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krisscross 09-10-2018 06:39 PM

Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
I was away from this forum for almost three months, during which I crewed on a 60' steel Bruce Roberts ketch heading to Panama Canal and parts beyond, from Moss Point, Mississippi. I could not post any updates because Either I forgot my password, or my iPad refused to connect. I'm home now using my old laptop which remembers my password to this site. :)

We (crew of 3) have spent almost month and a half preparing the boat for this trip. The boat was more like a floating condo. The builder/owner had sailed it only a couple of times in short day trips in some 10 years since the boat was completed. That did raise some red flags for me, but I was young and naive... OK, I was definitely naive...

I was told the boat was ready to sail and just waiting for the crew before I came on board. That was not really true. All the gear was old and some of it was in rough shape. There was a LOT of rust on the inside of the hull (I will NEVER buy a steel boat, likely not even take one for free, unless I plan on scrapping it for parts).

By the way, check out my Facebook profile Kris Sailor, for some pictures and more content, but I will continue to spin this yarn here as I have time.

krisscross 09-10-2018 06:59 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
When I signed up for this trip I knew the captain was not very experienced. I have talked to him several times, suspecting that the boat is not as ready for this trip as he thinks it is. There were a couple of delays in our coming on board date, as he still did not have new set of sails he ordered. I have sent him a pretty detailed list of things that I wanted him to address, from cleaning out fuel tanks (fuel was some 10 years old), professional rigging inspection, to provisioning. He thanked me for such a thorough list but pretty much disregarded it's content, as I have found out later.
When I got on the boat we worked on the rigging, water maker, AC system, repairing the old set of sails, cleaning out and painting various rusty spots inside the hull, stowing gear and supplies, and so on. When I was cleaning out the bilge, I had my first moment of serious doubt whether this boat is going to make it all the way to India. Bilge was plain scary. It was awfully rusty (3-4 inches of rust scale on the bottom) with crabs and midge maggots for extra fun. But once I cleaned it out and painted, it stayed dry. I banged on the steel plates to knock off the scale and there seemed to be quite a bit of steel left. So I stayed. I really wanted that trip to succeed.

krisscross 09-10-2018 07:33 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
When we finally left the home port, the first thing that broke down was our roller furler, holding a big 175% genoa. After several uses, when we were a couple days out into the Gulf of Mexico (we were heading for the Yucatan Channel) the mainstay pulled out of the turnbuckle. That was pretty scary, as the mast on that boat is almost 70' tall. Fortunately, it happened during a light wind day, under 12 knots. We managed to re-connect the mainstay at the turnbuckle, but each time we used the furler, the stay was turning in the turnbuckle, trying to come out. The furler was not assembled correctly, and the turning part was bottomed out on the turnbuckle. We were trying to figure out how to fix it without going back to US. That night we had a huge thunderstorm with torrential rain and we lost a good part of our navigation system, such as chart plotter, speed, and depth. I suspected electrical short as the nav station was poorly sealed. We made a decision to turn back and pull into Pensacola, Florida. Another thing became apparent: the boat was a total pig to keep on course. It tracked so poorly, if you lifted your cheek to fart, the boat would go 20 degrees of course. Did I mention we were pulling an 18' Hobie Cat behind us, captains favorite toy? That Cat was making steering ever harder. I was pushing to get an auto pilot or wind vane even before I came on board, with captain having none of it, and claiming that the boat was holding the course beautifully. Now it became apparent to all of us that AP was a must if we want to keep our sanity.

krisscross 09-10-2018 08:29 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
We have spent 2 weeks in a nice marina in Pensacola, most of that time taken by installing an autopilot (with hydraulic ram hooked up directly to the quadrant - very beefy and very expensive) and correctly re-assembling the roller furler. We had to take the mainstay out and re-assemble all the furler parts on the dock. That involved re-doing one of the Sta-lok terminals, which was a PITA, as can be expected. On the day we were planning to leave, the top part of main sail just ripped apart from the rest of the sail - the thread on the top stitches was all coming apart, degraded by long term exposure to sunlight (translation: insufficient use of the sail cover). Another 3 days delay for sail repairs at a local loft. The main sail is so bad, the loft declined to put their name to the repaired sail. Too bad the captain did not order a new main when getting ready for the trip. The main has very poor, baggy shape. Bolt rope has shrunk, making it age very poorly.

