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  Topic Review (Newest First)
3 Weeks Ago 09:44 AM
outbound
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Turning back to the OP. Yes situational awareness is key. But real awareness comes from experience not courses nor reading. Those things are good supplements but experience remains the best teacher. Example is the recent passage home.
Got all set for the 1500nm home. Had two crew. One very experienced and one with one prior passage. For the first time my wife was going to the passage home. The experienced crew was going to do the same passage on another boat them immediately jump on a plane fly down and sail with us. We delayed the scheduled leaving date to allow this to happen so was scheduled to leave 5 days after the SDR fleet.
That crew bailed citing illness. Now left with a newbie and my wife with one day before SDR were to leave. Scrambled around and found a delivery captain not otherwise occupied through one of my delevery captain friends but he was in Utah. Told him I'd captain and asked would he consent to be crew.
Ended up leaving two days behind the fleet. It was rapidly apparent newbie crew was excellent, delivery captain did not have current knowledge of common systems, adequate but not great on sail trim but excellent attitude. Radar went down so ended up calling a different captain friend on sat phone as one on my boat was not helpful. Fortunately got it up. Coming up for watch would find leach of either jib or main fluttering so needed to curtail sleep to attend to trim even when off watch. Had engine problems and chafe on some lines. Captain was excellent assistant but was on my own as to thinking it through.
Seeing all this from prior experience knew to judge the capabilities of the boat and crew with some accuracy. Listening to Chris Parker was told a huge trough was going to come through. Related weather would extend from Nova Scotia to Abacos. Associated t storms in Abacos could have 40kt. winds. Portion lying on our rhumb line to Newport could have 60kt winds. What to do?
Boat could handle the weather if required. Had storm sails and jsd if needed. But this was the first 1500nm passage for my wife and there were only two people on the boat with true storm not just gale or line squall experience.
So I bailed. Headed to Abacos slowly but not slowly enough. Then hove to for six, yes six, glorious days. Thinking was no need to be a hero or prove anything to anybody. Do what's safe although the other three were clamoring to get home.
Trip which normally gets ~1 1/2 weeks or less took 16 days. Never saw weather. Even flew full main and genny during the day.

In short if you put your ego aside and your judgment is tempered by experience under more skilled sailors and you do your preparation there is no reason to be afraid.
3 Weeks Ago 09:04 AM
outbound
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Been off sailing so haven't looked at this site in some time. Now back in the good old USA. Nice to see you're back Smackie so I have some one to set straight.
3 Weeks Ago 01:25 PM
smackdaddy
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnWare View Post
This makes sense to me. In almost any situation, an assumption of safety contributes to errors in judgment. If you're in a larger boat that requires more attention to detail to operate in conditions that feel more dangerous in waters where help may be less available, you're going to be on your toes. If you're in a small boat in protected waters, you're more likely to allow over-confidence to lull you into inattentiveness. It's true of cars, too. The more comfortable Americans have become driving, the higher the death rates.

I imagine situational awareness is at the root of both very safe and very unsafe sailing (and almost everything else).

We live in New Orleans, and when our teen walks anywhere, we give him specific things to report back on: How many people did you pass? How many stores were closed? etc. He thinks it's kind of Jason Bourne-fun, but it actually keeps him aware of his surroundings, which is just as important in a city as it is at sea.
Thanks for reply Autumn. I think you nailed it with the bold part.

