The challenge of experience - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 39 Old 12-13-2011
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but to call it a challenge it has to have some element of danger.
I question this comment - a challenge doesn't have to involve danger, it need only involve pushing the envelope of your experience. In fact, I would suggest that if danger is involved, you're pushing a bit too far....incremental keeps the enjoyment in it while adding the spice of challenge, without putting yourself and your boat at risk.
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post #12 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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I think you are very astute. Experience is not the same one repeated over and over.

I guess you have to decide if you want to put yourself outside your comfort zone, then plot and plan and then set a date and go for it. We are in Moreton Bay and there are a few old friends who have seen some of our photos and want to head up the coast. One of these friends has been sailing the Bay for 30yrs, but never out of it and it represents a mental barrier for him. He has the boat and the gear and would be fine - over prepared. So he will sail to Mooloolaba, then to the Wide Bay in tandem with me. After that I will head home after a week or so in the beautiful Tin Can and Hervey Bays.

With yachting, there is usually someone who has genuinely done what you want before and if you can tag along, it reduces any stress, but you are doing it yourself so gaining the required experience.

You can be within vhf distance, even if you are over the horizon.

I am planning a trip to New Caladonia and Vanuatu and may go about the same time as one of the rally's (exactly for the same reasons] - all the benefits without the committments

I think the comments about a need for an element of danger is wrong. Danger is somewhere between real and imaginary. Being outside your comfort zone does not necessarily mean dangerous.

Anyway, its a decision where we sail to and planning and prep reduce possible dramas.


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Last edited by St Anna; 12-14-2011 at 04:14 AM.
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post #13 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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David, sailing has enough of its own inbuilt dangers that you don't need to go looking for them. For example on our last coastal passage (70nm) we were promised sub 20knots and a beam reach, instead we got plus 30 hard on the nose. I probably wouldn't have gone out had I known but it wasn't all that bad really, just a tadge uncomfortable.

So although we didn't go looking for it and the trouble was middling rather than really ugly we learned much about us and our boat. Enough to know that we can cope with mid 30s. Of course its also to do with sea state. While we had Force 6 into 7, because the wind was blowing off the land and we never more than around ten nms offshore the sea were not as big as they might have been.

I guess one also learns to read up on local conditions when you leave your home waters. Couple of years back I failed to do so only to run into a common local gale with rain so heavy visibility was only a boat length or so and I had to wear glasses in order to just keep my eyes open. Had I done my homework and given that quite small area a bit more of an offing we would have missed this freakish event altogether or at least bypassed the worst of it.

One thing I do think I know is that while I have far less experience than many here the more I get the better I feel about heading out.

Andrew B

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post #14 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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A good way to gain more experience is to take at least a week long vacation aboard the boat with a distant destination - say 200 miles or more away. You will gain valuable experience sailing in different waters and learn about living aboard the boat for an extended period of time. If you regularly use your boat in more protected waters like the Chesapeake Bay or LI sound, this longer trip could also involve a coastal hop, where you gain valuable experience sailing in the ocean farther away from land.
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post #15 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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I think that the common theme that is running here is to do something that you haven't done before. That's the definition of leaving the comfort zone. I also agree that an element of danger does not have to be involved. But to be truthful, psychologically, the perceived possibility of danger, of the unknown is what makes us feel uncomfortable. Reality is another thing.

Regarding racing, one does not have to be hard-core-kevlar to race. Nor do they have to own a Volvo 70 to do it. Local races do an enormous amount to identify deficiencies. I found that while I thought I was a good sailor and knew sail trim, the reality was different. Coming across another boat on the same tack during a daysail does not constitute racing, nor should one gauge one's ability by beating a boat that may or may not have been engaged!
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post #16 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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Press for new adventures. Try to avoid drama. If you are out there long enough, it will find you.
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post #17 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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And I want to make myself clear. If someone wants to enjoy their boat in some particular way I'm not in any way belittling their choice. It's just a boat and hobby and what ever makes a person happy is what counts.
It is just that years and decades of experience don't necessarily translate when the venue changes.

I remember an experienced delivery captain who turned down a job. I believe it was a long east cost delivery run, something like Florida to Maine.
The owner was a very experienced coastal sailor and wanted to move his boat staying close to shore figuring it was safer. The delivery captain wanted to take a route that gave him more sea room.
The owner tried it himself and lost his boat. Thankfully was rescued. His skills and judgement and or stamina weren't quite enough for that particular trip despite years of experience.
I think the old term, coined by merchant ships in the heyday of sailing, for staying close to shore is "coasting," jumping from inlet to inlet up or down the East Coast. The objective is to stay inside the Gulf Stream. It's why the shoreline is littered with sailing ships, especially around the Outer Banks. Even most class A inlets like Ft. Pierce are wicked dangerous, constantly shoaling or just unnavigable with any kind of sea running. I vote for the idea of maintaining enough sea room to ride out a nor'easter hove-to (or stay in the ICW).

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post #18 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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My wife and I keep talking about heading out to Neah Bay one of these summers (instead of Desolation Sound which is our usual trip) and sailing a couple days towards Hawaii and then turning around and sailing back. We keep putting it off though, but I'd like for her to experience it before we put too much more money into the boat for our planned full time cruising retirement.
You might also try a trip to Barkley Sound. That will get you into some of the bigger conditions, but also will provide you with a great destination.

Then try going out to Cobb Seamount. 46 43.6 N 130 51.1 W It is 13 fathoms deep (your depth sounder will tell you it is there) and there is a ODAS buoy nearby. I have not done this myself, but some use this as a destination on courses.

I get a lot of students on my Around Vancouver Island courses who want to get some experience of the Pacific. We do a long sail from Winter Harbour to Hot Springs Cove via the South Brooks ODAS buoy.

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post #19 of 39 Old 12-14-2011
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David,

Our boat is really close to NYC now, in Port Washington. However, the thought of going through Hells Gate without experienced crew is a bit daunting. (That and making sure I get the tides right.)

When/if the time comes, I plan to call you and Caleb (and maybe put out a general call on SN and AS).

Regards,
Brad

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post #20 of 39 Old 12-14-2011 Thread Starter
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David,

Our boat is really close to NYC now, in Port Washington. However, the thought of going through Hells Gate without experienced crew is a bit daunting. (That and making sure I get the tides right.)

When/if the time comes, I plan to call you and Caleb (and maybe put out a general call on SN and AS).

Regards,
Brad
I got caught once just past the Tappan Zee and that was disconcerting because it is so narrow and the visibility was about zero, and I knew there was a ship coming my way.
Hell Gate I've done several times and even at max current (going my way) it was a non-event. This was all with little 10HP boats so your big powerful boat will sail through so nicely I'll bet you wouldn't even look up from your viewfinder.

I'll steer you take pictures.
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