RegisteredUser 09-10-2018 08:36 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Good stuff.
Keep posting.

krisscross 09-10-2018 10:45 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Almost as soon as we left Pensacola, I noticed the engine oil pressure is near zero, firmly in the red zone. But the engine is not overheating or shutting down. Captain decides it's the sensor and we push on, towards St. Petersburg, Florida. I suspect it's the old oil and plugged up oil filter. As the winds were light and not really helping us go directly towards the Yucatan we plan on motor-sailing south to St Pete, refuel and hope the wind gets more favorable. The Hobie is banging on the hull despite the new and improved towing bridle and the captain finally decides to get rid of it, as it will never make it to India. The radar stops working and we can't see the night rain squalls heading our way. We get to St. Pete after 4 days. The engine sounds rough and will not build up higher rpms. In port we change engine oil - it's like tar - and oil pressure is back to normal. I wanted it changed even before I stepped on board. But the engine still is not building up higher speed. We stick to about 2000 rpm, 2500 max, as even the shaft starts vibrating a lot at these higher speeds. We fix the radar (bad power connection), get rid of the Hobie and head out towards Cabo San Antonio, Cuba. All is going relatively well but we motor sail a lot as wind is weak.

Arcb 09-10-2018 10:58 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
I would have held on to the Hobie, sounds like the safer boat :D

krisscross 09-10-2018 11:27 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Somewhere near Cuba we discover that the Navionics chart chip for the Caribbean is not working. We have no detailed electronic charts for the area we are approaching. My iPad backup with Aquamap charts is only marginally better. But we have paper charts, even if they are large scale and lack the details. Captain decides to push on. I also do not see a big problem in it. I have detailed charts for Panama. We are fighting the Gulfstream big time, every day, for days. All is going relatively well until we get close to the Honduras Banks. We motorsail a lot, at times in seas 8 to 10 feet. The engine sputters and dies. Same with our generator. Bad fuel. The dregs at the bottom of our tank get stirred up and plug up the fuel filters. And the cooling water flows very poorly out of the engine and none out of the generator. The wind is getting stronger and keeps pushing us towards the shallows of Honduras banks. And we have no detailed charts to make it through the relatively deeper channels. Seas build up to 12 feet and stuff is starting to get lose inside the boat. Soon everything inside is scrambled and a very heavy bench pulls out of the floor. In the hold our supplies are doing a wild polka dance.

RobGallagher 09-11-2018 11:52 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Excellent read, looking forward to more. However, I'm surprised you stuck it out past the first failed departure.

krisscross 09-11-2018 12:42 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RobGallagher (Post 2051552130)
Excellent read, looking forward to more. However, I'm surprised you stuck it out past the first failed departure.

Thank you. I really wanted that experience. And it was not all bad. I had some fantastic sailing. Especially at night. Because I see quite well at night, I had most of the night watches, with most hours sailed at night. It was really magical, sailing under stars alone, before moon rise, and when the moon was there, it was like daylight, only cooler. And I learned a lot. It was my first big boat as all my previous boats I sailed on were 36' max, and my first truly long distance sailing. We were also very fortunate that the weather was not too rough. We had some night squalls with winds in the 30+ knots sustained, and low 40's in gusts, but they did not last long, 2 hours at most. There was never a moment when I thought: "Oh crap, we are gonna die here..." So I stuck it out until I really had enough, and could not spend another couple of months working on the boat to get it to be ready again. In spring, I will be getting my own boat. :2 boat:

krisscross 09-11-2018 01:04 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
So there we were, rapidly approaching the Honduras Banks, with no engine, and no power to recharge batteries other than our 2 solar panels, 120W each. We had a lot of batteries, but of course the generator quit when it was time to recharge them. Voltage dropped to 11.7V and we decided not to burn navigation lights. We were in a pretty desolate area. I have not seen a ship in a couple of days. We had to save power for the navigation instruments and bilge pumps. Of course we set right away to try to fix our fuel supply, but - surprise, surprise - we have no spare fuel filters, even as I asked the captain multiple times to get plenty of them. When I found out he did not have any spare filters, I pretty much decided to go home after we make port. I was truly pissed and exchanged some angry words with him when he started bellyaching about having 'bad luck'. I had the helm and I was trying to steer a course for the main channel through the Banks, but the wind was not cooperating. The boat was a pig going into the wind, partly due to design, but mostly due to bad sails: baggy main and 175 genoa that we could not sheet in close to the rail. Our tacking angle was a whopping 100 to 110 degrees. Another consideration was our lose cargo: our bilge was full of stuff that fell in there from the hold area. Seeing that we are not going to be able to pass safely through Honduras Banks, I suggest we head for Rio Dulce, Guatemala, which is downwind from were we are. We do not know ports in the area and Honduras has a bad rep for piracy. Later I found out that we should have headed for La Ceiba, Honduras, which was much closer and has a great boat yard to do all the repairs. That is what happens when you don't know stuff: you make decisions which are less than optimal.

krisscross 09-11-2018 03:00 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
We go downwind along the coast of Honduras, some 30 to 50 miles offshore. Wind is changing all the time, both in speed and direction. Sometimes there is no wind and we drift north with the Gulfstream, at 0.6 to 1.2 knots, in good size swells. Nights are worst, with popcorn thunderstorm cells all around us. During the day, heat is intense, and when there is no breeze, the heat and humidity make life miserable. We have hard time sleeping, even when we are dead tired. At one quiet morning, captain dives trying to clear a blockage from our raw water intake. Few years back he got sick and tired of cleaning barnacles of the water intake grate, so he removed it, without much thought... While in the Gulfstream we were passing through big patches of Sargasso weed, some over an acre in size. That stuff is very tough and apparently it plugged up our water intake. We take various sections of raw water pipe off, trying to remove the blockage. Eventually the water starts flowing a little, but the generator still overheats and is not spitting out any water. We rig up a temporary fuel supply, using jerry cans with fuel pumped from the main tanks and filtered through Baja funnels. The engine starts working but runs slow and rough, spitting out only a little bit of water. We are only going to use it when approaching the port. We suspect that water pump is busted on the generator. Of course we have no spare parts of any kind for it.

contrarian 09-11-2018 03:31 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Kriss,
In spite of this being a gigantic Cluster F.... It seems as though the experience is going to wind up being priceless. Experience won the hard way doesn't fade quickly and when you look back on it in years to come I would bet that you will be glad that you did it.
Congratulations and Fair Winds my friend !!!

krisscross 09-11-2018 04:05 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by contrarian (Post 2051552190)
Kriss,
In spite of this being a gigantic Cluster F.... It seems as though the experience is going to wind up being priceless. Experience won the hard way doesn't fade quickly and when you look back on it in years to come I would bet that you will be glad that you did it.
Congratulations and Fair Winds my friend !!!

Thank you! You are absolutely right. I have already re-evaluated my boat buying plans, for example. Would like to get a boat that tracks well and is not a pig upwind or in light airs. I reflected a lot on Jeff's advice to me in that regard. Another reflection was on the auto pilot. A good AP is like having an extra 2 crew members. :svoilier:
And above all: pick your sailing company very carefully. :|

