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Interesting thread. 40 posts in 24 hours.

Driven off the jokey "be a man" crap. But not driven off the "arrrrrr it's manly to be petrified" crap yet.

The only way people really learn a drill is by repetition.
Theory can be studied once, tested, safe. But a drill - the physical doing of a repetitive skill - can't be learned from a book. But nor is it just the mechanically adept who can master it.

Do it by doing it.

Set a calender: every Saturday and Sunday morning, without fail, take the boat out at 9am, do 3 laps of the channel, do some reversing practice under engine then put all sails up and sail for at least 1 hour.

Rain. Hail. Shine.

By this repetition you will, like a ferry driver, get to calm your nerves.

A boat stuck in a marina is growing scum on the waterline. So is your brain.

Get the boat on the water at 9am. No matter what, ☺

Every week.
 

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+1 on drilling, sometimes I think its something overlooked by the cruising sailor.

When I was 19 I got my first job driving a ferry. It was a yacht club tender about 35 feet, I did 4 crossings an hour for an 8 hour shift. It basically worked out to around 2500 single handed dockings a summer, did that for 3 summers.

My last job as a ferry driver, was a bit bigger of a boat, about 200 tons, that boat was 2 dockings an hour for a 12 hour shift. Drove that boat for 2 seasons. In the neighbourhood of 2000 dockings a season for 2 seasons. Then there was 15 years of driving other boats in between. I can honestly say I haven't been at all nervous about a docking on a pleasure sailboat in many years, but just these two jobs represented over 10000 dockings, so it took me a while to get there.

About a year and a half ago I bought my first ever beach cat, sure I had owned several other sail boats, but not a beach cat, as had my sailing partner. We had sailed beach cats before at resorts and stuff, but I had never owned one. We were determined that we didn't want to learn how to sail beach cats, we wanted to be good at sailing beach cats. So we came up with a plan and executed.

Nearly every Monday for the next year and a half we took most Mondays off work to train, provided there was no ice on the water. Every training day we picked a skill and we repeated that skill for hours, we took turns driving. Low wind days we would practice sail trim, navigation, tacking, gybing, recovery from capsize- whatever. High wind days trap, capsize recovery, sail trim, tacking, gybing, speed- always speed. First we were getting 7 knots- Cheers! Then 9 Cheers! then we broke the 10 mark Cheers! then 12 Cheers. 14 knots, Cheers. All of a sudden we found ourselves getting annoyed at our selves when we could only get 10 or 11 knots out of the boat.

I think if you are going to get good at something, repetitive practice is a good idea. If docking is stressing you out, then do docking drills. You can use buoys to simulate docking between boats or you can use a nav aid buoy to practice station keeping in a current or wind. Switch it up, every body takes a turn driving so you understand the other persons job. Maybe if you are doing a 4 hour sail, spend the first hour coming in and out of dock, then go for a sail and have fun.
 

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Being a man and claiming to be a man are two entirely different things. You think bravado makes you a man? You are obviously still a boy.
He's not just a boy - he's a boy who rides the short bus.
 

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The older I get the more nervous I get. :)

I outgrew my immortality a long time ago and I've gained a lot of experience or rather knowledge of what can go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Thanks again for all the replies! I agree with MarkofSeaLife, this has been a wonderfully interesting thread.

Just to be clear on my original post though, while I am indeed nervous about the docking an general sailing execution, I'm not as concerned with the gaining of experience in that manner. I've had a few foolish hobbies during my time on this little rock, so I understand those notions.

What has bothered me the most was questioning the rigging and general gear failure and things of that nature. That part is new to me. I haven't had to rely on mechanic components for safety so much before in a hobby like this. Yes, yes, I know cars and the like... but that aside...

Thanks again!
 

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Land lubber
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He's not just a boy - he's a boy who rides the short bus.
The older I get the more nervous I get. :)

I outgrew my immortality a long time ago and I've gained a lot of experience or rather knowledge of what can go wrong.
The short bus would be a step up for you.

Far from feeling immortal, I understand that we are all going to die. I am not going to have the fear of death paralyze me.

I don't even pity people like you any more. You will go through life and never live, your loss.
 

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He's not just a boy - he's a boy who rides the short bus.
Nope, I ride the short bus and I have never seen him on it. Egg Sucking Dweebs are relegated to wearing clown suits and riding tricycles while vehemently exclaiming how they are the ones that know how to live life to its fullest. They demonstrate this by carrying large balls in a little wagon that they pull behind their tricycles.
Don't you just love the circus?
The imagery is fascinating and so apropos
 

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“I’m an engineer, so I know the scrutiny the designers had to go through before they made this thing.”

There’s the rub. You’ve been trained in critical thinking, to imagine how things break so that you can design something that doesn’t. And perhaps you’ve met a comrade or two with a caviler attitude.

IMHO this anxiety will eventually pass. It’s kind of like mussel memory, if you do something long enough it becomes automatic, the program still runs but in the background.

What was your experience learning to drive? Now that’s crazy scary stuff fight there. Wizzing around at 140 mph differential speed in a lightweight box run by computer programmers next to sleep deprived freight liners and iPhone addicts.
 

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Thanks again for all the replies! I agree with MarkofSeaLife, this has been a wonderfully interesting thread.

Just to be clear on my original post though, while I am indeed nervous about the docking an general sailing execution, I'm not as concerned with the gaining of experience in that manner. I've had a few foolish hobbies during my time on this little rock, so I understand those notions.

What has bothered me the most was questioning the rigging and general gear failure and things of that nature. That part is new to me. I haven't had to rely on mechanic components for safety so much before in a hobby like this. Yes, yes, I know cars and the like... but that aside...

