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The Art of Sailing

Discussion in 'General Sailing Discussion' started by JWY, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    There is a current thread where a member made some pretty broad and insulting statements about sailors. No one defended the art of sailing. Have you been aboard sailing along at 11 knots, slightly heeled, complete silence except for the rustle of the sails? Owner/skipper says, "think we can get her to 12 knots? And with the whir of a winch and tug of a sheet, all watch the anemometer as the speed creeps up slowly and then the celebratory "ahs."

    I owned and sailed motorsailers for 10 years and have been selling them for 20+ years and I personally don't know of sailors who prefer motoring their sailboats, nor have I ever been aboard a sailboat with an ignorant owner.

    I think the art of sailing might be a dying concept, but let's not kill it with broad and irresponsible generalizations.

    Judy
  2. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    My first memories were on a rented 18 footer on a lake in Holland. The rental fleet was 300 boats. When I was 6 my dad got me an 8 foot dinghy with sail and kicked my ass off the dock. I raced the dinghy and later a two man 16 footer with main/jib/chute/hiking straps. Races were held in two classes (A/B) each field was over 60 boats. Family vacations were on cabin boats. 21 feet, 27 feet, 38 feet. Lakes, bays and coastal. 1200 nm a year on weekends and a three week vacation. Later in the US when I was dating my wife I took her all over the eastern end of Lake Erie in a J-22 with a 5 gallon bucket for a head and a case of cheap red wine. We had a good time and I married her. That day we sailed off on a Catalina 30. Later we had a 250 on a trailer and took it all over the East Coast. The last sailboat was a Catalina 42 which I bought out of foreclosure, put three hard months and 30K into, and then we put 7000 nm on it in 4 years, including three round trips from the Chesapeake to Florida, outside, half of it solo. I can do things with sails many people can't do with motors. I feel what it's going to do before it does it. I can set it up on autopilot, go to sleep and wake up when the wind changes 10º. To me a sailboat is like a chisel to a carver, a brush to a painter, a hammer to a carpenter. I don't have to THINK about what to do with sails and rudder to get the desired result, the boat is an extension of my body. And, I am not an anomaly. My entire family and tons of my friends learned the same skills. Just like the good skiers you see on the mountain, or the musician in a bar. I've met tons of racers over the years that had similar skills. Sure, there are idiots but that's the same in the power boat scene. Just take a lawn chair and go sit by the boat ramp, or watch some Haulover Inlet vids. That said, I agree that like many other hobbies the numbers are getting less. Current generations increasingly stay indoors and stare at screens. Yacht clubs are losing members, both power and sail. Races are getting smaller.

    But to Judy's point, some people just like to be dicks and rag on everything that they don't know or don't understand. And they like to do it in groups. The lynch mob mentality started in kindergarten and goes all the way up. We're really seeing it in politics and social issues these days.

    Haters will be haters.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Respectfully I beg to differ:
    " Sail boaters are no worse about not monitoring their VHFs than any other boaters, in fact I've found them to be better, however they may not reply due to their radios often being down in the cabin. If you want to contact them on the ICW try sound signals. They understand them where most powerboaters don't. Rarely will you find a sail boater who doesn't understand playing the wind and currents where most powerboaters think they're in a car on a highway and don't have a clue about how to play wind and current. Considering the increased chance sail boaters have for injury from lines, booms and narrow deck space and how much more vulnerable they are to things like lightening strikes and getting caught out in bad weather I'd be surprised to find them less insured than powerboaters.
    Yes they do spend most of their time on power. In fact when I see a sailboat with its mast stepped I jokingly call him an honest sailor, but truth is that's because it takes space and wind to sail. Trying to back a sailboat into a slip is way harder than even a single screw powerboat due to its hull shape, keel, COG and vulnerability to wind and current at idle. As to abandoned boats, I've seen a lot more power boats end their lives run up on the shallows than sail boats, but I assume that's simply because there's more of them. As I've cautioned many before it sucks to be the last owner in a boat's life, power or sail. When the hurricanes hit most powerboats head for a safe harbor, but for a sail boat that could be a multiday endeavor. So they're often left where they are.
    Yes sail boaters tend to be cheap, but so do trawler owners. Tips are bad, and they don't hire captains to put their boat where they want to spend the weekend.That's probably more to do with them being into boating more for the salt life than impressing people. They don't buy their boats so they can hang out in the marinas and show off how much money they have."


    Personally I feel that all boaters should cut their teeth on sailing. So much could be learned. But then again I also believe all boaters should be required to take a Basic Boating course. Maybe I'm just old fashioned or have seen too many avoidable idiot moves and tragedies.
  4. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    There's a reason most of the world's navies start their cadets on sailing vessels.
  5. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    +1
    I started sailing 57 years ago, and found out 32 years ago that it's: "Power for pay, and sailing for play". My first paid command as captain was aboard a 65' Swan ocean racing yacht. The first time I drove a twin-screw powerboat was aboard a 70' sportfisher. It was in a narrow channel when a large fleet of vessels under sail were sailing out to the race course for the Nationals (Etchells and Solings). The captain of the sportfisher stepped away and said "You drive; you know what they''re going to do".
    I found the comments in the other thread about how simple it is to sail rather amusing. Give those folks a sailboat when it's blowing 40 or there's almost no wind and we'll see how easy it is to sail.
  6. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen Member