krisscross 09-11-2018 04:36 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
To wrap it up...
Eventually we get really, really exhausted. The night squalls take their toll. The boat does not lie ahull well. It just bobs and spins like a piece of driftwood, with very uncomfortable motion, despite drawing a whopping 8 feet and having lots of ballast. We try various reduced sail configurations, but are not very successful. We decide to go to Puerto Cortes, Honduras instead. It's a big port and we encounter lots of traffic. We are back in the main shipping lanes. But the wind dies again and we will not make port before the night fall, even if engine helps us in the final approach. We resign to keep pushing towards Puerto Barrios, Guatemala rather that trying to enter unfamiliar port at night, without any charts showing the entry into harbor. That night gets very rough with series of strong squalls and torrential tropical rain. It rains buckets, but the water is warm and washes off our stink (the water maker is not working and we have no power anyway, so we have to conserve water). One squall is so violent that boat gets turned around 180 degrees in 15 seconds. There were 4 waves of rain squalls, but none as bad as the first one. In the early morning, just after sunrise, we are still some 30 miles from port, and the easterly wind dies and land breeze picks up, dead on the nose. Captain fires up the engine and we go for broke. The scene is a bit like from Road Warrior movie. We are pumping and filtering diesel one small batch at a time, trying to keep the engine going. Boat reeks of diesel and our clothes are soaked in it as well. Did you know that diesel engine returns about twice as much fuel through the return line than it uses to run? Couple of times we miscalculate fuel use and run out of fuel in our jerry can tanks. Fortunately the captain manages to get the engine going each time. He is a good mechanic. Finally we pull into Puerto Barrios, find the port authority office, and get cleared with immigration, customs, and health, despite it being Sunday afternoon. Local people are friendly and helpful. Captain finds a diesel mechanic who is going to check out our engine and generator on Monday. Next day mechanic confirms that generator pump has a busted impeller, and tells us that the turbocharger is busted on the engine. I inform the captain that I will not be going any further with him. He is not surprised. The other crew member has already taken his stuff off the boat and checked into local hotel. I leave the boat next day, catching a bus to Guatemala City and then a flight to US. I do not regret crewing on that boat and value the experience I gained. Life goes on.

rbrasi 09-11-2018 04:40 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
This is an excellent read- I imagine I could easily fall into the same situation. If there is more, please share! We learn from others adventures.

TakeFive 09-11-2018 05:01 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Was this your first long passage?

Key learning for me is when I do my first long passage as crew, it will be with an experienced captain with good reputation (preferably licensed captain, though that's no guarantee either). It will have to be someone with enough balls to refuse to go to sea until his experience tells him the boat is sound.

It's a shame @SVAuspicious doesn't participate here any more. I suspect he'd have a lot to teach us about this venture, and dozens of similar close calls averted. I suspect one of his warnings will be to NOT have the owner present for these passages unless he's built up a lot of personal trust in him.

krisscross 09-11-2018 07:53 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TakeFive (Post 2051552210)
Was this your first long passage?

Yes, it was. I sailed my own boats for weeks at a time, but it was all coastal and I would spend most of the nights on hook.

RegisteredUser 09-11-2018 07:55 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by krisscross (Post 2051552196)
Thank you! You are absolutely right. I have already re-evaluated my boat buying plans, for example. Would like to get a boat that tracks well and is not a pig upwind or in light airs. I reflected a lot on Jeff's advice to me in that regard. Another reflection was on the auto pilot. A good AP is like having an extra 2 crew members. :svoilier:
And above all: pick your sailing company very carefully. :|


Secure anchoring and AP:
#1 and #2

RobGallagher 09-12-2018 03:10 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Good stuff. Thanks again.

caberg 09-12-2018 03:31 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
That was a fun read. I commend your level-headed, objective and fair portrayal of the facts -- even complimenting the captain ("He is a good mechanic") near the end after everything you went through. That story could have been told with a lot more emotion and outrage, but I don't think I would have enjoyed reading it as much.

BarryL 09-12-2018 04:24 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Hey,

Thanks for sharing.

I will go on long trips only with people and boats I know well.

Barry

Capt Len 09-12-2018 04:44 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
I'm not going to try to best you over a table of empty beer glasses. As I reminisce some of my own tales,I bow to yours .50 years from now some will reread/remember those good old days . My good old adventures mostly were before electronic anything at sea and rampant screwloose companions aplenty.

krisscross 09-14-2018 02:54 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
I would appreciate suggestions and criticisms regarding our approach, starting with the choice of the route, timing, gear, and so forth. We knew some of our choices were not optimal, such as the timing, but it was very hard to change. Then there was the obvious lack of critical spares for various systems. Some day I hope to run this route again, hopefully on a better boat and with a better crew, without being forced to hurry.

