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  #431  
Old 12-08-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
the points I've continually made it would be this:

1. Don't do a trip this big, especially in the fall, until you have much more experience than a single off-shore passage - and have dealt with rough conditions.
2. You should, at the least, adhere to an accepted standard like the ISAF regs in prepping and equipping your boat for offshore sailing.
3. The nature of rallies can increase risk due to herd mentality, scheduling, etc. - especially for less experienced sailors. This can cause very real problems.
4. You should not participate in rallies that don't acknowledge these things and/or don't think they are important - at least not until you have a great deal of experience.

I'm having a hard time seeing where this is such an inappropriate view of things.
Well, I am more comfortable with advice than rules (I guess that's progress). My thoughts on the above "advice":

1. I think that is unrealistic. I'd be curious how many cruisers met anything like that standard before they went. I think those who are going to go -- go. I have seen people who were way underprepared skate through seemingly treacherous trips and others who hold themselves out as experts get themselves in a boatload of trouble. If you're going to go - take it seriously. What you don't know you'll learn, what will be will be . . ..

2. I think it is worthwhile to review some of the racing and rally boat checklists but you also need to know that no boat is ever ready and if you want to go sometimes you have to go. You need to get yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness.

3. It is definitely worthwhile for people who might be inclined to join rallys to be aware of both the benefits and potential downsides. Nothing about the rally would seem to make the trip inherently safer and it could create a false sense of security. If that is recognized and accounted for, the rally structure and support might be a real benefit for some (weather, coms etc).

4. I don't really understand this one. You shouldn't make a passage you wouldn't otherwise make simply because a rally is going. I think rallies potentially offer some real benefits to people with less experience.

.02
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  #432  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by christian.hess View Post
this thread is well lost...

who ever wants to go cruising and wants to outfit their damn boat isnt going to go looking at isaf page on outfitting a boat if there even was one

...
Actually, I did. (Did that sound like the Gerber baby college fund commercial??)

I looked at one of the Bermuda race requirements for participating boats when I first thought about taking a boat offshore. It was a place to start.

I don't think it's a terrible idea.

(Now I'm backing up in the thread to see what I missed.)
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  #433  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

sorry got harsh there...BUT I think we should be more responsible and not lay blame on any rally, government, coast guard, other cruisers, etc...

basically I have an issue with people getting all into details into what a rally has to offer or not and what they are responsible for vs. what a skipper and boatowner should be thats all...

like many sports where there is the important factor of equipment...

"its not the boat, its the skipper"

or "its not the bike its the rider"

thats what I was trying to emphasize...

peace
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  #434  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
Well, I am more comfortable with advice than rules (I guess that's progress). My thoughts on the above "advice":

1. I think that is unrealistic. I'd be curious how many cruisers met anything like that standard before they went. I think those who are going to go -- go. I have seen people who were way underprepared skate through seemingly treacherous trips and others who hold themselves out as experts get themselves in a boatload of trouble. If you're going to go - take it seriously. What you don't know you'll learn, what will be will be . . ..

2. I think it is worthwhile to review some of the racing and rally boat checklists but you also need to know that no boat is ever ready and if you want to go sometimes you have to go. You need to get yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness.

3. It is definitely worthwhile for people who might be inclined to join rallys to be aware of both the benefits and potential downsides. Nothing about the rally would seem to make the trip inherently safer and it could create a false sense of security. If that is recognized and accounted for, the rally structure and support might be a real benefit for some (weather, coms etc).

4. I don't really understand this one. You shouldn't make a passage you wouldn't otherwise make simply because a rally is going. I think rallies potentially offer some real benefits to people with less experience.

.02
This is what's so strange - and telling - about this debate. It just seems a little psychotic. Here's what I mean...

If a newb came on SN saying "I don't have much off-shore experience, but I'm planning to leave from Newport and head down to the BVIs in November, what should I think about here?"

Would you really say...

"If you're going to go - take it seriously. What you don't know you'll learn, what will be will be . . .."

You very well might. But judging by past threads like this, I can virtually guarantee that this wouldn't be the prevailing sentiment or advice from the experienced sailors here.

I think a major issue here might be the sharply contrasting view of less experienced sailors to that of more experienced sailors. Us less experienced sailors that want to do offshore runs have no idea what "get[ting] yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness" actually means. Yet we understand that we "are going to go" and we will "take it seriously". But really, those are just platitudes. What do we actually need to do?