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    The art of sailing still exists, but it could appear to be less visible since modern boats have auto-pilots and automated sails (plus thrusters and engines) so an inexperience sailor can sail alone successfully.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Setting a boat up on autopilot and going to sleep is a safe practice???
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    It's not something I could ever do personally but it's done all the time with sail and fishing boats. Put a collision alarm on your radar and the appropriate lights and day shapes for NUC, and hopefully make sure you won't be crossing any shipping lanes.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    AND HOPE you wake up when the alarm goes off......
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Hence why I couldn't do it. :cool: I have trouble taking a nap even with someone else at the helm unless I know them real well. However all powerboat operators know the lights and day shapes for NUC and know to stay clear right?:rolleyes: In all seriousness though proper procedure would be to set a alarm to wake you every hour for a deck check. If you're only making 4 or 5 kts. and in open water you can be pretty aware if there's anything in the next 5 or 10 miles of open ocean you need to be awake for. Lots of single handed sailors and small fishing boats moving around the world. Most real boaters tend to be very light sleepers. That wave hitting the boat differently, a change in list or an odd sound like water dripping shoots me out of bed fast.
  11. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Quote: Have you been aboard sailing along at 11 knots, slightly heeled, complete silence except for the rustle of the sails? Owner/skipper says, "think we can get her to 12 knots? And with the whir of a winch and tug of a sheet, all watch the anemometer as the speed creeps up slowly and then the celebratory "ahs."

    That does not sound familiar but I have been on a spinnaker (A sail ) reach doing 16knots and it is anything but quit. The blades and rig are moaning, The ocean spray requires goggles. Not something I do for fun but to prove I am nuttier than the rest of the fleet.
  12. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    That's exactly what I did. First off, I was more than 100 miles off shore for most of the legs. 99% of what I would have run in to was over 300 tons and had AIS (this is early 2000's, recreational active AIS was still very expensive) and I had a LOUD alarm tied in to it. Did the job several times. I was awake daylight hours, with an occasional early afternoon nap, and slept 50 minutes at a time from sun down to sun up. Also, I slept in the cockpit where my brain was monitoring the rig the water and the autopilot. Anytime something went whacky I woke up..... I had a poopie suit within reach, a ditch bag and an EPIRB. Everything has a risk involved in it. Evaluating and mitigating to the maximum extent possible is the key. There are plenty of folks on the water that don't know what they don't know. And then there are the Captain J's of the world that think they know everything and we know nothing.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Heck I'm sure a lot of people sleep while they drive their cars.:confused:
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I don't think "we" know nothing and I know everything. Far from it, I am heavily immersed in the marine industry it is my livelihood and my passion. I also work with some of the top yacht manufacturers and use and learn new technology all of the time. I am a professional mariner. You take what I say and twist it into something it's not. I have around 100 sea days on sailboats over 40'. I've even run a super sailing yacht with 100' mast and 10.5' draft. After dozens and dozens of ICW trips North and South, I find that most (NOT ALL) or a larger percentage of sailboats doing the North/South trip on the ICW are not very knowledgable mariners. I do try to be as courteous as safely possible when encountering them as well. But I'm also not going to sit behind a sailboat all day that's doing 7 knots and not answering his vhf, nor slowing down from 7 knots. After attempts at reaching him, I will pass him at 8.5 knots when safe to do so.

    Safety is my number one job when it comes to operating a yacht. I have done many overnight ocean trips on everything from 24'- 109'. I have never, ever, had nobody on watch at night in the ocean or 24/7 while the vessel is underway. Nor do I do over 10-12 knots at night either, Ever. No professional mariner would find that prudent. YMMV. I do 12,000-15,000 NM's a year on a slew of different yachts, each and every year for the past 18 years as Captain and my USCG license does not have any situations on it. And have done that mileage for another 7 years prior to that as mate.
  15. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    I've actually never argued that point with you, as I know it to be, unfortunately, more true than not. Except they are knowledgeable but they've turned the radio OFF because the've been waked too many times to be able to talk into a mic without being rude. There are a LOT of power boaters that are, often intentionally, rude to sailboaters. It's a two way street, and education is needed all around. You make it sound like a one sided problem, it is not.

    I've been on both sides of this enough to have that opinion.
  16. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    Heck, I only do perhaps 3-4k NM per year, but no one is going to be asleep on a watch, day or night.
  17. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    Really? We have them on, and never are truly bothered by them. Again, we seem to have a difference with regard to sleeping though a watch. If awake, any radio chatter is going to be somewhat useful to helping keep the watch alert. But if you're somewhere that has persistent chatter, enough to be an irritant to a sleeper, well, I think you're in waters dense enough with traffic to be awake. You cannot assume just because you're under sail that others will see you or heed to you.
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You do get locked on only one view of things is valid sometimes, but that comes from you generally knowing what you're talking about. My wife once accused me of always having to be in control. I said 'Hello!! Look what I do for a living and to stay alive'. So now I make a conscious effort to see other views. Sometimes it works. lol.:rolleyes:
    Everything else sounds right. I'd expect nothing less from a professional.
    When a sailboat is cruising at 6 / 7 kts they expect you to pass at +1 and they're fine with what they get from that. The big mistake a lot of boaters make is they don't wait till the slow boat gets inside their wake before hitting the throttle.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Most of us here are coastal cruisers and we generally don't single-hand extended blue water cruising. But there's a lot that do all around the world, and even they have to sleep. Man adapts to his circumstances.
  20. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I have friends who have done it and they usually take 20 min naps...