RegisteredUser 09-14-2018 02:58 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
My understanding is that 8 foot wont clear the bar into the Rio

krisscross 09-14-2018 03:13 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RegisteredUser (Post 2051552788)
My understanding is that 8 foot wont clear the bar into the Rio

That is true. But the locals use motor boats to pull deeper draft vessels over the bar sideways and heeled over.

Capt Len 09-14-2018 05:35 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Determine which way to deeper water.(A bar should be easy) From one stabilizer pole hang anchors and 4 reluctant scientists outboard as far as possible. Full Ahead ,wagging hard to port/stbd.Pike pole stuck in sand by the bow to determine success??. Nearest assistance probably next summer after the thaw.

RegisteredUser 09-14-2018 06:55 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
As you know it...what is the sailing history of that boat and its owner?
How did you and the other crew member become involved with him?
How long had the boat been in Moss Pt/NO area?

krisscross 09-15-2018 04:41 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RegisteredUser (Post 2051552836)
As you know it...what is the sailing history of that boat and its owner?
How did you and the other crew member become involved with him?
How long had the boat been in Moss Pt/NO area?

Boat was completed around 10 years ago. Owner sailed it only a couple of times on short day trips. I have heard of him and his plans from an acquaintance of mine. Same with the other crew member. They were in NO area from the time boat construction started.

JimsCAL 09-15-2018 09:21 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
I was asked yesterday if I wanted to help move a Hinckley from Oyster Bay, LI to Maine. Boat had had some cosmetic damage from banging against another boat while on a guest mooring. Owner is new to sailing. I passed. After hearing this story, it's clear to me I made the correct decision.

zedboy 09-17-2018 04:53 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Thanks Kriss, you don't know how many people may end up better sailors by learning from your mistakes.

(made really fun reading too!)

PhilCarlson 09-18-2018 01:53 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Excellent read, thanks for sharing!

krisscross 09-19-2018 04:17 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Thank you all. :)
I’m currently between boats but that will change in spring, so stay tuned for more tales of dumb and dumber!

Minnewaska 09-19-2018 06:48 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by krisscross (Post 2051552786)
I would appreciate suggestions and criticisms regarding our approach......

Interesting read and I'm glad you are safe in the end. The biggest take away has to be your overwhelming desire to make this trip overriding your better judgement. You write of many things you knew very well were not right, before you left the slip. You had to personally clean and paint the bilge? Never checked for spare filters?

It reminds me of a book written by Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top. Ed is a world class mountaineer (Everest 7 times) and his book is about how he's stayed safe in one of the most dangerous sports in the world. The bottom line is not simply knowing the right thing to do, it's whether you will do it in the moment. He tells of several hard safety rules that all climbers know and would insist upon, while jawing in base camp. However, when on the mountain, most that got hurt didn't follow the rules they knew, out of an overwhelming desire to get to the top.

Sounds like you learned this lesson. You must have the discipline to apply safety standards, not just know them. You tried to take a shortcut to the long ocean passage experience you wanted and looked past several safety requirements you knew very well, back on land. It will make you stronger for the next time.

krisscross 09-19-2018 11:09 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 2051553868)
You write of many things you knew very well were not right, before you left the slip. You had to personally clean and paint the bilge? Never checked for spare filters.

Yes, I should have been more proactive and not take captain’s word for granted, especially when I knew how utterly disorganized he was. Great point.

RegisteredUser 09-19-2018 06:49 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Well......all involved had a real shake down cruise/experience.
Nothing lost...maybe lots learned

denverd0n 09-20-2018 10:35 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Good story. Sounds like a lot of worthwhile experience for you. Now, personally, I'm kind of curious what the owner did next, or if the boat is still sitting in Puerto Barrios.

tschmidty 09-20-2018 11:16 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 2051553868)
Interesting read and I'm glad you are safe in the end. The biggest take away has to be your overwhelming desire to make this trip overriding your better judgement. You write of many things you knew very well were not right, before you left the slip. You had to personally clean and paint the bilge? Never checked for spare filters?

A lot of times this is what comes from experience. First you actually make the mistakes even when you "know" better, second time you listen harder to that voice in the back of your mind.

