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post #21 of 92 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

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No offense at all, but I hear this often and it completely befuddles me......
......
.....When I'm sailing, I'm much more relaxed 100 or more miles offshore than I am 10.
Bingo! I love the peace of mind of being nowhere near shore as well.

We almost nailed the Pemex natural gas pier in heavy fog off Rosarito Beach on the return home after a Newport-Ensenada race a few years back. A fishing boat came in hot with a guy on the bow yelling at us in Spanish & waving his arms. A second later it was me yelling "hard to port, hard to, port!"

We had come within 15 meters of broadsiding the pier.

Epilogue: As it turned out, the skipper's chartplotter didn't even have a detailed map for Mexico showing coastal hazards, etc. I made myself a promise after that race...that I'd have the best maps on my own boat. Paper, plastic, and digital, FTW!!!
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post #22 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

Some of the skills vary by boat size. I had my own dinghies in high school, then through my 20s crewed on keelboats up to 60' ocean crossings. Lots of racing, lots of messing about on boats, lots of fixing things (there was the time the shroud on the 60-footer parted as we closed in on the finish line....). Then marriage, kids, and 20 years of messing about on dinghies or daysails on rented bigger boats. In my mid-50s, bought my first keel boat (Ranger 26). The sailing part is muscle memory...sort of. Although the boat had a spinnaker, I mostly single-handed or went out with my wife (who knows the basics, but has never raced and isn't interested in fancy sailing), so I never rigged it. Wouldn't remember how. Motor was an old 2-stroke outboard -- just had to remember to add oil to the gas. Now I have a Catalina 30, inboard Atomic 4 gas engine. I never learned engine mechanics, so I depend on the local yard. I sail on a single lake, 2 miles wide by 40 miles long, May-Oct. Not much to navigate. So I've found that when I dream about cruising, the thing that scares me is having to relearn navigation -- what's a good route? how did I ever find that out before the Internets came along? can I trust these new-fangled electronic nav thingies? how much paper backup do I need since I'm sure I won't fully trust the new-fangled thingies? Plus back to the engine: what happens if something actually does go wrong?

Wind should be back up tomorrow, I'll be out in the morning.... :-)

--------------------
Currently? Laser and Catalina 30
Before? 8'-60', gunk-holing to ocean racing
Sailing on Cayuga Lake, NY
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Currently? Laser and Catalina 30
Before? 8'-60', gunk-holing to ocean racing
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post #23 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Sailing skills, indeed.

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Some of the skills vary by boat size.....So I've found that when I dream about cruising, the thing that scares me is having to relearn navigation -- what's a good route? how did I ever find that out before the Internets came along? can I trust these new-fangled electronic nav thingies? how much paper backup do I need since I'm sure I won't fully trust the new-fangled thingies? Plus back to the engine: what happens if something actually does go wrong?.....
Familiarity should breed confidence, not contempt. Your list is easy-peezy.
-
  • Fear of relearning navigation? Ability to navigate is non-negotiable. Relearn, or...don't go.
    -
  • Finding routes before the "Internets?" Books & maps? EG: World Cruising Routes: 1000 Sailing Routes in All Oceans of the World - 8th Edition Flexibound – 2018 by Jimmy Cornell
    -
  • Should you trust "new-fangled electronic nav thingies?" Absolutely yes...as long as they agree with reality.
    -
  • You don't know what to do if the engine has a problem? Buy a book on marine diesel engines & some tools, have a mechanic crew-member, or search YouTube since you have the Internets now!

My personal fears are a stinky head & contaminated water; although we've yet to suffer either.
I've actually had stinky head nightmares, so I guess we all have our own personal crosses to bear
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post #24 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing skills

So... We all accept that the body of sailing knowledge is vast and to actually get out there and safely sail there is a sensible minimum level of knowledge that one should/must have. The sailing courses are built around this concept.

But how much of your knowledge of sailing are you using in your sailing? Take something like code flags. language / protocol for radio use communication? Is your VHF on all the time or just used when you need to call? Did you learn the signal flags? They aren't used much except the Q. Did you ever use them aside from entering a foreign port until the vessel was cleared? Or.... what about preparation for some heavy weather? If you are not sailing in this sort of condition have you lost touch with those skills/knowledge? Or if you basically stay in slips and on moorings... have your anchoring skills gone rusty? What about knots? Are you using only a few and all those cool knots you once learned not used and forgotten? What about splicing? Do you buy pre spliced line because it's convenient? And of course coleregs? Ar you observing them and how do you deal with (recreational) boats that seem to ignore them. How did you learn anchoring technique? If your learned manual navigation... getting a fix and plotting... do you even bother to keep paper charts and remember how to DR or do you rely on reliable screens these days?

pay attention... someone's life depends on it

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post #25 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

SanderO, some of the skills you mention are definitely rusty for me. But others are far more developed than when I first learned.

