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I've been sailing for almost 6 years. I've owned two boats...a Catalina 27 (which is at the bottom of Lake Travis - long story...and a Hunter 40 which is standing proud in Galveston Bay ready to take me and the boys to the Carib).

I'm on the boat tonight. Working on some things that need attention. And I suddenly felt it. That "thing"...

I'm starting to understand this very complex machine. It doesn't overwhelm me as much as it used to. And that should be a great tonic to the newb. If I can feel it...you can.

Sure...there's a world of stuff I need to learn (I'm still a newb)....but, overall, I get it. I know what she needs. And that's very, very cool. That's the essence of BFS. You suddenly know your boat.

When did you get that "special thing"?
 

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I think you first have to feel overwhelmed or over your head, so to speak, to arrive at such an epiphany. For me, it's just been a process of learning new skills, or refining one's I already had, that gives me a growing sense of confidence in my ability to deal with whatever needs dealt with.

I went in, believing I could handle owning and living on a boat (though not that I knew it all), so I never felt overwhelmed by what needed done. And that's not a knock on other people, it's simply part of my personality and experiences.Different people grow their confidence in different ways. The main thing though is to learn and do.
 

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Very cool Smack. Feels great. I start by trying to do all the maintenance that I can. After I've done it once, I may hire someone the next time. This way, you really get a sense of her systems and set up. Then, there is no substitute for going on a cruise for a week or two or more. Move about as frequently as practical, anchor, dinghy to shore, provision, cook aboard, etc. You'll be one with the universe when you get back.
 

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On boat 5 now smack, It usually takes me a couple of years with a boat new to me to feel that. Need to have touched or fixed every subsystem at least once, so there are fewer surprise breakdowns. Need to have sailed and motored in all kinds of different conditions. Need to have cruised a bit, because cruising forces you to exercise all the systems.

Everyone is a newb in new boat to them.

Time for you to plan a BFS.
 

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On boat 5 now smack, It usually takes me a couple of years with a boat new to me to feel that. Need to have touched or fixed every subsystem at least once, so there are fewer surprise breakdowns. Need to have sailed and motored in all kinds of different conditions. Need to have cruised a bit, because cruising forces you to exercise all the systems.

Everyone is a newb in new boat to them.

Time for you to plan a BFS.
Yup, you've nailed it... I don't care how experienced one is, it usually takes a LONG time to get any boat 'Right'... Even with high-end custom builds, I've had clients who were still sorting out and fine-tuning stuff long after the initial commissioning. See Stanley Paris as a prime example :)

For me, with my own boat, I've probably had 2 such "epiphanies"... The first was when re-powering the original Palmer gasoline engine with a diesel, a project which involved tearing out the old stingers and starting from scratch. That was the project that convinced me, "Yeah, I can do this, and anything else that needs to be done to this tub..."

But, the most significant 'Moment' for me, was my first sea trial of the first Sailomat wind vane I put on the boat years ago. (I've since upgraded with a newer model) THAT was an eye-opener, I realized for the first time the possibilities that now lie in wait... It was like, "Wow, this means this thing can take me ANYWHERE... :)

 

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To answer the question, right before the stories stopped. If you've been here a while, my first couple of years I would post narratives of my misadventures, making light of all the newb-mistakes and mishaps. The first installment started as a "captains log" of my first "cruise" down the coast. Quite funny, and so I am told. So I kept it up. Well, the stories are gone now. I know my girl and she knows me. No more stupid mistakes. The ones that happen now are few and dangerous, so I won't be laughing about those, or posting them.
 

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When I started living on my boat, and cruising her, that was when I felt I started to get in tune with the boat. I could almost feel when something was going out of whack. And, I stayed on top of every piece of gear, the second it needed tuning, repairing, adjusting, whatever.

I admit, I feel like I have lost that sense a little bit sense coming home and just cruising her on weekends. And, it's easy to put off small jobs when you know you aren't going anywhere.
 
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