Saying no to yourself can be a whole lot harder than saying yes. I try to always judge an iffy decision by this criteria; If it goes bad, will I look back and say "That was a dumba$$ decision." Or will you honestly be able to say, "I didn't see that possibility?" If it is the former, you need to be judge the risk/reward and be prepared with a plan if it all goes south.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

krisscross 09-20-2018 01:21 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by denverd0n (Post 2051554086)
Good story. Sounds like a lot of worthwhile experience for you. Now, personally, I'm kind of curious what the owner did next, or if the boat is still sitting in Puerto Barrios.

From what little I have heard, he is trying to get to Panama single handing that boat, after completing the most pressing repairs in Puerto Barrios. He got an extra 55 gallons of diesel in a plastic drum while I was still there. He was planning to basically motor all the way to Panama. There were a couple of people considering joining him along the way. I gave him detailed information regarding marina and boat yard in La Ceiba, Honduras, where he could work on the boat in comfort, while also waiting for the new crew. But I don’t really know where he is now. The only contact I have is through his wife, who is rather unhappy with me at this moment. I also suspect the captain might not be entirely forthcoming with information regarding his progress. It’s a bit of a mystery. :|

krisscross 09-20-2018 01:30 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tschmidty (Post 2051554094)
I try to always judge an iffy decision by this criteria; If it goes bad, will I look back and say "That was a dumba$$ decision." Or will you honestly be able to say, "I didn't see that possibility?" If it is the former, you need to be judge the risk/reward and be prepared with a plan if it all goes south.

Dude, you are playing it way too safe. :wink
I have made plenty of dumba$$ decisions with full realization what the consequences might be. And some (if not most) of them turned out fine in the end. I think as we get older we play it much too safe, missing out on a lot of fun.

Minnewaska 09-20-2018 02:25 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Maybe I’ll frame tschmidty’s point a little differently.

Do you want the flight crew on your next trip to take chances with known defects that probably won’t kill everyone, but could. Stuff can still go wrong, despite doing everything right. Witness Captain Sully. However, would you feel the same, if they had taken a pass on basic safety protocol.

It’s not the failure itself that damns the decision to take a risk. It’s the failure to carry out your known and agreed upon risk mitigation that does.

krisscross 09-20-2018 02:58 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 2051554136)
Maybe I’ll frame tschmidty’s point a little differently.

Do you want the flight crew on your next trip to take chances with known defects that probably won’t kill everyone, but could. Stuff can still go wrong, despite doing everything right.

I might not have been clear. I would not gamble with other people’s lives just because I chose to be sloppy in the execution of my responsibilities. But I can take a risk with my own life if I find that risk to be manageable. I have done that many times. I paddled my board in gator country quite a few times, for example. Some else might consider that to be a very dumb idea. I went to sea with people who I knew were less than qualified. Again, to some it would have been a dumb idea. For me it was just a manageable risk taken in exchange for an adventure and opportunity to learn.

Capt Len 09-20-2018 07:02 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
When I was younger several school friends were lost with their dad's fishboats. Storms,fires, explosion ,Things go wrong. With this background, I never avoided a possible bluewater adventure with a variety of total strangers, From starving backpacker to a bunk and sorta fed, What's not to like? Learned a bunch, came back, at 32 built my boat ,sailed 40 yrs more. If I could do it again ,,, probably with more panache,, but caution?? Naw!

Arcb 09-21-2018 08:43 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Challenge + travel + interesting companions + unknown outcome = adventure ;)

tomandchris 09-21-2018 06:11 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Saw a quote a week ago that kind of shows how many of us learn.

"Good judgement comes for experience, and Experience-Well, that comes from poor judgement.
-Winnie the Pooh-

I don't want to count the ways that I have gained experience and survived.

Krisscross, good read. Thanks!

Bird Dog 09-22-2018 11:07 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
As a professional aviator who’s specific line of work involves a niche of flying that involves a reasonable degree more potential risk that say a commercial pilot, the one thing I think is the old aviation truism:

There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots.

Sure, it is a broad statement, as most such sayings are. Kind of like the saying that in a competiton to fly lowest, you can only tie with the ground.