For the newer sailor, it's that space between preparing to go and going that needs specific guidance. That's why the ISAF regs are, to me, a great guide for how to prep and equip my boat for offshore sailing. This is VERY SPECIFIC information gleaned from the best sailors in the world. And I can have it now instead of guessing for years. I'm taking advantage of that...ticking one very important part of the equation off my list. (And yes, I fully understand that this is the boat - not the crew. I and my crew need to gain experience ourselves...which we are.)

The other alternative for the less experienced sailor, apart from going out and guessing, is directly learning from those more experienced - like in a rally setting. As you say, "I think rallies potentially offer some real benefits to people with less experience."

But why then are the most experienced sailors around here (and elsewhere) so set against being in these rallies themselves? Does this mean that maybe these rallies aren't the best place to learn those lessons required for being a self-sufficient skipper? And if this is true, AND if the experience bar for entry is low, is this a recipe for problems?

If a rally is supposed to be for the benefit of those with less experience, then make it so with good, clear guidelines and assistance. What a great learning experience!

However, if a rally is supposed to be for "seasoned sailors", then stick to that with a higher bar for entry.

It's the mixing of these two things, expectations of the experienced with allowance/encouragement of the inexperienced, that causes the problems.
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  #435  
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Smile Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
This is what's so strange - and telling - about this debate. It just seems a little psychotic. Here's what I mean...

If a newb came on SN saying "I don't have much off-shore experience, but I'm planning to leave from Newport and head down to the BVIs in November, what should I think about here?"

Would you really say...

"If you're going to go - take it seriously. What you don't know you'll learn, what will be will be . . .."

You very well might. But judging by past threads like this, I can virtually guarantee that this wouldn't be the prevailing sentiment or advice.

I think a major issue here might be the sharply contrasting view of less experienced sailors to that of more experienced sailors. Us less experienced sailors that want to do offshore runs have no idea what "get[ting] yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness" actually means. Yet we understand that we "are going to go" and we will "take it seriously". But really, those are just platitudes. What do we actually need to do?

For the newer sailor, it's that space between preparing to go and going that needs specific guidance. That's why the ISAF regs are, to me, a great guide for how to prep and equip my boat for offshore sailing. This is VERY SPECIFIC information gleaned from the best sailors in the world. And I can have it now instead of guessing for years. I'm taking advantage of that...ticking one very important part of the equation off my list. (And yes, I fully understand that this is the boat - not the crew. I and my crew need to gain experience ourselves...which we are.)

The other alternative for the less experienced sailor, apart from going out and guessing, is directly learning from those more experienced - like in a rally setting. As you say, "I think rallies potentially offer some real benefits to people with less experience."

But why then are the most experienced sailors around here (and elsewhere) so set against being in these rallies themselves? Does this mean that maybe these rallies aren't the best place to learn those lessons required for being a self-sufficient skipper? And if this is true, AND if the experience bar for entry is low, is this a recipe for problems?

If a rally is supposed to be for the benefit of those with less experience, then make it so with good, clear guidelines and assistance. What a great learning experience!

However, if a rally is supposed to be for "seasoned sailors", then stick to that with a higher bar for entry.

It's the mixing of these two things, expectations of the experienced with allowance/encouragement of the inexperienced, that causes the problems.
I dunno Smacky. I think in post 402 I tried to say that I thought the discussion about these passages would be more valuable if it focused on things that aspiring offshore sailors should be focused on (that's what I meant by "take it seriously" -- learn what you need to know as best you can recognizing that none of us ever really know what we don't know).

Since then, I think the discussion of jump off points has been pretty insightful. There are certainly other related topics that could be discussed with value (three examples might be: understanding the 2 different likely wx threats -- late season TS's and winter storms; what offshore sailors view as "ready"; and the psychological challenges of decision making offshore) . But as you said, that's "me". I am at the point in this endeavor where I am interested in info that fills in the more subtle distinctions. For instance SVA walked me through the pilot charts before we did our 2011 trip and that was fantastic. But AFTER the trip, I had a much better understanding of what they meant. There is certainly a place for preparation and risk management but I don't think that defines the endeavor of offshore sailing.

