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Lessons from messing around in boats
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Alicia
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Oct 31, 2006, 5:22 AM

Post #1 of 6 (12942 views)
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In other threads there seem to be a few stories from lessons learned the hard way by messing around in boats as kids.
What invaluable lesson did you learn as a kid while messing around in boats??

The story:
Summer between 6-7th grade I am windsurfing in the middle of the lake near Dalton,MA.( for reference I am at this point a scrawny beanpole girl maybe 80lbs 5'8'') The rest of my family is back at the beach/bbq area that we usually used as sorta a base for windsurfing/hiking /swimming ect. This lake was surrounded by the berkshire mountains. I am windsurfing along not paying attention to the weather at all. A storm comes over the hills, suddenly the wind is overpowering and there is lightning. I can not keep the sail up because I do not weigh enough in the very high winds. I fall into the water. Knowing I can not get the sail back up and seeing the lightning, I put the sail over the end of the windsurfer and laying down on the windsurfer swim it to shore. The wind is really kicking up but I am not strong enough to pull the whole board over the shore I ended up on by myself. So in the shallower water, I dismantle the windsurfer and take sail and board out of the water seperatly. In the process of doing this the sky has gone black and I ended up around the curve of the lake so I could not see the bbq area. Thinking my parents would just get in the van and drive around the lake and pick me up, I walked to the road that ran in a circle around this lake and sat down by the side of the road. An hour later a cop car drives by and stops and asks me if I saw the girl who had gone down on the windsurfer. My parents saw my sail go down and thought that in the storm I had drown when a sail did not go back up directly after the storm ended. ( despite being a great swimer and wearing a lifejacket) Without my knowing it there was already a dive team in the water looking for my body.

Lessons
1. Pay attention to the weather. In particular look behind you for where the weather is coming from
2. Have an emergency plan so that if something goes wrong everyone is on the same page in terms of what to do.


SailTrim
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Oct 31, 2006, 5:06 PM

Post #2 of 6 (12924 views)
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Mine will be a bit more light hearted. I sometimes wonder if McGuiver could have been a sailor (he did live in a house boat), at any rate growing up on sailboats in my youth and my father's influence; taught me the art of "jerry-rig" and creative problem solving (duck tape can fix anything) and knot tying (one of the most useful skills and something I recall my father was very diligent about teaching)! If you are in a jam on a boat, away from the dock you can't just give up . . . you sort of have to deal with it and come up with a solution. I feel that in my day to day I still apply these principles.

Oh yes . . .my father engraved into my head what it meant when someone screamed,"BOOM" . . .you duck . . that is a good lesson to be taught right away even if as a child on a keelboat you may not have to actually duck for many years.

Thank you Dad!


The Publisher
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Nov 1, 2006, 6:47 AM

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From Emma Paull:

As a 30 year old female who is nuts about sailing I agree with Dave Doody (letter in 2210) that you don't see enough children simply messing around in boats but have you thought why? One of the reasons is because the parents of these kids don't do their own exploring as much anymore, and the kids aren't given the chance to just go sailing.

I have spent my whole life in boats, my parents met buying a boat from one another, but both my parents came from non-sailing parents. To start sailing they individually begged, borrowed and built their own boats. Both used to tell me their own stories of dodgy sailing trips in very small boats with no engines around the Solent when they shouldn't of because the weather, tide or boat just wasn't up to it. But they did it because they never had anyone saying you can't do that, its too dangerous, and they proceeded to learn valuable seamanship lessons with each mistake they made. When I sailed with them in various size and shape boats, I was slowly taught the basics - like always go upwind or up current first depending on the strongest so you will always get home again, never be afraid to stop somewhere early and wait until conditions get better, and my favourite, always take a 10 pence piece so you can ring for help when it all goes wrong!

Growing up on the Arthur Ransome series of books (a must for any sailor) my friends and I started exploring our local river and then the Solent from the age of 11 in our Toppers and Mirrors until I got the racing bug which I still have today, My boat handling and seamanship skills at the age of 15 were far superior to the rusty ones I have now, and you would be amazed how often the rowing skills I learnt as a child have come in handy trying to get home from the pub!

From this great childhood, my philosophy is if you want the kids to sail for fun, make it fun, show them what’s out there, give them the skills and the knowledge to be safe and able to get home again and then send them out to explore and make their own mistakes. You’re not a bad parent if you let your child go sailing without you, a coach or a safety boat and you would be amazed how much their racing skills will improve from simply messing about in boats.




duckydinghy
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Nov 7, 2006, 9:46 AM

Post #4 of 6 (12748 views)
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From this great childhood, my philosophy is if you want the kids to sail for fun, make it fun, show them what’s out there, give them the skills and the knowledge to be safe and able to get home again and then send them out to explore and make their own mistakes.

That is a recipe for a lifelong love of sailing and accomplishment. Hats off to your parents, Emma, I will try to do the same for my kids!


apgraham
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Nov 8, 2006, 5:36 AM

Post #5 of 6 (12683 views)
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The exact quote (in a telegram from the father on the China station with the Royal Navy) was: "Better drowned if duffers. If not duffers then won't drown". Best books IMHO were "We didn't mean to go to sea", "Coot club" and "Peter Duck".


Codger
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Nov 16, 2006, 6:55 AM

Post #6 of 6 (12589 views)
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 Simple - Wear your PFD!





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