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Is "Not Sailing" the GREATEST Sin of Sailing?

  • Yes-- get the boat out there no matter what.

    Votes: 22 53.7%
  • No-- other mistakes or mis-judgements are worse.

    Votes: 20 48.8%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was talking with the wife of a life-long sailor some time ago. He's a friend with more miles and more years on boats than I will ever have. She shared with me the one thing she was completely sick of.

"The one thing he won't stop talking about is how sailboats aren't sailed. He's constantly complaining about how people buy beautiful sailboats, and then they sit in their slips or at their moorings and rot. Old boats, new boats, it doesn't matter. They don't go out, and it pisses him off."

I've pondered that comment for a few months, and now I wonder. Is the greatest sin of sailing simply not sailing? I mean, we can all make mistakes of seamanship, or ding other boats, or run up on a shoal and have to call for help, but does all that typically pale compared to the "greatest sin," which is simply not sailing and not learning and not moving forward? Basically, neglecting the boat yet not letting another take it on. Or worse still, spending all one's time thinking or researching or chatting, instead of doing?

I had another friend who "crewed" for wealthy new boat owners. They could afford 44 foot plus boats, but were pretty much psyched-out when it came to sailing them. The idea of scratching the gleaming topsides was too much, so it was best to keep them tied up and polished as often as possible

Anyway, that's the poll. Along the same lines, I have a modest proposal. Could we have a suggested ratio here of 20:1? Basically, for every 20 posts about stainless anchor couplers, or sailors being rescued, or old shoes, or off-topic rants, could we have have one post about an actual recent sail by the member? :) It's just a suggestion...
 

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Sail time

Jim,
A question - does time spent on the boat working on it count as sail time. I currently have a 3 or 4:1 ratio of work time on the boat versus sail time. But then since I bought a fixer-upper I knew the boat required this commitment. As for total time on the boat I have a rule to get to the boat at least once a month; I live 4 hours (260 miles) away and with family and work obligations that is all I can manage currently. After retirement, a few years away, I hope will be a different story.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Jim,
A question - does time spent on the boat working on it count as sail time.
That's a great question. I believe it was Don Casey who wrote about how working on boats can be an entirely rewarding activity within itself. I'd like to punt on your question, since I don't consider boats being actively worked on as neglected boats. It can take years to restore or build a boat, and that's all part of the learning and enjoyment curve. More power to you! Others go for boats that are ready-to-sail, and enjoy them as well.

I think the "sin" part I'm getting at is neglected boats, new or old, that aren't touched (work needed or no). So, working on a boat isn't sailing, but it's part of the curve, and it is fine by me. In the end, I hope your boat brings you all the enjoyment you hope for.
 

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Yes but........

Does spending a week being paid to bring another MANS boat down the lake and the next summer season teaching him to sail and also having the access to said boat for my family and my toolbox count?Where do i put access into the situation? Does TOOBOX time go count as SAILING TIME?:)
My Question
mark
 

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You cant worry about what others do. You have no control or responsibility. If they want to stay tied to a post and they are happy with that, then they are happy and not in your way. You are happy and you want others to enjoy the same as you. Yes they are missing out, but it would be a sin for you to let that bother you.
As you sail past them, do as the penguins of Madagascar fame,
Just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does spending a week being paid to bring another MANS boat down the lake and the next summer season teaching him to sail and also having the access to said boat for my family and my toolbox count?
Why not? In some ways, it's a paradox is that people who really enjoy OPBs (other people's boats) may be the most intense sailors.

If I'm not mistaken, William Garden boat designs lead to thousands of boats. His largest were up to 231 feet in length. His personal boat, however, was less than 30 feet. He was looking for something more personal when sailing-- something closer to the water.

Now, that doesn't mean that a larger boat can't be fully enjoyed, of course... Ownership isn't the main thing, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!
I agree, but I think my friend was sad about the lost potential of the boats that weren't even visited anymore. The potential is there, but not utilized, not even as a deck chair. Better still, with a sail.

I wonder where your handle "Badsanta" came from... :)
 

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I understand completely. I dont use mine anywhere near what I had planed too. Life and responsibilities get in the way. OK, I know..... yeah just slip the ropes as the tide ebbs away...... nice thought. OK my freaking lunch break is over and I have to get back to the photo ops and the rug rats.
Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.
 