Two dimensions can be just as risky as three for sure. Mishaps in three dimensional travel just seem to be a bit more abrupt on occasion. I’m no experienced salt. Just a novice coastal cruiser. But when I brought my boat down from the Chessapeake to NC over a 4 day trip that pales in comparison to most of the journeys I read on here, my mate was a fellow aviator and we both crewed with the same sense of purpose as if flying (as in prep, care and maintenance, pre and post flight... I mean saling, etc). A common thread in both disciplines which made it all the more enjoyable.

Said in no way critical. Good sea story of learning. Just being conversational. That said, another old aviation addage is something like:

When you start, you have three buckets. Two are empty: knowlwge and experience. Third is full: luck. Be sure not to empty the third before you fill the first two!

I wonder if that was an old sea addage applied to flying years ago...

Best regards

hasher 09-22-2018 05:38 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Just finished a great read about Virgin Galactic's quest for commercial space travel. They lost a test pilot. It nearly killed the program but didn't. Afterwards the ace pilot speaking to the engineers paraphrased an Apollo engineer: We need to work with thoughtful courage and not be blinded by fearful safety.

overthehorizon 09-22-2018 06:39 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Kriss, You had a great adventure and cram course learning experience and you wound up safely at home to boot. “Boring is good” is a saying for ocean passages but how do you learn if nothing breaks or goes wrong. You learn from heavy weather and adversity not when the autopilot steers the way to exotic ports under blue skies and sun drenched decks. That is like trying to learn music by watching a player piano. But…you got off that boat at the very best spot in the ocean. Read the history books; Christopher Columbus and every sailboat after him had one hell of a time fighting the trade winds and currents to get around that big hump in the area east of Honduras and on to Panama. I have sailed that route and it is not pleasant. If I remember correctly, Columbus named the turning point of land “Gracias Dios”, Thank you God or something like that. Only then can the boat turn off a bit and sail on a continuous heading, more southerly, rather than tacking, tacking, tacking and make little to no headway. You did well. There is a way to have a good ocean crossing experience without too much anxiety. It would be on a strong boat, a Swan, with a very experienced captain. Check out Offshore Passage Opportunities. One of their programs is a charter that leaves Newport, Rhode Island on the first weekend in November, to St. Maarten, with a stop in Bermuda. The trip is part of the North American Rally to the Caribbean. Most crew sign up in anticipation of a heavy weather trip to Bermuda as that is what generally happens that time of year. You must have a satisfactory sailing resume to sign on to the program. www.sailopo.com

RegisteredUser 09-22-2018 06:48 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 

Capt Len 09-22-2018 08:46 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Some of my adventures were enhanced by therapeutic hysterical screaming from the forepeak for days (captain's latest squeeze) while his ex(pregnant by the other crew) hits on me. No engine or electronics and only 55' so not much to go wrong and all the running sheets and stuff had been stolen in Greece so no worry about that. Can't get lost with Africa to the south and Europe to the north.Most of the stores had been eaten by the ex and beau while waiting for the skipper to come back from Holland so food was scarce. .Quit in Sicily,and glad of it. Julia went on to cross the Atlantic as I did in '68.Some of you old timers may have met Mis Turk in Antigua. You'd remember her ,,,nice legs. She wrote this 'adventure 'up for British Yachting World sometime in the '70's .Gotta wonder how much is false news in those mags.'

overthehorizon 09-23-2018 01:22 AM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
Capt Len, Isn't it amazing what a boat commonly sailed without back in the 1970s, unlike today. My first ocean crossing boat had a stereo, which was an absolute necessity, an RDF, VHF, sextant and the depth sounder was the keel. Now everyone has to have a floating condo... not much adventuring there. But a mid ocean non-adventure keeps the wife happier.

Capt Len 09-24-2018 03:26 PM

Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
 
So right. and quickly changed. Came across the Atlantic with only a small transistor radio and my next vessel (CSS Hudson) had the first non military Sat nav and we went back out and maped the MidAtlantic Ridge (definitive plate tectonics). However , there are still unmade mistakes out there for learning .


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