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well guys, sorry if i'm not politically correct on the topic or as well versed as some think you should be, but the only thing our forefathers had to learn with was a boat, sails, water, wind, and maybe a compass. there were no sailing schools or books or videos, no radar, loran, or gps. there was however, a desire to discover a means of travel that was unsurpassed in its day. a way to traverse the great seas and oceans in search of new lands and worlds. sailing was not a sport or a means of relaxation, more like a means of survival. it was work. it was toil. it was everything it is not today. i'm grateful to those who went to sea before us, and helped enable us to be able to live our lives as we do today. those were the truly great sailors. mostly unnamed, or remembered, they were the true pioneers, not that bunch in the covered wagons we think of. what would it be like if we sailed because we had to, instead of wanting to? i look at the last remaining dredgeboats, (skipjacks you might call them) and i see a dying, if not already dead era. oh, for the days of old, when life wasn't so complicated. you went to sea, and hopefully you came home. you rested and then you did it again. and again..............
 

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Discussion Starter #3
don't know, just had something on my mind, i guess. learn how to sail however you want, i chose the primitive way. to me that worked just fine. i can go pretty much anywhere i need to, maybe not as fast as others, but to me part of the journey is the experience of the journey. i don't over complicate it with a lot of technical stuff..........
 

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I agree to an extent but i do believe that the invention and use of technical equipment is not a bad thing it's just there to make life easier and can also help in some tricky situations in context it's exactly the same with sailors of old imagine if charts or celestial were a new thing but people chose not to use them because it took away what in their mind was a sense of adventure,
There would be quite a few vessels leaving for an ocean passage and not reaching their destination
 

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well guys, sorry if i'm not politically correct on the topic or as well versed as some think you should be, but the only thing our forefathers had to learn with was a boat, sails, water, wind, and maybe a compass. there were no sailing schools or books or videos, no radar, loran, or gps...
While there were no modern electronic navigation aids, of course, there were certainly books, schools and universities devoted to navigation, chartplotting and semanship.

However, Columbus, DeSoto, Vespucci and the like weren't setting out for a pleasure cruise or day sail like I do.

They sailed to trade and make money!!
 

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I agree with the primitive way I taught myself with a few tips from dad and figured it all out myself now I can singlehand my catalina 22. I also agree technology isn't a bad thing as long as thats not what teaches you. This brings us back to where everyone repeats over and over that technology is there to only help but not to only rely on.
 

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I disagree.

Learning how to sail well is something all sailors should aspire to. If someone, with the same type of boat, is sailing faster in the same conditions, then they are also sailing better. I don't care how someone chooses to learn, there are many ways. The use of technology or not is a matter of preference. If that's going to help you learn, then go for it. Personally, I think racing is the best and fastest way of learning.

An appeal of sailing is that it's something that you can strive to master. Not everyone can do, much fewer can do it well. Settling for just moving around on the water and calling it "sailing" doesn't cut it. Sailing badly is sailing badly, no matter how much fun you're having. Learning is learning, no matter what tools you're using or whether it's professional or recreational.
 

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I disagree.

Learning how to sail well is something all sailors should aspire to. If someone, with the same type of boat, is sailing faster in the same conditions, then they are also sailing better. I don't care how someone chooses to learn, there are many ways. The use of technology or not is a matter of preference. If that's going to help you learn, then go for it. Personally, I think racing is the best and fastest way of learning.

An appeal of sailing is that it's something that you can strive to master. Not everyone can do, much fewer can do it well. Settling for just moving around on the water and calling it "sailing" doesn't cut it. Sailing badly is sailing badly, no matter how much fun you're having. Learning is learning, no matter what tools you're using or whether it's professional or recreational.
Well said. If its worth doing, its worth doing well. Self taught is great, however, it cannot and will not replace the benefits of outside influence. Why post on forums if one can learn everything for ones self? Its more efficient to take a class, post on forums, and gather many views than be a slave to one teacher (yourself). Just like someone who posted they don't have a traveler or a vang on their boat and "get around" just fine. That's great! But you'll only win races against people with the same lack of equipment or if you're racing against hacks. Point is, that person would not have known that unless they polled other people. Maybe they'll think about adding a traveler or vang, and take advantage of anothers opinion/experience.
 

