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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #21  
Old 02-12-2009
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Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
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.
Absolutely agree. The safety preparations that go into even a high-risk activity like Vendee or the Volvo Ocean Race are phenomenal. Those of us who are big enough sailing nerds* to discuss safety and seamanship on sailnet probably realize that these are some of (if not the most) carefully engineered and tested boats in the world manned by some of the most fit, best-trained crews to ever take to the water.

More casual sailors and non-sailors probably lack that awareness, however, and as such are more likely to fail to understand the difference between themselves and the pro's/experts, including the fact that the best heavy weather situation is the one you avoid sailing in.

Now I'll also confess to liking a good BFS at least as much as the next guy, but I also realize that when it comes to heavy weather sailing, there's often both a fine and indistinct line between "learning experience" and "tragedy" and there's a direct relationship between inability to avoid the dangerous situation and inability to deal with the situation once they're in it.

Even those seemingly high risk tolerance, andreneline-junkie sailors out there have a cautious risk managing side, you just don't see it in the videos of green water breaking over the bow while electric guitars blaze on the soundtrack.

* not meant at all pejoratively--it's (IMHO) the American equivalent of "Otaku."
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  #22  
Old 02-12-2009
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I gotta say - you guys are nailing what BFS is all about in my opinion. The more I learn about big weather sailing, the more I realize its dangers and challenges. No doubt about that at all. It's pretty sobering stuff.

At the same time, it does not diminish my DESIRE to go for Big Freakin' Sails like your run of the mill adrenaline-junkie sailor. It is, after all, the adventuresome side of sailing that drew many of us to the craft in the first place.

It just means that, like in any activity with a high degree of inherent danger, you have learn, prepare, and plan as much as you possibly can before lighting the fuse - AND avoid that particular "thing" that will do you in. I'd say that's what we're all trying to do hanging' out around here.

It's always a balance. And always a gamble. But it's ALWAYS freakin' awesome.

PS - That's why I like to crank up "Flight of the Valkyries" when the wind hits 35 knots. Okay, being in a freakin' lake, I still haven't seen green water - and am sure I'll wet myself the first time I do. But hey, whaddayagonnado?

Last edited by smackdaddy; 02-12-2009 at 04:48 PM.
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  #23  
Old 02-12-2009
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I gotta say - you guys are nailing what BFS is all about in my opinion. The more I learn about big weather sailing, the more I realize its dangers and challenges. No doubt about that at all. It's pretty sobering stuff.
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At the same time, it does not diminish my DESIRE to go for Big Freakin' Sails like your run of the mill adrenaline-junkie sailor. It is, after all, the adventuresome side of sailing that drew many of us to the craft in the first place.
I like both . There's something to be said for 10kts, flat seas "won't spill your beer off the rail" sailing just like BFS's. Many people can't imagine an activity you can do both for adventure and to relax, though. Just show what they're missing in my book.

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It just means that, like in any activity with a high degree of inherent danger, you have learn, prepare, and plan as much as you possibly can before lighting the fuse - AND avoid that particular "thing" that will do you in. I'd say that's what we're all trying to do around here.
Yup. And being mentally prepared, both to make the correct strategic decisions to avoid trouble as well as tactically how we stay calm and handle the dangers when they do arise.

I was reading a huge (>100) list of accounts of MOB incidents a couple of days ago and it cites several instances where the still-aboard crew panicked, froze up, or had no idea what the correct thing to do was, losing critical time and frequently costing a life.

I've lived with myself through a lot of difficult things, but I don't know if costing someone their life when I could have been prepared and wasn't would be one of them.

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Okay, being in a freakin' lake, I still haven't seen green water - and am sure I'll wet myself the first time I do. But hey, whaddayagonnado?
So Green Water == Yellow Water?

At least the yellow water will be warm.
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  #24  
Old 02-12-2009
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From what I understand, three of the crew, the ones that didn't make it, had chemical dependencies that doomed them from the moment of shipwreck. One was quoted as saying, "I'll be right back, I'm just gonna run out and get some beer and smokes". The three that were lost became shark food.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Originally Posted by chandlerman View Post
Even those seemingly high risk tolerance, andreneline-junkie sailors out there have a cautious risk managing side, you just don't see it in the videos of green water breaking over the bow while electric guitars blaze on the soundtrack.
Hey, was I playing the AC/DC too loud the last time that front came through?

Chandlerman, is your boat's hull cored or solid? Just trying to settle something in another thread.
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Old 02-12-2009
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
It just means that, like in any activity with a high degree of inherent danger, you have learn, prepare, and plan as much as you possibly can before lighting the fuse - AND avoid that particular "thing" that will do you in. I'd say that's what we're all trying to do hanging' out around here.
I would say that the more you do it, the less dangerous it gets, just like crossing the road. Doesn't mean you won't get killed some day, but the things that help you avoid it (look both ways, don't skip on the ice, stop reading that book at the train crossing) become almost automatic. Like taking a bearing on miserable rolling cloud on the horizon, and taking another bearing five minutes later...OH, SH*T! Reef 'er down, boys!
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  #27  
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I'm more of a Blink-182 ("Man Overboard") and Reel Big Fish (My favorites are all unprintably titled) fan myself.

As to my hull, it's solid. The deck is balsa cored, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
I would say that the more you do it, the less dangerous it gets, just like crossing the road. Doesn't mean you won't get killed some day, but the things that help you avoid it (look both ways, don't skip on the ice, stop reading that book at the train crossing) become almost automatic. Like taking a bearing on miserable rolling cloud on the horizon, and taking another bearing five minutes later...OH, SH*T! Reef 'er down, boys!
Yup. My definition of what constitutes "exciting" has changed steadily over the years. Once upon a time, it was "Small Craft Warning." Then it was high winds or high waves. Now it's high winds AND high waves. Or the sight of someone else refinishing my teak.
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  #28  
Old 02-14-2009
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Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
Looks like they're jumping off a boat that floating pretty well into a raft! Not to mention that the fellow airborne is about to stress test the stitching on their survival vehicle? (g)
My theory, after enduring two Force 10 storms, is never leave a boat that's still afloat. Leave only when you have to step UP into the raft.
In heavy weather, no raft is safer then a boat that's still afloat. Look at how many folks have abandoned boats because they were scared or seasick, only to have the boats found later, with little or no damage.
I should also add, I don't know how you can fall off of a 30 foot wave, unless you get beam to and broach. Running before 30 foot seas just drives you well above calculated hull speed - in the March 08 storm, running before 30+ foot seas with no motor and no sails up, we were making 10mph per the gps.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 02-14-2009 at 01:34 PM.
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  #29  
Old 02-15-2009
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.............That's why I like to crank up "Flight of the Valkyries" when the wind hits 35 knots............
Bhamp-Ba-Da-BAA-Bhom!....Man after my own heart.

But I hear those french horns sometimes - you know, the ones they used in the making of "Victory At Sea"....Ba-Bhom-Bhom-Bu-Bum, Bum-Bum-BaBaBaBhom-Bhum....
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Old 02-15-2009
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[quote=smackdaddy;447390] That's why I like to crank up "Flight of the Valkyries" when the wind hits 35 knots.

Wagner is great up to about 40 knots or so. At 50 knots, the wind is shreiking so loud through the shrouds you can't hear the stereo - at 60 knots, you can barely hear yourself think - and maybe that's good.
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