the most part, even very bad (chronically bad) sailors aren't killing too many people. So it's less critical than bad pilots, or even bad motor vehicle operators, which we encounter every day. Ask the bonehead who tried to pass me last week on an icy summit, on the right, as the right lane was ending (signs quite clear). Nearly killed himself, his passenger, and the kid in the car seat. Fundamental lack of judgment. Hey idjit -- there's a reason I'm in this lane!

I sadly suspect certain people are not suitable for skippering, or even crewing, a sailboat. I am beginning to suspect my girlfriend is one of these. She's a very smart woman and not panicky, but when things go all hairy she reliably takes the wrong action. Granted this is all new to her, but there's much to be read from instincts, and I don't like what I've seen.

What it comes down to is mindfulness. That means paying attention to what's happening around you and to what you are doing. I think people vary in their ability to focus and to process. An example: this same GF will put logs in the woodstove -- too many, and badly arrayed, then close the door and not notice they don't catch. She goes back to reading or making lunch. I explain you can't let them smolder, we'll all die of CO poisoning. I'll show her how to rake coals, how to re-start a stove, but damn if she doesn't do it again. It's a failure to determine what's important and to give one's attention to those matters.

I guess mindfulness exists independent of training or experience, though these can help hone it. It consists of 1) paying attention to what you are doing right now, and what is happening nearby; 2) applying past experiences to the present situation; and 3) projecting present conditions into the future, anticipating what may become important a few seconds or a few hours down the road. These traits are fundamental to good drivers, among others.

For instance, I've taught dozens of people to rock climb. Some pick it up very fast; they remember how anchors are set, the proper belay signals, tie-in knots, and rappelling technique. If they do something wrong, they realize why it was bad and aren't apt to repeat the error. You'll find them anticipating events, racking gear in ascending order of size or likely first need, and pointing out dodgy-looking weather. When they belay, they pay attention and provide slack or tension without me having to shout; they seem able to keep one eye on surroundings without compromising what they are doing right now.

Other students, not so good. They forget procedures, they are insensible to real risk while balking at safe practices, they let go of the brake hand while rummaging for a Power Bar, they can't keep their shoes tied. Many are very smart, excellent human beings. I gently suggest, after a few goes, that 1000 ft of vertical granite is not, perhaps, an ideal metier for people who have difficulty focusing, or who lack a certain practical turn of mind. You can't make too many bad choices up there before one kills you.

You need to create a self that's always looking over your shoulder, questioning what you are doing and chiding you for mistakes. It's a form of conscience, a sailing conscience. You can't allow it to paralyze you, or to take the fun away, but it's important to cultivate. I think some boaters, drivers, climbers, lack that little voice in their ear -- and you can tell it from a mile away. Best to give them lots of room. A beginning sailor with that voice will get better fast; a long-time sailor without it is a menace forever.
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  #34  
Old 01-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
Nice topic, nice post Chris Gee. For the most part, even very bad (chronically bad) sailors aren't killing too many people. So it's less critical than bad pilots, or even bad motor vehicle operators, which we encounter every day. Ask the bonehead who tried to pass me last week on an icy summit, on the right, as the right lane was ending (signs quite clear). Nearly killed himself, his passenger, and the kid in the car seat. Fundamental lack of judgment. Hey idjit -- there's a reason I'm in this lane!

I sadly suspect certain people are not suitable for skippering, or even crewing, a sailboat. I am beginning to suspect my girlfriend is one of these. She's a very smart woman and not panicky, but when things go all hairy she reliably takes the wrong action. Granted this is all new to her, but there's much to be read from instincts, and I don't like what I've seen.

What it comes down to is mindfulness. That means paying attention to what's happening around you and to what you are doing. I think people vary in their ability to focus and to process. An example: this same GF will put logs in the woodstove -- too many, and badly arrayed, then close the door and not notice they don't catch. She goes back to reading or making lunch. I explain you can't let them smolder, we'll all die of CO poisoning. I'll show her how to rake coals, how to re-start a stove, but damn if she doesn't do it again. It's a failure to determine what's important and to give one's attention to those matters.

I guess mindfulness exists independent of training or experience, though these can help hone it. It consists of 1) paying attention to what you are doing right now, and what is happening nearby; 2) applying past experiences to the present situation; and 3) projecting present conditions into the future, anticipating what may become important a few seconds or a few hours down the road. These traits are fundamental to good drivers, among others.

For instance, I've taught dozens of people to rock climb. Some pick it up very fast; they remember how anchors are set, the proper belay signals, tie-in knots, and rappelling technique. If they do something wrong, they realize why it was bad and aren't apt to repeat the error. You'll find them anticipating events, racking gear in ascending order of size or likely first need, and pointing out dodgy-looking weather. When they belay, they pay attention and provide slack or tension without me having to shout; they seem able to keep one eye on surroundings without compromising what they are doing right now.

Other students, not so good. They forget procedures, they are insensible to real risk while balking at safe practices, they let go of the brake hand while rummaging for a Power Bar, they can't keep their shoes tied. Many are very smart, excellent human beings. I gently suggest, after a few goes, that 1000 ft of vertical granite is not, perhaps, an ideal metier for people who have difficulty focusing, or who lack a certain practical turn of mind. You can't make too many bad choices up there before one kills you.

You need to create a self that's always looking over your shoulder, questioning what you are doing and chiding you for mistakes. It's a form of conscience, a sailing conscience. You can't allow it to paralyze you, or to take the fun away, but it's important to cultivate. I think some boaters, drivers, climbers, lack that little voice in their ear -- and you can tell it from a mile away. Best to give them lots of room. A beginning sailor with that voice will get better fast; a long-time sailor without it is a menace forever.
that's a great post and whether you want it or not yer getting a rep point!
there's ben a lot of great, thoughtful posts on this thread. keep 'em coming.
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  #35  
Old 01-02-2008
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If you looked through the coast guard stats on boater accidents and deaths I posted on another thread the primary cause is 'operator inattention'. Seems to be the general comment here as well. Good posts.
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  #36  
Old 01-02-2008
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bobmcgov.

Fantastic post.

I could not put it into words like you.

I often chide myself (even curse), I have that person in the back of my mind always questioning me, teasing me, asking me if I am sure, taunting me even.

I always thought that I have just not been found out and institutionalized yet.

Could it be I really do need that big boat?
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  #37  
Old 01-03-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therapy23 View Post
I always thought that I have just not been found out and institutionalized yet.
The men in white suits are on the way. Wait right there and they'll be there with the jacket that buckles in the back...

Seriously, more kudos to bobmcgov for a great post and all who've added to this interesting thread
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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