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You can learn by trial and error or, with an instructor, learn from some one's mistakes.

In the "old" days your became a capable sailor and captain by "learning the ropes."

Jack
 

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I understand where you guys are coming from with the racing but not all of us are racing. Racing relies on everything equipment and skill more than just day sailing and sometimes you don't want to be trimming the sails all the time and stuff like that but with learning it also depends on the person some people learn better by action and others better by reading.
 

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I think most of what we are talking about depends on situations if you are sailing 1 or 2 miles offshore and you have good local knowledge then i don't see any need for electronic equipment however if you are doing a long passage then i would reccomend GPS, Radar e.t.c
the problem is that the sailing industry commercial or pleasure is growing at an alarming rate which makes what we do more of a risk all be it one worth taking.
I think if i were crossing the English channel for example then i would take a radar over most old methods of Nav
 

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I have no idea how one learns to sail: I never learned to sail myself though I taught it. I was just born sailing. :D

There probably are no trully "right" or "wrong" methods to learn to sail, just wrong results.
It's not about gadgets and electronics. It's about being a sailor... And a good and prudent sailor will make best use of the available tools. Including gadgets and electronics when they make sense and "add value".

I believe however that I learned more over the years from incomptent people -because it's so easy to see what they are doing wrong- than I may have from top sailors.
When you're with someone at the top of his game -any game-, they just make it look easy, which makes it difficult to understand and identify what they're doing.
If you're lucky things are so obvious to them, they can explain and enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience, and that's when you really need to listen!

Eric
 

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I understand where you guys are coming from with the racing but not all of us are racing. Racing relies on everything equipment and skill more than just day sailing and sometimes you don't want to be trimming the sails all the time and stuff like that but with learning it also depends on the person some people learn better by action and others better by reading.
Please understand that I am not saying that you have to race a boat to sail it well. However, I will say that there is no better way to learn. Just because you're cruising and not constantly making adjustments, doesn't mean you shouldn't know how to make those adjustments if you were so inclined - or if you needed to. An extra knot can make all the difference if you need to make a daylight landfall or are rushing to meet a slack tide, etc.

Sailing is technical. Meaning there are specific ways of doing things. Those that know how to do the many tasks involved with sailing better than the next are the better sailors. Like all technical things, you need to do it to learn it. I can spend all day reading about welding, but I guarantee you would not want to rely on the welds I make after I put the book down. Here's a hypothetical question for you:

You have two people who both got into sailing exactly six months ago. One reads all the books he can lay his hands on, whiles his hours away on internet forums and has read every manual, go fast how-to book, and sailing adventure novel that the local Barnes and Nobel carries.

The other has done some reading, but he's also taken a sailing course, volunteered for all the Wednesday night races, has helped changed the fluids and filters on a few boats, and has done a delivery when the wind really picked up.

Which one would you rather have with you as crew if you were badly injured offshore and one had to bring you home?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
excellent engagement, guys. i learned the basics from old timers (men who worked the water with sailing vessels for a living). i then purchased a small planing hulled scow and practiced what they told me until i got it working and working good. only then did i upgrade. these guys depended on their vessels for their very lives, not to mention their livelihood. they knew how to get out of serious situations by becoming part of the boat they were sailing. i was told this back in the early seventies. they are all gone now. i believed it then. i believe it now. boats have a spirit, a personality if you will. when you learn to become one with your vessel, she will teach you things you never thought possible. they are not just an inanimate object you can force your will upon........
 

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Sailing badly is sailing badly, no matter how much fun you're having. Learning is learning, no matter what tools you're using or whether it's professional or recreational.
Hmm...I guess the question arises as to who is qualified to make the determination about what is bad sailing versus good sailing.

I have met/seen a lot of "sailors" who were quite adept at pulling various strings and staring intently at some instruments in order to suck the last 1/10 knot out of some wind. They often wore matching jackets and seemed to have spent the afternoon visiting the same cosmetic dentistry parlour.

