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Old 10-14-2008, 01:25 AM   #15
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 37

Most times, when I talk about sailing to friends and family, they fall asleep or their attention span cuts into an eight. But once in awhile, there is one whose eyes bulge out and declares "I want to be a sailor and sail around the world!" I think to myself, who am I to kill his dreams? I was once like him ... inexperienced, knows nothing about sailing, cannot differentiate between port and starboard. But I was bold enough to join my partner in his dreams to sail away. I took the whole year reading up on sailing books, but nothing prepared me to the realities we faced when I lost sight of land for the first time. Now, I reflect back on a lot of what-ifs: what if my partner was not strong enough to handle emergencies? what if he didn't know how to fix the broken halyards? what if he gets hurt? what if he was not solid and calm enough for both of us during storms? I don't think I can handle being out in the ocean by myself, but my partner and I, we work well together and complement each other. After several days in stormy seas, we just have to remind each other that we are tired, but we have only each other to depend on, so we have to push each other to survive. Without this inner strength, it would have been so easy to just give up.


= Davao, Philippines,
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:56 PM   #16
Join Date: Apr 2008
Home Port: Stockton, MO
Vessel Name: Ceilidh
Posts: 160

While I was unaware that this fellow had lost steerage, I have a hole pre-drilled in the top aft edge of my rudder and filled with expanding foam so that I can punch it out to use lines and winches for steering. I can steer by balancing the sails in most conditions should I lose the rudder completely. All of this is not meant to minimize what he went through. I am happy that he was rescued and wish him well. I hope that his dream is in no way reduced and that he finds the means to complete all of his dreams!

Many of the comments here that followed the original post were irrelavent to it and generalized toward those who don't take the time or responsability to learn enough sailing skills to get them through before they depart on "the dream". That is of great concern to the many knowledgable sailors on this site who so selflessly guide those of us learning the ropes. We thank you for your efforts!

You are appreciated, and your concern is well noted,


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Old 10-14-2008, 07:38 PM   #17
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I will print your post off and tuck it in my wallet. When I finally get to go and if all does not go well. I will pull it out and read it. Sort of a "I told you so to go".

Some people never have the courage to shove off from shore. Maybe the 8 days was not a failure as you feel it was. I have had some bad days on terra firma. Why did you not give me a heads up.
Maybe I am reading your first post wrong? I take that as a sly insult. I bet you were a favorite of your teachers. If I am wrong then my apologies before hand.

I think when you lose everything you own, because you are not prepared, and your boat is not prepared. That it is truly a failure. A failure of being prepared.

I was in some weather very simliar to this youngman. I was furling a sail when it raised throwing me oveboard. I was lucky when the boat fell off a wave it snapped me back onto the boat compressing my spine. My jackline saved my life. I could not move for 12 hours wedged in the corner of the cockpit. Sail down, and motor idling I was running out of fuel with nealy 100 miles to get to port.

There was fuel in cans, but I was frozen because of my back. A cruise ship came over the horizon blazing with lights. They came alongside as dawn began to lighten the sky. I held the mic in my hand to the VHF considering asking someone to fill my tanks. They came so close I could see people eating breakfast looking at me. I was sure they were talking about me. Look at the man in his boat, and thinking how lucky I was. Little did they know.

I have been shot on the street, passed a kidney stone, and had my fingers smashed from my hand by thugs. You put these three together, and none of it came close to my pain that night. How many times do you urinate in the night? If you can't move where will that take place. That's right on yourself.

I could not bring myself to call out to the ship. It was my boat, my problem. I put myself there, and I had to get myself out of there. It was my pride for who I am. I either had to go alone, or stay at home I chose to go alone, so there I sat in a puddle with an oppurtunity for call out for help. Tears filled my eyes as I watched the ship disappear. I was alone again, and alone with everything I owned.

I gently placed the mic back into the cradle, and with my arms alone I pulled myself from the cockpit. With a little help from my feet I got myself onto the roof of the house. You never heard the such cursing, or probably never witnessed a grown man cry like I did from the pain. Eventually I got to the cans, and my back started to pop. Each time it popped the pain calmed.

