Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rules of the road....er, water...

I just started reading William Seifert's incredibly dense and informative Offshore Sailing:  200 Essential Passagemaking Tips Having just barely scratched the surface of this book - I can already tell it is going to become a "bible" onboard Rasmus - meaning we will reference this daily for information, inspiration, and solutions.  It's laid out like a text book - but reads more like an interesting "how to" guide.  He lays things out simply and clearly, like these basic rules that will pretty much ensure you have a good (and safe) journey:

1)  Keep the water OUT of the boat.
2)  Keep the crew IN the boat.
3)  Know where you are and where you are going.
4)  Keep the rig in the boat (for all you non-sailors, the "rig" is the mast, sails and all that fun stuff).
5)  Keep the keel on the hull and the deck intact.
6)  Be able to control the vessel's direction.
7)  Have enough experience or crew with experience on board so that passages are pleasant and not terrifying.

He then goes on to say "If you can do these seven things, the rest - with a little effort - will generally take care of themselves".  However, exactly how EASY are these seven things to do?  There are SO many unknowns in nature.  I read an article the other day about a race to Mexico where a J105 ran into a pod of whales, got hit and sank within 5 minutes (everyone was fine).  How the heck do you prepare for, let alone aviod, a pod of migrating whales!?!  There are horror stories of all sorts of flotsam and jestsam lurking a just a few inches below the water's surface - waiting to put a hole in your boat.  Then there are rogue waves, microbursts, and all sorts of other "freak" weather phenom. While these thoughts are unnerving - statistically speaking, we are in significantly MORE danger driving our cars to and from work every day.  Sobering.

The main point Mr. Seifert drives home is, essentially, to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  Control what you can and don't waste too much energy trying to control what you cannot.  Important lessons to heed both at sea and in life.

Brittany & Scott


Last Paradise said...

Yeah, I'd agree that those 7 are pretty important... Remember that the good *usually* outweighs the bad... and that storms DO end :) Hey- quick side note: Not sure if it was a real sinking or a scuttling (who would DO that?!) but when we were in Fort Jefferson a boat *hit* something under the surface and sunk- they were able to get many many things off before taking their dingy to the boat the were buddy-boating with... (a little fishy to me) Crazy to think of hitting a semi-submerged container/whale/other garbage out there, what is this world coming to?!

rant over.

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