Are you a risk adverse sailor? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Are you a risk adverse sailor?

This may seem like a silly question (and should read "averse" not adverse). However I have encountered Sailors and Windsurfers who seem like very conservative, risk averse people. I have always wondered what attracts them to sports/hobbies that are relatively risky. Not to be overly dramatic, but we've lost several experienced sailors on good boats within eyesight of the Golden Gate Bridge over the past several years. In addition, maneuvering on a heaving,wet deck, heeling at 20 degrees, with lines and powerful sails flailing about, seems absolutely insane to some non sailors! Lets not even start with Windsurfing/Kiting (Every veteran Windsurfer I know has a long list of horror stories)!
I received a response to one of my threads that made me think "man, if you worry about all those (minor, highly unlikely, IMO) things, you must be absolutely terrified when the wind suddenly picks up and your boat is overpowered!" (as one example).
I don't think sailing is dangerous. However, as a risk taker and bit of an adrenaline junkie, I've always been curious what attracts a person who is risk averse to sailing. Seems very counter intuitive to me! Thoughts?
Edit: See post #30 (page 3) for clarification of risk averse.

Last edited by L124C; 01-18-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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post #3 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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risk averse.
(and yes, I am)
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post #4 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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There's this thing called "the burden of knowledge".

When I started sailing, I was not risk averse. I was so eager to get out there and try it, that I took my Coronado 25 out, and plowed 300 yards through 3" of ice, in February, to take advantage of a sunny day with fair winds. I wore a harness and nothing else.

3 short years and a thousand horror Sailnet stories later, I'm not sailing in the cold as much, I'm piling on the personal safety gear, I'm getting downright paranoid in my gear and rigging inspections, I'm constantly overestimating the wind, and choosing jibs that are too small for the conditions, and then getting frustrated when I have a hard time getting the boat moving!

I used to make fun of all the nanny's on this site, now I'm in danger of becoming one of them. I know a lot of people here will think I'm getting smarter, but sometimes the burden of knowledge is taking the fun out of sailing.

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post #5 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
I wore a harness and nothing else.

Really? Got pictures? Did it freeze off?
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post #6 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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I consider myself to be a risk-averse person, but I also have confidence in my ability to think and act myself out of bad situations. I singlehand a lot. You can't eliminate risk but you can minimize it by thinking ahead, acquiring knowledge and experience, and not doing stupid things. Part of minimizing risk is knowing your boat well. I fix everything on my boat with as little outside help as necessary so I learn to deal with things if they break when there isn't help available. Although I don't take risks I consider to be stupid, a little risk keeps things exciting.
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post #7 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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I donít think sailing is a risky activity. It is an activity that implies knowledge and responsibility, as many other activities.

Put a guy that has never drive on the wheel of a truck and we have a risky situation. Driving a truck is not particularly risky if the driver is qualified.

In what regards sailing the level of knowledge is linked with the level of risk. Put a professional racer going downwind at 18K under spinnaker solo on a Figaro class 35ft with 30 K wind and he would be perfectly safe. Put me doing that and it would be a very risky situation.

Anyone that practiced an activity or sport that needs a high level of training knows about the different levels that make the safety of each one, accordingly with his training and performance and they also know that they are hugely different between a rookie and a professional.

The safety lies in never go over your safety limit related with your knowledge and performance. If you never go over that limit you would be perfectly safe.



Last edited by PCP; 01-16-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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post #8 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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The riskiest part of sailing/cruising for me is making landfall and walking down the streets with broken sidewalks,uneven walkways if any, open gutters and sewers. Not to mention the cars driving on the wrong side of the road. Every time I get off the boat I feel like a "newbie?

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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About the only time i get a bit risk adverse is when i am by myself OR sailing with my wife as she has a pretty low threshold

When i race with my regular friends on Zzzoom i have come to trust then a great deal and flat out know if i screw up and put myself in a bad way somebody will (within reason ) have my back

I still feel the most risky thing i do is clean the bottom as even if somebody is on-board and i bump my head i will dead before they ever even notice i was in trouble

I would NEVER single-hand on a day like this BUT with the Zzzoom crew we would be racing or working on hoisting the storm jib just to be sure were good at it

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Last edited by tommays; 01-16-2012 at 07:21 PM.
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-16-2012
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I am aware of risks and attempt to minimize as much of the risk as possible. I am a big fan of passage planning and safety aboard.

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