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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Never sailed before
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-30-2009 02:44 PM
smackdaddy +1 Bob. Great post!

Skier, climber, sailor, we should hang out.

(PS - and you have the best avatar ever...besides mine of course)
10-30-2009 02:18 PM
bobmcgov Good post, Jerr. I'll stipulate that racing (or professional instruction) is a more compact learning environment for certain skills. It is just as possible to learn those skills while cruising, tho you have to supply your own framework and feedback. In ski racing camp, I learned to break a carved turn into twenty individual components, analyze each one, and reassemble the mess into something like a perfect parabola. Hardpack on a fallaway? Pronate the ankles this much and don't over-push the exit. It made me a better skier -- or at least, a better turner -- but it also robbed the activity of its joy. I liked skiing better before I knew what I was doing wrong.

Also the higher I went in the ski rankings, the more arrogant and insufferable the racers became. If that's what being good turns you into, I'll pass. One glance at the cockfight surrounding the AC reveals the logical extreme of that world: all arguing, no sailing.

What does get on my mousey nutz is the glass-eyed evangelism of certain racers: "You should race. Everybody should race. It's the only way to really learn. You have to race."

No, I don't. Proselytizing of any sort is uncouth. It begins with the delusion that your bliss is the one true bliss and everyone would be uplifted if they just join in. This happy savage will politely show any such missionaries to the edge of the village -- at spearpoint, if needed.
10-30-2009 01:20 PM
imagine2frolic If I can maintain 12-15 knots steady. Have a cup of coffee up on the house. Stand there with my feet shoulder wide, and watch 10 -15ft. waves attack my quarter. I don't think that's edgy. A dbl reefed main, and half a headsail is all it takes to do it. I am sailing well withing the boat's limits. I call that damned lucky to own a boat like that... ....i2f
10-30-2009 12:09 PM
smackdaddy Okay, I see your point. And I agree...especially with this piece.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoatWorks View Post
My argument is that racing is generally a skill that is more intensely studied and practiced in depth than cruising (That's obvious, isn't it?) and that therefore the quality of skill in a sailor found in such a pursuit is generally much better.
And I stand and applaud this part...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoatWorks View Post
This is all mice nuts, though
Hilarious my good man.



And i2, dude, if you're jumping out into a norther for more speed...you are definitely an edgy cruiser. That was another one of myboat's points - that most cruisers would never do that - and I think that's right. At least I've heard a lot of schmoes call that kind of thing "reckless". Whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
When we leave for the Bahamas on our yearly migration. We wait for a northern storm to approach. We jump out in it to get 25+ knots of wind. This allows us to make 450 miles in 48 hours even though the last third is only at 6 knots.

As I typed racers, and cruisers are 2 different animals with 2 different skills. We choose not to push the envelope for most of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
I think you were politically correct..
Crap. I'm definitely losing my touch.
10-30-2009 10:44 AM
imagine2frolic cp,

I always enjoy your post. You just make me smile!.......i2f
10-30-2009 10:02 AM
imagine2frolic When we leave for the Bahamas on our yearly migration. We wait for a northern storm to approach. We jump out in it to get 25+ knots of wind. This allows us to make 450 miles in 48 hours even though the last third is only at 6 knots.

On the return we have made the same 450 miles in 42 hours. I guess it was just luck making time like that? This is just my 4'9" wife at less than 100lbs. & I sailing the boat through shoals, inside bouys, and strange inlets in the dead of the night.

As I typed racers, and cruisers are 2 different animals with 2 different skills. We choose not to push the envelope for most of us. We are usually wife & husband making distance, and not an extra half a knot.

Many times at cruising destinations there are races. Some of these cruisers who are ex-racers strip their boat, and get very serious. I raced for half year on S.F Bay. I just got tired of the egos, loud mouths, and Captain Blighs. I can assure you there were some pretty unskilled racers in the mix. My point being is that comment can go both ways. A racer doesn't automatically make you an effecient , or better sailor.