And yeah, the forums are nothing if not psychotic bro

Peace.
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  #436  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

I've never sailed in a rally. I sail in the Chesapeake. I've only kissed the Gulf Stream and the weather was such that for four of the five days the current and engine moved the boat more than the wind. I did, however, just read these 435-odd messages and my head hurts almost as much as the day I was sick on the Stream.

As a new sailor, what I hope other new sailors don't miss in this overwhelming discussion are the messages from all of you who said to take responsibility for your own boat and your own decision making. I don't consider deciding to do what the boat next to me is doing without being fully informed myself a responsible decision. It's my opinion (not advice, but my personal rule) that I want to know as much as I can so that in the end whatever decision I make about my boat is mine based on all of the information available to me from as many sources as I can garner.

That's it. Back to your discussion. Keep it nice.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Look you and Jon know these people personally. So an objective viewpoint is NOT going to be your strong suit here. And that's cool, but at least be real about it.
Let me be clear, I would not classify Bill and Linda Knowles as 'friends' of mine. They might remember me in person, I seriously doubt they would recognize my name. I first met them about 3 years ago at Bluewater Yachting Center on a delivery north, they had just come in from the BVIs. They invited me aboard for a drink, they were just beginning to think about putting together an alternative to the 1500 at that time...

I ran into them again at Bluewater in Nov 2011, when I was there at the same time as the 1500 and SD fleets, with a boat going to Antigua, independent of either rally... We were all waiting for TS Sean to make its mind, and I probably chatted with them a few times in passing on the docks... That's it...

They're very nice, laid back folks, and obviously very capable sailors... Their motives in forming the SDR seem entirely pure, to me, in line with Bill's longstanding service to the Herreschoff Museum in Bristol, RI, where they spend the summer... I definitely got the impression much of the work he performed was of a voluntary nature...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Remember, Jon stated that Morganscloud's take was "spot on". How does Ausp feel about that?
However, that doesn't mean I absolutely agree with every single thought Harries has expressed... I've already suggested that I believe he may have understated the severity of the conditions at least some of the SDR fleet may have encountered...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Furthermore, Jon and Ausp disagree with each other in the posts above. So is this disagreement "inappropriate"? One is obviously biased toward one departure point for very good reasons - the other is the opposite. If, in fact, they are both giving "advice" (instead of stating opinion) - which is right and which is wrong?
Actually, I would categorize what I wrote re the various departure points for this passage as being closer to 'opinion', than 'advice'... At any rate, there seems to be very little distinction between the two, whenever expressed in a forum such as this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
3. The nature of rallies can increase risk due to herd mentality, scheduling, etc. - especially for less experienced sailors. This can cause very real problems.
4. You should not participate in rallies that don't acknowledge these things and/or don't think they are important ...
Hmmm, can you point to a rally that actually does publicly "acknowledge... the nature of rallies can increase risk due to herd mentality..."? I've never noticed that sort of disclaimer on the 1500's website, for example :-)

Hell, I would suggest that the Salty Dawg - with their lack of a fixed departure date, and their stated emphasis on the responsibility for decision making being placed on each individual skipper - actually comes closer to making such an 'admission', than any other... :-)
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
They're very nice, laid back folks, and obviously very capable sailors... Their motives in forming the SDR seem entirely pure, to me, in line with Bill's longstanding service to the Herreschoff Museum in Bristol, RI, where they spend the summer... I definitely got the impression much of the work he performed was of a voluntary nature...
I have said nothing against those people. I've just questioned the way in which they've set up their rally - in light of the circumstances of these rescues. They are, in fact, doing the exact same thing (upcoming review board). So, it's all good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
However, that doesn't mean I absolutely agree with every single thought Harries has expressed... I've already suggested that I believe he may have understated the severity of the conditions at least some of the SDR fleet may have encountered...

Actually, I would categorize what I wrote re the various departure points for this passage as being closer to 'opinion', than 'advice'...
I know. My point is that your disagreement is okay - mine, according to Ausp, is not. That's kind of goofy. Maybe it comes down to how one sees one's own opinion.

Anyway, you're good about debating without getting bent. So, no worries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Hmmm, can you point to a rally that actually does publicly "acknowledge... the nature of rallies can increase risk due to herd mentality..."? I've never noticed that sort of disclaimer on the 1500's website, for example :-)

Hell, I would suggest that the Salty Dawg - with their lack of a fixed departure date, and their stated emphasis on the responsibility for decision making being placed on each individual skipper - actually comes closer to making such an 'admission', than any other... :-)
I don't know of a rally that acknowledges this herd risk. I just think it's a pretty obvious issue that people even in this thread denied was there. In any event, I likely will never do a rally. Not my thing at all.