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While sad that so many boats sit idle...can you imagine if the majority of those were out sailing on the same day(s) you are out there?

Let em sit...
 

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Why not? In some ways, it's a paradox is that people who really enjoy OPBs (other people's boats) may be the most intense sailors.

If I'm not mistaken, William Garden boat designs lead to thousands of boats. His largest were up to 231 feet in length. His personal boat, however, was less than 30 feet. He was looking for something more personal when sailing-- something closer to the water.

Now, that doesn't mean that a larger boat can't be fully enjoyed, of course... Ownership isn't the main thing, though.
OPD's,
Laughing...i needed that.Never saw the short for it.Sad fact if i wasnt working and sailing it it would of ben a CHICK MAGNET and never sailed..but we enjoyed it...:D

So i now officially LOG my TOOL BOX TIME:laugher
Mark
 

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The Greatest Sin

Great Post Jim,
I like your friend feel an unattended boat is a great waste. Like many here I don't get to sail as often as I would like, but do try and get out as often as I can.

Do boat projects count? Hard to say, I probably have a 3:1 or so ratio this year (first year of ownership) of working on my boat (therapeutic in it's own right), to sailing but I would be happier if that was 1:3. My slip neighbor has a boat that is in a constant state of project, he hasn't left the slip in over 2 years by his own admission. His boat is well cared for though, and I think that places him above the absentee owner status that is all to frequent. I guess if a Sailnet Moderator can have a floating dockside condo then for the purposes of this forum a maintained but never sailed boat isn't the greatest sin. :laugher

Alright my decision is made, not sailing - sinful but forgivable. Not maintaining your boat - you should be forced to spend a cold weekend in a cabin with SailHog.

Michael
 

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Alright my decision is made, not sailing - sinful but forgivable. Not maintaining your boat - you should be forced to spend a cold weekend in a cabin with SailHog.

Michael
Isn't that very cruel, and very unusual punishment...
 

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I don't sail as much as I'd like to sail, but I've worked out this accommodation: every Wednesday after work is my "boat time." I've been doing this since I joined the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center, and their "open sails" (just show up and get on a boat and sail until dusk) were on Wednesdays. Now that I have my own boat and don't do the open sails any more, that's still my "official" time. My nephew usually comes with me and we take her out until dusk and bring her back in under lights.

I also try to get at least two outings a month on weekends with whatever family I can get to come with me. My oldest was joking with me that "there's always some kind of disaster when we go out," to which I responded, "Yeah, but we've always got back in, haven't we?"

I'm guessing he's talking about the time I changed the impeller in the Atomic 4 and ran into the rare problem of a new impeller in an old pump not performing as well, so that when we were running at low speed while taking the sails down to motor into another creek, the engine starting running hot, and not realizing that merely running at full rpm would have put enough water through the system to cool the engine, I shut it off. Then while re-raising the sails the genny caught on something and tore badly, while a batten in the main managed to break in half and then come out of its sleeve and catch on one of the shrouds so that we nearly tore the main as well. (Managed to prevent that.) So, being afraid that the engine would burn up if we tried to use it we sailed back into Rock Creek without power and they didn't even appreciate my mad skilz that let us sail the ol' girl right into the slip without needing the engine.

Of course, he might also have been talking about the time he and I were sailing, and his noodle-arms didn't have the strength to pull in the main for a gibe in 15 kt winds, and while I was boggling at this fact the wind shifted and we crash-gibed and tore the boom right off the traveler, so that we had to come up and drop the main so that I could lash it down, and we sailed home under jib alone -- which impressed him as to how much speed we could make under just the jib. The A4 was working just fine by that time, and we motored into the slip just fine -- however, the wind blew us back out of the slip before I could get a line on her, and a momentary lapse of reason on my part left me on the dock watching my son on the boat get blown into the boats on the next slip, and my shouted instructions to him about how to get the boat in gear and drive her back in resulted in him stalling the engine out, so that I had to sprint down my dock and up the other so that I could climb across the boats on that side and fend him off, then jump back on board and fire up the engine and drive her back over to the slip and get her tied up.

