Join Date: Jun 2006
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You have an interesting point.
While there are certainly daredevil types in sailing, and corner-cutters in the subset of sailboat racing, prudence more often than not seems to prevail among the sailboat set, frequently I think because sailboat folk tend toward a DIY mentality, and are inherently more in tune with natural forces like wind and waves that more often than not are pushing the boat around.
As opposed to power boating (and I mean no insult here), sailboaters are obliged by the very nature of the game to develop patience, anticipatory and observational skills in order to exploit whatever conditions (and they can be dynamic in the extreme) that are presented to them. Thus, there is an interplay of passivity and activity you aren't always going to get when the answer is usually "apply more throttle". Powerboating tends toward the "go or don't go" solution set, whereas sailing, due to duration and the need to cover a longer term of time, is more like a puzzle with many possible solutions, only a few of which will kill you.
Nonetheless, no human activity is idiot-proof, and ample evidence of that is washed up on shore every year. Generally, however, if you get 20 sailors in a room, there will usually be a consensus that prudence and sometimes deep planning are essential to not only enjoying the sport, but surviving it.
Even at the "daredevil" end, like Vendee Globe sailors, the risks of going into the Southern Ocean in a featherweight sled are balanced against vast amounts of preparation, mental and physical training, and contingency analysis. Yes, these sailors frequently get into trouble, but they just as frequently get out of trouble, due to great preparedness and level-headedness.
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