Thanks again!
As far as gear failures... note that structural system systems are designed with a healthy factor of safety. Can rigging fail? YES! but it's usually not a catastrophic one. I sailed to Bermuda once and we were on starboard tack for several days in heavish seas... and I noticed that one the strands of one of the shrouds... has parted. My rigging wire is very large...I think it's over 3/8" diameter... maybe 7/16. It is 19 strand so I lost one stand which was woven with the other 18 strands. I was freaked out thinking there would be a cascading failure and I would lose the rig! I used a spare halyard on the opposite tack secured to the chain plate tensioned it as much as I could and everything was fine. Replaced the wire in Bermuda.

Engine parts have a service life... and if you keep a head of things your engine should be fine. But they also have failures and so you need spares and ways to fix things. Sometimes you can't...sometimes you can. My engine has been going for 32 yrs... it's old but well maintained. I expect something to go at any time. But that does not cripple me from using the boat.

Wear and chafe is the enemy of the sailor. Be mindful of that.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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screw reason and sensibilities. when one sails out of a safe place to an unknown , one feels a lil skittish or butterfies for a bit--i get them just before passages and cannot sleep night before any change much less passage making, even over known grounds.


long ago in a disgusting city now to me far away, there was a lil gal with my same name, no not zee, but the other one so few are allowed to know. it was her n me sisters from hell in sporty car race work and in water. she had just gotten deevorsed and her hubby always handled boat out the wicked slip into the working harbor. she told me she COULD NOT get her boat out of her slip.
ok so that lasted only until i got to her boat in her slip and we worked on that issue. she had a 25 coronado sloop with 9.9 outboard. easily manipulated. she was in a slip very near an overpass, aka gangway for marina. in the backwater slips. and rocks. lots of em.
so she manned the engine and i got her out of the slip and into the marina channel. i only taught her what she should have learned from her hubby before divorce. ok so we all donot have perfect vision.
exiting a slip is all geometry. your 8th grade maths. angles and curves.
the difficulties lie only within our minds. we are able to overcome these easily with creativity and imagination.
think about the geometry then do it. have it all worked out before arrival then implement the maths and you have it.
also work out a plan b and c.....
 

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You gotta lean back and trust your rope,

First time I tried to rappel I "kissed the rock" several times before my friend told me, "you gotta lean back and trust your rope". With repetition you reach the point of "I've seen worst than this and nothing broke".
 

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The short bus would be a step up for you.

Far from feeling immortal, I understand that we are all going to die. I am not going to have the fear of death paralyze me.

I don't even pity people like you any more. You will go through life and never live, your loss.
We all understand this as well. The primary difference between you and the rest of us, is that we aren't rude and denigrating about it.

No one here has said that they are paralyzed by fear when sailing. Most people have admitted to some minor feelings of trepidation that we quickly get over, and then enjoy the sailing. Your assertion that you're a man and that we're all a bunch of petrified Nancys is patently false.

Keep beating your chest if it makes you feel manly. I know the path that I've carved in my life and I know that I have nothing to prove to anyone.
 

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"Far from feeling immortal, I understand that we are all going to die."

"We all understand this as well. "

No, not true. In a sociology class I took many tides ago, the professor asked "How many of you are going to die?" Out of a class of about 25, only 2 raised their hand.
 

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Sounds like your more worried about a mechanical failure, just get Sea Tow or Boat US towing and let them worry about getting you back in if there is a failure. Toe there are a lot of more important thing to worry about.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Sounds like your more worried about a mechanical failure, just get Sea Tow or Boat US towing and let them worry about getting you back in if there is a failure. Toe there are a lot of more important thing to worry about.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
The OP is in Newfoundland. I'm not sure those services are available up there.
 

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It's a funny thing, actually.. I can drive for hours without giving the vehicle engine a thought, or worry that it might quit running.

Motoring for a lengthy spell is not the same, I seem always to be 'waiting for the pin to drop'. So to a degree I'm often anxious about that, and about losing a part of the rig or rigging in a serious breeze.

After more than a few decades, this hasn't changed. Docking has rarely been an issue, we've always owned boats that are well behaved in such circumstances - for several years conditions were such that we routinely sailed into our berth, and only might've 'screwed it up' when we rarely had to do it under power. Today with bigger, heavier boats that's not an option but we've got that down and have confidence that we can turn and stop as required in most conditions.

Still get a tad anxious heading into new territory, tidal races, etc. I think it's healthy in that one tends to 'think things through' and becomes at least mentally prepared for some of the crap that might happen. My wife often asks 'whatcha thinking about?' - usually it's too many things to be able to simply or quickly explain... and in any case I daren't say I'm worried the engine might quit... ;)
 

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Sounds like your more worried about a mechanical failure, just get Sea Tow or Boat US towing and let them worry about getting you back in if there is a failure. Toe there are a lot of more important thing to worry about.
The OP is in Newfoundland. I'm not sure those services are available up there.
Yup … no such things up our way. Although you might be able to get a tow from a local fishing vessel.

Like so many have said here Trevor, a little bit of nervousness is normal and a good thing. As long as it doesn’t become debilitating it’s good to be a little bit on edge. Mechanical failures do happen. Good maintenance and awareness of your surroundings and your vessel will go a long way to minimizing any problems you might have. They will still happen, but in some way, it’s all part of the joy of this life.

You’ve already proven your mettle by successfully sailing no small distance through challenging waters in a relatively small vessel. Keep moving at your own pace, ignore the macho idiots, and you’ll be fine.
 
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