I rolled to the other side of the boat with a can in my arms, and placed the can near the open deck fitting. At the shrouds I pulled myself up with some help from my legs.. I wasn't steady, and my shoulders rested against the shrouds. I lifted the can, and when I placed the can outside of the shrouds my back sounded like a small string of firecrackers. Half the pain was gone. I could now crawl, and I got another can, and once again when I placed it outside of the shrouds to lift. My back began to pop, and half the pain again was gone.

Slowly I made my way below. I cleaned myself, and changed clothes. I grabbed something to eat, and propped myself up in the cockpit. I cursed myself, I cursed the boat, and I cursed the weather. I thought when I get to port of walking away. I sat there for half a day bending, and stretching along with a lot of cursing.

Then I felt a little breeze on my cheeks. I turned Frolic up into the wind, and cursed as I raised the main. I turned down wind, and unfurled the jib. The next morning I found myself rounding the arches in Cabo. Furling the sails, and motoring into a quiet marina.

To this day my back hurts, and that was Dec. 22nd 93. Sometimes my leg goes numb, and my breathing is difficult. When this happens I think of that black night with my body suspended over the lifelines. Thinking in slowmotion that I was about to be drug to a drowning death by my own boat. Sailing is not a slick magazine cover.

That magazine cover is your reward. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is not. Before this youngman left I gave him 2 pieces of advice. Never let a schedule force you to leave in bad weather. Always remember it is a marriage between you and your vessel. You take care of her, and she will get you to your destination safely.

He forgot to take my second advice, and he left her adrift.

Someone said it much better. His problem was equivalant to a flat tire on a stormy night. He could have sat tight if he had been prepared. He wasn't prepared, so he got sick, and then fear set in, and then he pushed the answer to all problems button on the EPIRB.

Sailing offshore is a challenge, and especially if you choose to do so alone. When you choose to to take on a challenge you better be prepared to face it. I don't complain about the rescues of skiers, hunters, and even sailors. When you refer to YOU TUBE, and there should be only 15 mph winds on a 2200 mile passage. Then Mr. you are not even close to being prepared.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:58 PM   #18
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@ imagine2frolic

Here bloody here!

Such wise words and spoken with experience.

Sailors have always been self-sufficient. It was in the nature of the life in the past. You left land and that was it, unless you happened to stray upon another vessel or you fetched a port. Nowadays we are succoming to the modern concept of calling for help when anything out of the ordinary happens. I accept that in everyday life. You live in an appartment and your deep fryer catches fire. You ring for help. That's life the way most people live it but once you decide to stray from the normal course of modern living you must be prepared to do without the conveniences; and that includes "petty rescue".

Again going back to my years at sea in the coast guard, sorry if I am boring you with this, but if we got a call for a medical evacuation from the islands to the mainland during the summer months it was usually a summer guest with a bad headache or someone who had missed the last ferry and played sick to get a free ride to the mainland. In winter time, when only fishermen and their families were left on the islands, if a call came you did not mess arround but got there asap because you knew it was serious. Those guys waited until the Grim Reeper was knocking at their door before asking for help, When they got it their gratitude knew no bounds either.

The bottom line is that most of mankind is getting soft; and that is alright as long as you do not choose to stray from the easy life but for those who do pit themselves against the elements then let it be known that that is one shrew even Petruccio could not tame.

Aye // Stephen
Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2



= Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:50 AM   #19
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Home Port: Ballard
Vessel Name: VAGABON
Posts: 65

Very perceptive I2F.

I am just saying this forum in general is a little dour. Sort of like going to the dentist sometimes, painful but worthwhile. I am trying to bring a little different perspective. A perspective that is a little less furrowed brow. From the don't leave the front porch until you have thought of everything under the sun that could possibly or conceivably happen to you school of thought. And by the way make sure you watch out for pirates, wear clean underwear, and do not forget your galoshes.

Your heroic tale is quite admirable of forging on despite the elements and physical limitations. Some more critical than I, would say you should have had those sails stored away prior to the storm. After all someone prepared for all things ocean, should have seen that one coming. Also fuel in the can when there is room in the tank, does a sailor no good.