Then again, maybe he's referring to the time when my middle son and I were coming back from the Inner Harbor, where I showed him the Francis Scott Key buoy, and as we were motorsailing at about 7 kts we started bumping on the bottom near the south shore of the Patapsco River, seconds before running plumb onto a mudbank at full speed, which nearly threw us both into the cabin from the cockpit, and stalled the engine as well. I think that was due to us falling into the shifter. Anyway, we fired it right back up, backed off the bar and motored back to the slip with no further problem.

I mean, really. Stuff like this happens all the time, right? Listening to them you'd think there was something risky about going out with the old man.

Sheesh.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I mean, really. Stuff like this happens all the time, right? Listening to them you'd think there was something risky about going out with the old man.

Sheesh.
As Captain Ron said, "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen out there..."

Our kids still crank on us about the time we just about sank our 20 footer on a beer can race, when the wind went from 4 knots to 35 knots in about half an hour, and our outhaul broke, and the cockpit flooded from the engine well. I won't mention that we were all wearing togas at the time...

We also were members of a club that had "Wednesday Night Sails," and it was an excellent excuse to get out on the boats and learn from others' styles.

My new excuse is that the Volvo manual says that we have to bring the engine up to operating temperature at least every two weeks (for lubrication,etc.), so if we're heading to the boat every other weekend we might as well go out if there's a weather window.

It helps to have a routine and reason, as frequent as possible.
 

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I agree, but I think my friend was sad about the lost potential of the boats that weren't even visited anymore. The potential is there, but not utilized, not even as a deck chair. Better still, with a sail.
Yes, but by the same token, in our increasingly pollution-aware world, the "undriven car" is considered virtuous, even though an undriven car will eventually have a flat battery and sticky gasoline.

Very few people insist that you fill every room of your home with beds or tenants, either, even though this is an efficient use of the space and the utilities.

I really don't care about "dock jewellery". I can't. I am too busy repairing or sailing my boat. The sort of boats that sit gathering dust aren't the type I recognize as boats, for one time. "Working" boats are almost always in worse cosmetic shape than boats that get "detailed" four times a summer, anyway. You can spot a boat that gets sailed by the Bristol-fashion of one part of it, and the presence of a grimy box filled with drippy pots of paint and varnish on a grubby tarp on another part, as the active sailor takes advantage of a still, cloudy day to catch up on brightwork.

I've seen some beautiful, grubby boats in my time, all well-travelled and well-functioning, if not showroom-shiny.
 

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People can't always do what they want to do. Life at times gets in the way.

So- Not sailing isn't a sin. Not maintaining your boat however... I dunno.

What if they bought a boat they don't like though and decided to let it rot because they didn't like it?
 

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For the record, I voted "No" on this poll (see Camaraderie's post on "Another East Coast Rescue - Moonshine" for my rationale). To me, a greater sin is more time spent in maintenance than in sailing. Granted, I'd rather be mucking about with my diesel belowdecks than tinkering with a car, but I'd much rather be SAILING. I'd rather varnish my teak than paint my living room, but I'd rather be SAILING. Chores come with a house, sailing comes with a sailboat and, while there are times when it doesn't make sense to sail, most maintenance can be put off until the afternoon's sail is over.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've seen some beautiful, grubby boats in my time, all well-travelled and well-functioning, if not showroom-shiny.
You remind me of an old thread on another board. It was a debate about whether you should wash your sails or not. One person took the stand that washing the sails and making them shiny white did more damage than good. He added that the boat with the most wins in the local racing fleet was the one with the dirtiest sails, which irritated the heck out of the skippers who followed them in. In part, their sails were dirty because they spent more time sailing than the other boats. In part, it might have been because the sails were performing better because they were left alone...

(Of course, in these days of laminate sails...)
 

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This is not an unusual observation. A lot of club champs have grubby sails and dirty boats...with pristine bottoms, mind you!

The sails are grubby because they are good but well-used and will be chucked after three seasons. The boats are grubby because the crew comes directly from work in street shoes in order to get out before sunset for as much practice as possible.

Is it any wonder the "beat up, disheveled" boats win?
 
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