As for the SDR, I think it goes back to your earlier statement about why it was founded - for those who had done the 1500 previously and weren't getting the bang for the buck. If the SDR limited entry to those who'd done the run previously (i.e. - had that level of experience), I wouldn't be talking about it.
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  #439  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Pretty good guidance here (from the ISAF regs):

Quote:
1.02.1 The safety of a yacht and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the person in charge who must do his best to ensure that the yacht is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and are physically fit to face bad weather. He must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used. He shall also nominate a person to take over the responsibilities of the Person in Charge in the event of his incapacitation.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post

If a newb came on SN saying "I don't have much off-shore experience, but I'm planning to leave from Newport and head down to the BVIs in November, what should I think about here?"

Would you really say...
Well, here's what I would say:

Don't do it... A newbie without much offshore experience has no business sailing his own boat from Newport direct to the Caribbean in November...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I think a major issue here might be the sharply contrasting view of less experienced sailors to that of more experienced sailors. Us less experienced sailors that want to do offshore runs have no idea what "get[ting] yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness" actually means. Yet we understand that we "are going to go" and we will "take it seriously". But really, those are just platitudes. What do we actually need to do?
Well, to use your own words, you need to "get an idea what "get[ting] yourself to a place where you are comfortable with your level of prep and readiness" actually means." In this regard, rallies actually can serve some purpose - by affording the opportunity to gain offshore experience, by sailing as crew, on someone else's boat...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
The other alternative for the less experienced sailor, apart from going out and guessing, is directly learning from those more experienced - like in a rally setting. As you say, "I think rallies potentially offer some real benefits to people with less experience."
You're right... By sailing with someone more experienced, aboard their boat... It's a delusion to think someone is gonna learn anything from other more experienced sailors in the fleet, once boats have left the dock...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
But why then are the most experienced sailors around here (and elsewhere) so set against being in these rallies themselves? Does this mean that maybe these rallies aren't the best place to learn those lessons required for being a self-sufficient skipper? And if this is true, AND if the experience bar for entry is low, is this a recipe for problems?

If a rally is supposed to be for the benefit of those with less experience, then make it so with good, clear guidelines and assistance. What a great learning experience!

However, if a rally is supposed to be for "seasoned sailors", then stick to that with a higher bar for entry.

It's the mixing of these two things, expectations of the experienced with allowance/encouragement of the inexperienced, that causes the problems.
Well, that's the rub, of course... I have a real problem with the notion that these rallies can realistically be run "for the benefit of those with less experience". It's an absurd notion, that the sea might make 'concessions' for newbies. It's been stated earlier, and I believe you voiced agreement, that unless one has the confidence, skills, boat, and crew to undertake such a passage entirely on their own, they have no business making the trip, period...

Of course, many newbs don't want to hear this, of course... "I just bought a brand new Bluewater Beemer with a Joystick Docking option, why can't I sail straight to Paradise NOW?" This takes us to another elephant in the room, something I alluded to earlier, the rush to accelerate the learning curve today, and the dismissal of the notion of any sort of Offshore Sailing Apprenticeship...

John Harries writes elsewhere about this issue, how he sailed tens of thousands of miles, numerous passages to and from Bermuda, on OPBs before ever undertaking such a passage as skipper... Of course, the opportunity I've had to run OPB's boats is pretty unique, but I crewed on races to Mackinac, Mazatlan, Halifax, Jamaica, Bermuda, and probably racked up 100K miles delivering other people's boats, before I ever owned a boat capable of being sailed offshore, of my own... However, such a notion of apprenticeship, learning by taking comparative 'baby steps' offshore, is hopelessly old-fashioned these days, and only serves to have us 'old-timers' who continue to promote its value, branded as a dreaded "Elitist"...:-) How dare we suggest the need for such a protracted learning process, and that experience today cannot be gained instantaneously, without all that introductory stuff? We've already eliminated the need to learn the most difficult chore, and the element that heretofore has prevented newbs from venturing offshore - namely, how to navigate - after all...

Surely, in today's world, there must be an app for this, no? :-)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 12-08-2013 at 11:59 PM.
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