We were through NO last summer on our boat. Absolutely love your city. And I have two teen boys as well. I think I'll get them Jason Bourne-ing a bit more. That said, they did an amazing job on the 2-1/2 day run from Panama City to Tampa...even in a pretty rough storm. I was very proud of those dudes.
03-22-2017 04:57 PM
MikeOReilly
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
...But having said this, after a lifetime of sailing, it's about the safest activity I do. Way safer than driving or bicycling, say.
This gets back to the original point of this thread. No matter how you measure it, sailing a keel boat is a very safe activity — much safer than many other activities we all routinely do like driving, bicycling or eating certain foods. This doesn’t mean anyone should be cavalier about the risks. Appropriate practices and safety equipment should always be used, but nor should we be “afraid.”
03-22-2017 04:36 PM
Tanski
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoGuy View Post
Maybe the Hunter owner just needs to relax with some peace, quiet, and privacy. Something about being on the water helps with that.
Since you know so much how much boat traffic on that bay?
03-22-2017 04:35 PM
TomMaine
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
I do know my personal greatest safety concerns when sailing, in no particular order are falling in the drink (while sailing, at dock or at anchor) and not being able to get back on board, a catastrophic loss of bouyancy (sinking) and a catastrophic loss of maneuverability which leads to a Cascade effect.
Those are mine, too. Alone or not, we usually tow our Nutshell tender(a beamy hard tender). I can get back into that when swimming, without swamping it, pretty easily(we test that now and then).

That doesn't work for most people(and I'm not advocating it), and under AP is useless, but it's another chance, maybe.

However, I sail in Maine and I often sail alone. If I go overboard - I figure I'm dead.

If I go overboard with a PFD not that far offshore, a little later, I'm dead too(water temperature).

Sinking is quite a bit down my list, but that's dead, too.

But having said this, after a lifetime of sailing, it's about the safest activity I do. Way safer than driving or bicycling, say.
03-22-2017 04:21 PM
ColoGuy
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Maybe the Hunter owner just needs to relax with some peace, quiet, and privacy. Something about being on the water helps with that.
03-22-2017 03:58 PM
Tanski
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

What constitutes a small boat? In my current marina and the yacht club in Toronto before that I'd say "small" 30' and under was the rule rather than the exception.
I've been sailing my entire life, 47 years for sure of 48, and the biggest boat I've owned is 25', smallest was an Opti dingy.
I know people in the Kawartha lakes (cottage country) that have never owned anything over 16' yet have 20, 30, 40 years of sailing experience. No point in owning anything bigger!
At my current marina the is one boat over 30' and thats a Hunter 38 I've never seen under sail, it's the guys first boat. Only owned it 2 years, this summer will be his 3rd. He can write the cheques for it but can't sail it as far as I know! Powers out to the middle of the bay and drops anchor for the weekend, powers back Sunday night.
03-22-2017 03:40 PM
Arcb
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
If I were to infer anything from the dataset I’d say the best correlation to injury/death is with boat speed. The dataset does have a field for education and experience. Maybe you can make something out of that. It’s not clear to me what it says.
.
I took a read, but it doesn't mean anything to me, especially the education part. I guess the numbers for experience seem to indicate moderately experienced people are at the greatest risk, while the least experienced and most experienced seem to be at the lowest risk.

I'm not really sure, I don't have much experience working with statistics.

I do know my personal greatest safety concerns when sailing, in no particular order are falling in the drink (while sailing, at dock or at anchor) and not being able to get back on board, a catastrophic loss of bouyancy (sinking) and a catastrophic loss of maneuverability which leads to a Cascade effect.
03-22-2017 02:56 PM
ColoGuy
Re: How "afraid" should we be of sailing?

Drowning is the killer. How many were wearing buoyancy gear and still drowned? How many were decent swimmers yet the storm was so bad that it didn't help much? How many were sober? How many were storm related?

I'll bet driving is far more dangerous. They ramped up interstate deaths in Colorado when they encouraged speeding in the left lane. You get the middle finger salute and maybe a slap on the brakes if doing anything less than 85mph. And the Highway Patrol can give you a ticket if are not using the left land for passing. So the right lane become a traffic jam while the left lane has high speed flyers with the law on their side these days.

High speed rollovers are often fatal. I'll bet that most drownings involve at least two out of four:
1) alcohol/drugs
2) no buoyancy gear
3) inadequate swimming ability
4) stormy weather

I'll bet that lifeguards don't drown very often unless they are in a rescue situation. Rescuing can be pretty dangerous in my experience.
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