When the weather is good and the sun is shining, and on a new, well-equipped boat, these folk seem fairly confident and competent.

It has also been my misfortune to be out in poor weather off the southern coast of Newfoundland with some of them. Quivering, cowering idiots who were not even useful as ballast because they were too scared to sit still.

I agree that racing is an excellent way to learn how to trim a boat and speed her along. It can be a very enjoyable way to spend some hours.

As time progresses though, and one's perspective on the world grows wider, the racing becomes less important.

There is nothing equal to the solace afforded by being on the water, the absolute independence, freedom and solitude are unmatched. Why on earth would I want to speed that along, disturb my patterns of thought by hopping up constantly to adjust my cunningham, because - God Help Me - I might not be going as fast as I possibly could on that point of sail.

So, while those who find great joy in madly scurrying from place to place should by all means feel free to amuse themselves in that manner, remember that oft times with sailors, as with many other aspects of life, things are not always what they appear to be.

Sailing badly is quite acceptable as long as you are enjoying yourself and not endangering others. Sailing well is equally acceptable. Sitting in judgement is rather less acceptable and something best left to the Divinity (if indeed he/she/it exists).
 

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QUOTE=zz4gta;432017]Well said. If its worth doing, its worth doing well. Self taught is great, however, it cannot and will not replace the benefits of outside influence. Why post on forums if one can learn everything for ones self? Its more efficient to take a class, post on forums, and gather many views than be a slave to one teacher (yourself). Just like someone who posted they don't have a traveler or a vang on their boat and "get around" just fine. That's great! But you'll only win races against people with the same lack of equipment or if you're racing against hacks. Point is, that person would not have known that unless they polled other people. Maybe they'll think about adding a traveler or vang, and take advantage of anothers opinion/experience.[/QUOTE]

You better listen to Magellan here, he can sail around in circles fast.
 

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.....I agree that racing is an excellent way to learn how to trim a boat and speed her along. It can be a very enjoyable way to spend some hours.

As time progresses though, and one's perspective on the world grows wider, the racing becomes less important..
Agree totally.

We have passed through this cycle over the past 25+ years - raced and cruised lots and learned lots early on, relaxed a bit moving to low stress local casual racing, and now pretty much strictly cruise save for one or two annual regattas that are still enjoyable.

But I have to say that, after tweaking and racing for 20 years we (I) don't sail the boat much differently when we're cruising. Still looking for that last part of a knot, better angle, (drives the admiral crazy!:) ) But there's still the satisfaction of passing a similar boat, arriving at the anchorage an hour before the other guy....

How we all get to this stage differs - and who cares?
 

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Lapworth, that was an offensive post and also clearly missing the points made.

I'll say it once more real simply:
- Sailing is, in part, about doing something well. It's like any craft, a real sailor will aspire to improve, regardless of the level he's currently sailing at. If your jib is fluttering and you don't feel like putting the drink down to fix it, then fine. If I'm cruising, I don't worry about minor tweaks either. However, if you're out bobbing around with no idea how to make your boat go where you want it AND you could care less because it's not about how well you do it, then you're a bad sailor. If you're out there with fenders hanging off all sides of the boat, scallops along the headsail, and you're trying to improve - then good on ya. Then you're not a bad sailor, just one that's learning, which is something we should all be doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
aye NOLAsailing, simply i can understand. sorry i don't carry the command of sailing lingo as some of you guys, but i learn a little something every day. hell i don't even know what a lot of those fancy gadgets are. but i'll tell you one thing, short of being dismasted, i can get my boat and my precious cargo to port. i may not have been around sailing as much as y'all, but i do know the sea in other vessels. i can make auxiliary power work even if its been submerged for months. yet i still manage to learn something each and every DAY that improves my skills. no mr. lapworth, i will not sail in circles, but i can guess the circles you sail in is within your little circle at the local yacht club. the great thinkers and doers of the world, am i right? i'm not at all impressed......
 
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