I can’t honestly say I’ve done much traditional navigation for a while. I might take a fix once or twice on a coastal journey, but only for fun. Knots … I down to about a 1/2 dozen. This seems to cover all my needs. Never did learn flag signals; this was not part of any courses I took. I think that is long gone.

On the flip side, my anchoring technique is far superior today than when I learned. And I’d say my heavy weather sailing skills are also much improved, as are my abilities to know when to leave and when to stay put.

So for me it comes down to skills I regularly use vs skills not generally needed — pretty much like the rest of life.
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post #26 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

I don't think we have clearly defined sailing knowledge yet. Some think it is only pointing the boat and making it perform optimally, while others include a cornucopia of skillsets having only incidental applications to pointing the boat and making it perform optimally.

Code flags - never learned them, never will. Seems entirely silly to me in this day and age, and I doubt anyone really learned or used them in recent past generations.

VHF - on ch16 all the time except when anchored in a place where people are using it as a party line or calling each other incessantly. Why people can't learn to use their DSC function for this is beyond me. Also keep it off in FL, where the Coast Guard basically uses it as a party line and continually broadcast useless long stuff over and over. Oh yeah, Seatow is always yacking on ch16 there too - basically using it as a commercial advertisement.

Prep for heavy weather - yes, all the time when going on passage. Not so when day-sailing or at anchor, beyond general tidiness.

Anchoring skills - we are on anchor continuously. Our docking skills are rusty.

Knots - I know how to tie a bunch, but it seems like I only ever need 3 knots for any situation. If a rare occasion comes up that I need another, I have to take a quick look in the book to remind myself.

Splicing - we have gone completely over to dyneema. A child can splice it in minutes. I happily throw splices around all the time without needing to look at instructions. The only other different line is our anchor bridle, which is brait. I've spliced so much of that in the past that I can do it by memory.

Colregs - my interpretation of colregs is that everyone else are idiots and need to be avoided.

Navigation and charts - I know and remember how to do DR and plotting. Never learned celestial, and never will. Paper charts are the buggy whips of sailing today, and will be gone in the next generation. Despite the wailing that will ensue here, the reality is that paper charts are vestigial anachronisms on the vast majority of recreational boats plying the water today. We got rid of ours over 10yrs ago. We don't rely on reliable screens - we rely on the vast number of redundant electronic devices that are capable of navigation we have unwittingly accumulated, which have independent, and different, power and charging sources.

Mark
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post #27 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

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my abilities to know when to leave and when to stay put.
This is by far the most important skill we have learned, but a skill that some seem unable to ever develop. It isn't teachable.

Mark
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post #28 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

Sailing is pretty easy. Except for heavy weather, which only a cruiser develops "skills" at and only probably then after breaking a few things.
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post #29 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
None of those are sailing skills.

They are cruising and maintenance skills.

Fastest way to learn and keep up with sailing skills is to race.
When I was doing Worlds on foredecks I could clip, hoist and set a kite before the skipper could get half way around the mark. Now this Mark would need to sit on the foredeck in a rocker figgerin which ropey bit goes through which holey bit.
But I can still do it by beer o'clock

Mark
Absolutely

I know plenty of good mechanic and boat polishers who really have limited sailing skill


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post #30 of 92 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Sailing skills

With these things, I try and remember that people are born to be very clever. So use your clever intelligence. Try and be clever and crafty and use common sense. most of all observe everything you possibly can, use anything and everything that gives you any information and stay defensive. Use your eyes. Your brain will automatically figure stuff out.

I am amazed at the number of boats, both power and sail, where the people never look around. Just yesterday I had to stop in a narrow harbor channel, for two 35'+ boats, one waiting for the fuel dock, and one returning from the fuel dock to a slip. Both in the channel with large crews, no one looking. Its as if they are briefed never ever to look for traffic.

Out on the river I almost always see sailboats in the channel close to big commercial ships. And they are not looking, or predicting, or watching anything. I am so paranoid, I am watching them not watch.
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