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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2011
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Lots of good advice here so far. I would especially echo that you're way safer out there than you are in that crowded harbor of yours. It's the hard stuff that's bad for boats

Things I'd add:

1) Make sure your safety gear is in order and give your boat a quick inspection. Knowing that your boat is a safe platform, and trusting your boat to keep you safe, goes a long way.

2) Have a plan. What do you want to accomplish when you're out there? You don't want to clear the jetty and then look out over this vast horizon and say, "Okay, what the hell do I do now?"

Here's one optional plan: sail upwind away from the harbor entrance (so that you're not in the way of other traffic) until you're about a mile away. Heave-to. Eat a sandwich and have a cup of tea in the cockpit. Relax and enjoy the afternoon. Then ease the sheets and head back to the harbor. You'll have a sense of accomplishment, and a full belly is a great way to tell the primitive parts of your brain that everything is okay. Those are the parts that have been forcing you to turn back thus far, by the way, so those are the ones you need to appease.
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  #12  
Old 10-04-2011
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Aye matey, there be sea serpents and all manner of beasties lurking beyond that breakwater. You be man enough to brave the unknown sea? I hear tell of a mythical island beyond the horizon where they drink the milk of bison and the wenches frolic on the beach. A Spaniard on a galleon we plundered gasped the name "Catalina" with his dying breath...
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Old 10-04-2011
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I used to live and sail in Newport. The harbor is a lot of fun to sail in. I remember having a blast on the "inside" weeknight, beer can races. and knew just where we would get a lift or be headed, and of course guaging whether or not you had to tack to avoid the Balboa Island Ferry was always a fun challenge, as was threading your way through mooring fields. I am about to make the point that sailing outside Newport Harbor on the usually calm Pacific is actually easier than negotiating the vagaries of wind speed and direction plus the traffic and obstacles encountered in harbor. Just set a course and go. I used to sail out at night and just head straight out to sea for a few hours then turn around. Just watch out for curious whales! Kidding.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Mostly echoing the good advice here: 1. Have confidence that you can handle the boat and all its rigging in all conditions. Know how and when to reef down and practice it enough times that you have confidence in your ability to sail in higher than expected wind. 2. Have alternate plans for unexpected conditions all along your route. The further the distance without a good escape, the more sure your weather prediction needs to be. Some weather patterns are very predictable, some are not. Know your local weather so you can second guess forecasts which are often wrong. 3. Have the safety equipment you need such as an EPIRB and a liferaft if you want to venture far from the sight of land.
I use a separate checklist when going offshore. Getting far from land needs a different mindset and different prep.

Last edited by smurphny; 10-04-2011 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 10-04-2011
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I vividly remember my thoughts on my first open ocean excursion, "What if the boat spontaneously disintegrates because the atomic bonding mechanism fails?" You all laugh, but that was my thought. Have a couple of navigation means, (sight, gps, rdf) tell your friends, if you have any , where you are going and when you will be back, and have an auxiliary flotation device.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
I vividly remember my thoughts on my first open ocean excursion, "What if the boat spontaneously disintegrates because the atomic bonding mechanism fails?" You all laugh, but that was my thought.
Reminds me of a time I was swimming across a local lake. About halfway across I started wondering how deep the lake was and how far I'd fall if buoyancy stopped working or if the water molecules suddenly dissociated. I'm not usually afraid of heights but I started getting nervous, and swam a little faster.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
Reminds me of a time I was swimming across a local lake. About halfway across I started wondering how deep the lake was and how far I'd fall if buoyancy stopped working or if the water molecules suddenly dissociated. I'm not usually afraid of heights but I started getting nervous, and swam a little faster.
Irrational fears can terminate one's sailing.

I had an acquaintance who was really keen. However on a passage from Hawaii he was in his berth when he realized that that only an inch of fiberglass was between him and 10,000 feet of water. He has not been on a boat since.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Newbie-
Trust yourself. You have the right answer, get some more experienced folks to go out with you.
Dockmaster, harbormaster, launch driver, cashier at West Marine, your local loft...someone you already know on some casual basis. Just tell 'em flat out, you're looking for some experienced sailors to take your first trip outside the harbor with, do they know anyone who wants to go sailing (this weekend, Sunday morning, Weds evening, whatever) and you're buying the drinks afterward.
You WILL get phone calls. There's always wharf rats looking for any excuse to go sailing, and someone can refer some of the better ones to you.
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"I started wondering how deep the lake was and how far I'd fall if buoyancy stopped working or if the water molecules suddenly dissociated."

"However on a passage from Hawaii he was in his berth when he realized that that only an inch of fiberglass was between him and 10,000 feet of water."

Just great, two more things to worry about. Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2011
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If you're six feet tall you can still drown in just six feet of water, sooner or later you'll come down off your tiptoes. So the other 9994 feet of water under your boat?

Just ensures passing boats won't mutilate your body. See? That's a GOOD THING.
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