Smack,

That wasn't directed to you. I think you were politically correct.. ......i2f
10-30-2009 04:49 AM
MyBoatWorks
Sailing well in racing and cruising

Wow! While I didn't intend to ruffle feathers, my foot does happen to be conveniently a half size smaller than my mouth. With the utmost respect to all cruising sailors, regardless of skill, I'll stand by my proclamation, imagine2frolic - Few cruisers are really good sailors. There are a lot of cruisers and the skillset needed to be proficient in cruising is fairly low-level. There are a ton of cruisers that are admirable sailors in every sense. The sailor I most admire from personal relationship is a cruiser with so-so buoy racing skills but astonishing navigation and just about any other skill you'd care to mention. I have many cruising friends who are excellent sailors and easily and gleefully trounce all comers when challenged. I can't think of any who haven't had a stint of racing, though. It's kind of like being good at math - You have to practice and being in a group of people who are similarly interested in improving and comparing their skills is by far the best way to do it.

Deriding mastery of a sailing skill as technical is just a wee bit silly.

While it's true it's never a race 'till there's two boats, cruisers don't often have boats similar enough to pit themselves against and really learn from the experience deeply as is common in the average race - Local or distance. I'll reference the playful quote earlier in this thread about what it's like racing for that. In cruising, the personal nature of each boat being home discourages frank discussion on performance improvements: Some just like things they way they are and really, it's their cruise, so what's the point of raining on their parade? Please accept my humble apologies for raining on anyone's parade. I'd much rather have my intention taken: If you want to learn to sail well, go race for a couple seasons, on a variety of boats with a variety of crews, in a variety of positions. You'll learn a lot more about sailing well that way than from the same time cruising.

I've seen, as I'm sure most everyone else here has, stunningly dumb and brilliantly elegant maneuvers in races and while cruising. My argument is that racing is generally a skill that is more intensely studied and practiced in depth than cruising (That's obvious, isn't it?) and that therefore the quality of skill in a sailor found in such a pursuit is generally much better. It's backed by my observations and conversations with others. Yes, the skillsets have differences and overlaps but the basics of sailing are common to both. Please keep in mind that there are masters and beginners of both doing both and that we all started at the beginning with "Starboard? Port? Huh?" One's skills do not define the person but are tools a person has. So please don't take my opinion as a personal slight - It's not.

This is all mice nuts, though - If we like racing, that's great and if we like cruising, that's great too. I don't care in the least what a lousy sailor does, as long as others don't have to suffer for his lack of skills. I rejoice in and share his sailing pleasures. It's kind of like boats: It took me a while to understand the reasons for some (ok, most) modern production boats having features that are great in dock, good in a gentle breeze and bloody awful in a blow - The people who buy them simply never would sail in heavy weather, so those considerations just doesn't matter. The big picture, of the magic 'twixt wind and wave, is what it's about.

With that in mind, I wish you all smooth seas and warm, steady following breezes.
- Jerr
10-29-2009 09:52 PM
smackdaddy Holy crap, it's like FightClub around here already! What a mess.

To be clear, I wasn't harshing anybody's sailing skillz. I was actually sticking up for the gnarly BFS cruisers I know. (i2f are you talking to me in your post? Or the other dude?)

My point is that, "cruisers" are not "poor sailors" per se...at least not the ones I've seen in BFS. Whether the BFSers are all racers/ex-racers or not, I don't know. I'm just saying that they don't have to be racers to be cool. They just have to sail big...and they do.

On the other side of that equation, some racers really are poor sailors. I've seen it on YouTube so I know.

So it's not JUST racers versus cruisers. That's a bogus differentiation. I'm just sayin' there's a very cool group in the middle that refuse to be lazy shitzu combers - yet refuse to always turn left for a pickle dish.

George, since I sail on a very narrow lake, you wouldn't believe the number of tacks and gibes I do. Even so, I know I've got a long way to go to really have it down. So, knowing how well you sail, I definitely defer to your throwdown...master...

Of course, you're blind as a bat as is clear in the video...so I'll get that damn pebble eventually! I just need to find some pot-holders. This whole forearm/lava-pot thing...not smart...



