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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Learning curve
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-30-2006 11:32 PM
hellosailor John-
"Sometimes you're just too tired to feel like fixing anything after a long day."
How do you feel about Snickers bars? Oddly enough, they're a fairly well balanced food, comparable to a lot of the "energy bars". Very shelf stable. And a funny thing, whenever I bring a bag aboard for deck watches...they disappear. Much cheaper by the box in Costco & the other big box stores, too.
11-30-2006 03:30 PM
PBzeer Yes, I'm singlehanding. Wouldn't mind some company, but the one I thought might be, didn't work out. Aside from that, I'm picky, and used to being alone and not having to adjust to another person. If I go across the Gulf this spring though, I will pick up one or two crew for the trip.

I got back into sailing 5 years ago singlehanding, and have been doing it since, so for most things, I've developed routines. Unfortunately, they are mostly daysailing ones and didn't work as well in cruising mode when things got dicey. I did though find myself making adjustments as I went along. The biggest help would be with food. Sometimes you're just too tired to feel like fixing anything after a long day. And, that's not good.
11-30-2006 02:13 PM
sailortjk1 PBzeer,
I've been following along, reading your blogs and this thread. Its all very informative and very interesting reading.

I have one question.

It sounds as if you are single handed, is there a reason for this?

I am much more at ease when doing a long cruise if I have at least one more hand on board. They don't have to be very knowledgeable, just someone that can help. Help with prepparing meals, potty breaks, steering(if possible), docking, anchoring, etc.......
11-30-2006 01:40 PM
hellosailor "underestimated offshore conditions"
There are some underused web pages where you can actually read live conditions from the NOAA offshore weather bouys. Sometimes, a bouy is offline (broken) for months on end, but often, you can actually get the data and sometimes video feed on live conditions.
Beats all heck out of listening to the weatherguessers.

You can also download historical data archived from the bouys, which is handy if you're trying to plan ahead and see what the "usual" or "worst" wx for a particular area has been in recent years. Doesn't mean that's what you'll experience, but at least it gives you an idea of what's possible or probable.
11-30-2006 01:16 PM
Parley John, just checked in on this and your blog. Great blog, by the way. In my opinion you have demonstrated prudent seamanship. I completely agree with Faster's comments above. KUDOS TO YOU!!
11-30-2006 01:12 PM
TrueBlue I'm sure many here have underestimated offshore conditions before leaving the marina, protected bay, or harbor. I know I have and regretted it later.

Prior to leaving the marina last June for a non-stop 60 nm leg to Edgartown, a tropical front predicted 5-8 ft seas offshore - but diminishing within the next couple of days. Not wanting to cut our mooring reservations short and doubting NOAA's accuracy, I decided to leave as planned.

It wasn't too bad for the first 20 miles, but once we reached the Sound, we were faced with 8 foot seas off our starboard beam, with some 10 foot challenges, certainly a most unpleasant sail for my wife. In hindsight, I should have waited a day.
11-30-2006 01:07 PM
FrankLanger Thanks, John. I think one of the challenges whenever leaving the dock is to decide "when good enough is good enough" because any used boat always has more projects and checking to be done. At some point, one has to feel that the important things have been done, and it's now reasonable to leave--I suspect that point depends on lots of factors, making it a tough decision.
Frank.
11-30-2006 12:50 PM
PBzeer One very simple thing to add, and in a way this was my original sin, don't let yourself get so carried away with departure, that you forget to follow through on all the things you know you should do.....and have done, before leaving.

If you have to delay another day or two, or even a week, don't be so wedded to leaving at a certain date and time, that you set things aside "till later".
11-30-2006 11:44 AM
FrankLanger Thanks for the original post, and all the helpful replies. However, without any implied criticism or second-guessing, and knowing how complex this is, can we learn more from this for those of us with less experience in these conditions? For example, can those of you with more experience, provide a list of suggestions for how to minimize the likelihood of problems arising, sort of like a checklist that one could review periodically as a reminder of what to do/not do. I know a list can't cover everything, but it may be helpful nonetheless. Things I have in mind are:

1) Make sure you have checked all systems on the boat, replaced/upgraded any questionable parts, and everything is working smoothly before departure.
2) Have spares, as many as reasonable, for parts most likely to fail.
3) Familiarize yourself as much as possible with how each system works, and how to fix it to the extent your abilities permit.
4) Imagine various emergencies that could arise, and think through how you would deal with them; make any adjustments in equipment, etc. that would make dealing with these a bit easier.
5) Try for redundancy where possible, so that if something fails, there is a back-up (most of us do this with having two or three anchors on board, but there are other areas where this could also be helpful).
6) Have as much information available as possible--gps, charts, cruising guides, repair books, etc.
7) Check weather before departure and frequently while underway.
9) Organize the boat so that things you need quickly are readily at hand.
10) File a plan with the right people, and update as appropriate.
11) Try to anticipate problems underway before they become a crisis--equipment not sounding/working quite right, navigation challenges, approaching ships, etc.--ie. think ahead and be proactive.
12) Don't take any unnecessary risks--eg. stay out of the water.
13) Take care of yourself--get enough rest, eat well, take time to relax/enjoy, etc.

OK, I've run out for now. If this is helpful, maybe others could add their collective wisdom.

Frank.
11-29-2006 08:40 PM
Faster Very well written blog, John. There's a new thread trying to define "good seamanship". Your experiences and decisions show that good seamanship is not necessarily a function of experience or time. You made the right decisions for the right reasons at the right time, exhibiting, in my opinion, perfectly good seamanship. Kudos to you.

Cardiac Paul posted a story a few weeks ago about a boat heading for Hawaii when a crewman became violently, dangerously ill. Why they continued on for another day and a half is completely beyond me - they put the poor man in greater jeopardy, and put greater strain on the Coast Guard's efforts to ultimately (successfully) rescue them.

Good call! I'm sure the next effort will reward you.
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