How "afraid" should we be of sailing? - Page 13 - SailNet Community
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post #121 of 392 Old 01-24-2011
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Don't Panic

Excellent thread! It's not often I read a long thread like this from start to finish - but it's probably because it's too cold here to do anything else and besides it's interesting.

One thing I did not see mentioned: Panic. Many sailors can be frightened of a situation which seems overwhelming. But fear can be overcome. It's usually when a frightening situation occurs and the sailors - most likely the Captain - on the boat do not have the education and / or the experience to cope with it that panic steps in and takes over. When panic occurs, wrong decisions are made - or none at all, and the situation quickly deteriorates. This is often when injuries or deaths occur.

The more training and experience a boater has, the less likely he is going to panic. This is why I have always been an advocate of boater education - through whatever capable source is available: USCG Aux.; US Power Squadron; experienced and capable friends. This all helps.

And second - taking baby steps first. Challenge yourself - but a little at a time - until you are comfortable with that challenge. And then up the ante some. Buying your first boat and heading out on the ocean is nothing short of foolhardy. But people do it. Some survive, foolish but lucky. The rest receive their Darwin Award.

So emblazon a big sign somewhere on your boat - in large comfortable letters:

Don't Panic!
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post #122 of 392 Old 01-24-2011
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I'd point out that one of the best things to do when something goes wrong is to take a moment to think about what to do... rather than reacting in a blind panic. Doing so often makes your response far more effective and can make the difference between failing or succeeding.



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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #123 of 392 Old 01-24-2011
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One thing I always remind my kids:

Panic Kills.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Robert A.Heinlein
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post #124 of 392 Old 01-24-2011
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There are a lot of things that can go wrong while sailing, but they don't always kill you. hand caught in winch, anchor chain, line/gear breaking, coolent hose, etc... We live with many of those risks in everyday life everytime we start a power tool, open a door, use a screwdriver/knife. We get used to the risk because we encounter them everyday. Just operating a car, how many had had a hand slammed in a car door as a kid. Or slipped on an icy street. I wouldn't say sailing is more or less risky, only that the risks are different. To the beginner or landlubber the risks are frightening because they are new.

The Sun has Risen on a New Day filled with the Promise of Adventure.
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post #125 of 392 Old 01-24-2011 Thread Starter
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I'm going to go out on a limb here. Sailing is pretty damn safe. I mean c'mon! GOLFING is "dangerous" if you do it in a thunderstorm, or tornado, or hurricane, or Florida pond!!! Same goes for checkers and sailing!

Look, learn as much as you can. Watch the weather. Don't be stupid. Wear a pfd. Stay safe. Have fun. You'll be fine.

Just go sailing for crying out loud. Even newbs can do it!

Last edited by smackdaddy; 01-24-2011 at 08:37 PM.
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post #126 of 392 Old 01-25-2011
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Smack I think you'll find your limb is getting kind of crowded.

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post #127 of 392 Old 07-29-2011
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I don't think we should be afraid of sailing, just like we shouldn't be afraid of motorcycling, rock climbing, or a host of other pursuits that can kill us.

It all comes down to risk management and taking steps to reduce that risk so we can survive the activity and continue to enjoy it.

Recognize a risk, mitigate it, and move on.

"There are too many people who confuse living with breathing in and out." -- Dave Svboda

"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)

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post #128 of 392 Old 07-30-2011
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This whole thread is why I keep coming back to Sailnet ...

I'm 63 ... much of my 'youth' engaged in adrenalin type activities ... mostly revolving around sportscars motorcycles and cessnas ... with little physical harm (17 stitches under my eye from college hockey and one medevac)

I married late in life (40) ... and while raising my daughter (mostly on my own for the last 10 years) ... slowed down (although I did have a slight fling with skydiving around 50) ... noticed even my driving habits became 'defensive' (not a bad thing at all ...) as my reflexes are not what they used to be ...

about 2 years ago ... decided it was now or never if I was ever going to satisfy my desire to learn to learn to sail ...

took the plunge and bought an old Cal 28 flushdeck (in retrospect probably not the best decision for learning to sail ... but has served me well ... spending alot of time on her) ... and acquired a Ranger 23 (much better suited for my experience level) ...

I've found my 'fear of heights' which has been a constant in my life ... extends to heavy heeling (might have been exasperated when I flipped a laser holding too long onto a sheet when tacking in a learn to sail class) ... although the more time I sail ... the more confident I feel (last Wednesday night beer can race ... we were heeling 22 degrees on a long beam reach ... and the feeling was one of near nirvana ...)

I've also found that 'fear' of being overwhelmed ... in a new environment on the water ... not sure of exactly what to do ... (although in reality never in a situation where there was real reason ... always with someone very experienced ... and never in any real danger ... just pushing the envelope abit more than I was ready for at the time)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald View Post
Excellent thread! It's not often I read a long thread like this from start to finish - but it's probably because it's too cold here to do anything else and besides it's interesting.

One thing I did not see mentioned: Panic. Many sailors can be frightened of a situation which seems overwhelming. But fear can be overcome. It's usually when a frightening situation occurs and the sailors - most likely the Captain - on the boat do not have the education and / or the experience to cope with it that panic steps in and takes over. When panic occurs, wrong decisions are made - or none at all, and the situation quickly deteriorates. This is often when injuries or deaths occur.

The more training and experience a boater has, the less likely he is going to panic. This is why I have always been an advocate of boater education - through whatever capable source is available: USCG Aux.; US Power Squadron; experienced and capable friends. This all helps.

And second - taking baby steps first. Challenge yourself - but a little at a time - until you are comfortable with that challenge. And then up the ante some. Buying your first boat and heading out on the ocean is nothing short of foolhardy. But people do it. Some survive, foolish but lucky. The rest receive their Darwin Award.

So emblazon a big sign somewhere on your boat - in large comfortable letters:

Don't Panic!
great commentary ... and one I take to heart ...

I sometimes wish that I had started this adventure 50 years ago ... but then ... I wouldn't have it all now here to enjoy as I do

perhaps I still have the time ... to challenge myself and learn sufficiently ... in order to cruise ... perhaps not ... but I do know that this is something that will keep me young ... and alive in so many ways ... for years to come

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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post #129 of 392 Old 07-30-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rikhall View Post
ps - I always wore a helmet when playing hockey. When asked by a reporter why he wore a cup while playing hockey, but not a helmet, Gordy Howe is reputed to have said "I can always pay someone to think for me."
I know this is 'off topic' ... but



--asked if he ever broke his nose during a hockey game --

"No, but eleven other guys did."

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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post #130 of 392 Old 07-30-2011
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Smackdaddy,

"Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, ninety (90) percent were not wearing a life jacket."

so i read this as 10% drowned while wearing a pfd? I wish they would elaborate on that stat.
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