Now Bob - cool that you're a climber. I actually started off doing trad climbs and now do sport because it's what we have around here. But we've got some good ones. I'm one of those guys that has climbed 5.13 sport routes on limestone, but couldn't even get on the first move of Sphinx Crack, a trad granite 5.13 crack climb. So I know what you mean.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, trad ski racers suck.
10-29-2009 08:02 PM
bobmcgov Yeah, and it's always fun handing an anchor to a racer. "Uh ... which end goes in the water?"

Reminds me of the endless and perfectly pointless feud between "Sport" and "Traditional" rock climbers. Sporties push the envelope of pure difficulty: powerful, technical, gymnastic motion. A world class sport route might be only 25 feet high. Falls are expected, and big fat expansion bolts are drilled into blank expanses of rock to protect the climber. Risk is not the object.

Trad climbers seek out natural weaknesses in the rock, stressing endurance, problem-solving, and self-reliance. They place and remove protection as they climb. Risk is an assumed part of the game, and help is often very far away. Lead falls are to be avoided. Accordingly, most long trad routes are of only moderate difficulty -- 5.11 or below.

I've watched 5.13 trad climbers fall off beginner sport routes, and 5.13 sport climbers flail hopelessly on 5.8 offwidth cracks. While both factions could (and sometimes did) benefit from testing the other's world, most people found themselves drifting into one pursuit or the other. Didn't stop the primping or pissing contests. "Blinkered old troglodyte choss crawlers" versus "Spandex-wearing one-move wonders." YAWN. As John Salathe said, after the schism spawned yet another fist fight: "Can't vee all chust climb?"

I started as a sport climber, but the contrived nature of the game and competitive attitudes of participants got on my nerves. I wanted to be in the mountains, high off the ground, dangling my feet off a ledge and savoring ten hours wending up some unknown arete -- not popping a few moves on someone else's bolted route listed in a guidebook, covered in chalk marks, and indistinguishable from the bolted route next to it. In the same way, skiing was ruined for me when I took up racing: I HATED waiting around for hours to spend two minutes negotiating flags somebody stuck in the snow, then asking a clock how good I am. Answer: not very. But I was a seriously brilliant free-form bump skier. Good enuf to be invited to try out for the Olympic development squad. No thanks. Don't care how my skillz compare to others' in the eyes of three judges and a stopwatch. I just like how it feels.

Same with sailing. I'm not going to mill around in a holding pen with other kine, hare away at a starting gun, go around in circles a couple times, then spend the rest of the day arguing Racing Rules and handicap numbers. Too much structure. Cruisers pay attention to sail trim and boat balance, some more than others. But I'll spare a little bit of time for the dolphins or eagles or just close my eyes to feel the wind on my cheeks. Cuz I really have nothing to prove to anyone but me.
10-29-2009 06:42 PM
GeorgeB Smack,

“Come over here Grasshopper, and sit at my knee… “

You can’t go around comparing a Sunday Brunch Finn racer to a circumnavigator cruiser. To be fair, compare the average circumnavigator to the average Volvo or Vendee Globe racer. Unfair? How about the average “blue water cruiser” with the average TransPac, Translant, or Bermuda racer. Get my drift? How many times have you heard the words “lazy” and “cruiser” in the same sentence? How many times have “lazy” and “racer” appeared?

You got to free your mind of your misconceptions of racers, Smack. John Candy’s “Summer Rental” is just a movie and not a documentary. Racing compresses everything a cruiser does into a short period of time. How many times do you tack in an afternoon, how many gybes? Tacking twenty or more times on a single windward leg will hone your skills pretty fast. Try figuring out the fastest (and most efficient) way to get someplace when they tell you the destination (course) only five minutes before you start. Cruisers caught on a lee shore motor – racers sail off. You think sailing in small craft warnings is tough? Try doing that only twenty feet away from another boat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all cruisers are poor sailors. What I am saying is the crucible of racing will put you on a faster track to becoming a better sailor.

O.K., Freya is mostly retired from racing and Mrs B. characterizes us as “fast cruisers” to differentiate us from all of the “slow cruisers” out there. The principals of sailing and trim apply equally to both racers and cruisers. It’s just that the racers (and "retired" racers) tend to apply these principals all of the time and not just when they’re racing.

“Now Grasshopper, try to snatch this pebble from my hand…”
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