That description of the injury would lead me to suspect a ruptured or compressed disc. Nothing really to do for it unless you can not stand the pain, your bladder leaks, or your foot drags. That medical opinion is worth what you paid for, consult your primary care provider for a diagnosis.

Who knows maybe the next time the kid will hang in their for 16 days before he bails out. Perhaps he thought he was going to get rescued by that same cruise ship in time for the midnight buffet.

I have a saying I use with my kids, I can not remember if I borrowed it from someone or came up with it on own. It goes like this; Anyone can walk off the field a winner and a champion it is easy. The setbacks and failures in your life and your response to them will ultimately define your character and success longterm.

Thoughtful and Sly in beautiful downtown Adak, AK.

Motivational Group Leader and Life Coach
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by duckwheat View Post
Some more critical than I, would say you should have had those sails stored away prior to the storm. After all someone prepared for all things ocean, should have seen that one coming. Also fuel in the can when there is room in the tank, does a sailor no good.

Anyone can walk off the field a winner and a champion it is easy. The setbacks and failures in your life and your response to them will ultimately define your character and success longterm.
An experienced sailor would not say that those sails should have been stored away prior to the storm, because that sail was still raised and on the mast. They know what I2F was doing, and when you reef a sail as the wind increases you have to secure all that excess sailcloth that is now sitting on the boom instead of flying on the mast. An experienced sailor knows that sometimes the first inkling of a storm approaching is rough and confused seas, but he still has to secure the boat for the eventual nastiness. An experienced sailor is not clairvoyant, just more sensitive to the clues around him. He reefs the main when the wind that is increasing is due to a storm, not just a local "windiness". One can wait for a weather window, but long passages are longer than most weather windows. Eventually everybody will encounter challenging weather, and it behooves him to know what to do then.

Friends of ours lost their rudder during a Newport to Bermuda race many years ago. We asked them "what did you do?" The response was "we kept going." Dragging warps and careful attention to sail trim enabled them to make it to Bermuda without hollering for help. They said that they had a lot of involuntary tacks and jibes during that trip, but they still made it to Bermuda faster than a number of comparable-sized boats with intact rudders. Their experience had a lot to do with their continuing. They knew what to do, what to expect, and did not consider their predicament sufficiently serious to ask for help until it came time to enter the harbor, when they could get a tow for a few miles.

Luck, both good and bad, visits the experienced as well as the inexperienced. The experienced sailor, however, usually has the knowledge to recover from the bad patch. Not always, though.

And that's where I paraphrase your second homily. Anyone can reach port when the sky is clear and the winds are mild. The setbacks in a passage are the true test of a sailor and his approach to them is what determines success or failure. Losing one's boat is not necessarily failure, but abandoning one's sound boat due to inexperience and lack of preparation is.

Not dour. Pragmatic, and perhaps just slightly self-righteous. But only just slightly. The ocean humbles us all.
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:46 PM   #21
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It's called reefing, and when the motor runs long enough. You will run low on fuel.......GEEZE you have got a lot to learn duckwheat. Everybody has got to get through life differently......BEST WISHES in your continuing success....i2f

You may have the last word if you wish, because I refuse to dance with 2 left feet.

Stephen & JeanneP.......
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:37 PM   #22
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 129

Originally Posted by Charlie Jones View Post
While I agree totally with the first post in this thread, let's not forget the fact that the boy finally pulled the EPIRB after his rudder shaft had broken and he had zero steering ability.
Well - "zero steering ability" - not at all true. There are several good ways to steer a sailboat with a broken rudder and or even a totally missing rudder. Loosing your rudder is a terrible inconvenience! Not a disaster - unless you are in breaking seas while actually entering a port surrounded by rocks. Otherwise, there is a pocketfull of techniques and procedures to adequately steer the boat back to a safe harbor. I think that the previous posts all confirm that having spent the time to educate yourself about sailing and then acquiring the practical skills and experience is just plain common sense. Be it climbing moutains, technical hiking, or sailing the oceans - education and experience makes the difference between having a good time or having to be "extracted by expensive taxpayer rescues."

Given good karma and a lot of luck there are plenty of examples of successful "on the job training" while sailing off into the sunset. But these are in the extreme minority of numbers of people out there on the oceans. Mother Nature does not suffer fools and the ignorant.
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