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Thread: How we change over time

  1. #1
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    Default How we change over time

    I was reading through an old thread I started at SA when I was first looking for a 210. My goodness, but I was so fired up and excited about getting a boat. Big plans and all that. Now I realize that we haven't sailed that boat but a few times since I got it. I plan on cleaning it up and sticking it in the water soon, so it will be ready when the kids come home for the holidays, but as of now it is sitting forlornly in a field at the yacht club, waiting for someone to come along and take notice.

    For 25 years I sailed Stars. I owned six different Stars over that time period, and sailed as many as 60 races a year. We had 15 boats or so in our fleet, but then the older guys began to retire from racing, or pass away, and for guys like me work started being a 50+ hour a week thing and the fleet died. While my kids were growing up I bought a J/24 as something we could do together as a family, and that didn't work out. My kids all did the Opti thing, but they would rather ride with their mom in the motor boat than sail. At least in those days.

    At some point I had this vision of having a 'school ship', and bought the sharpie schooner from Key West. But I never had the time to invest in the boat (it's now in charter service in Destin and Key West) and let it go.

    I have had a Sunfish, a Laser, a Megabyte, a Penguin, an International Canoe, and a couple of Finns. I have had a Beetle Cat. I now have a 15' Handy Cat boat that I like a lot. I like the idea of a boat I can sail by myself, but unfortunately I can not rig the Handy Cat without just a little help.

    I love the Dragon, and own two of them, but there is no one to race against, and I don't spend as much time as I need to down at the club to build the friendships I need to have crew available when my regular guys are not around. And also there is this: I have a torn rotator cuff, a torn meniscus, a bad back, a bad hip and a very bad neck. And the onset of arthritis. And I am only 59 years old!

    I have typed all of this to say one thing: I don't really enjoy sailing any more. Believe me when I say that it makes me sad and ill to say it, but it's true. Sailing is more like a job now than something I look forward to, and the old thing about working on your boat two hours for every hour you sail? I agree with it, but it never bothered me before. Now it does.

    It's not that I don't want to sail. I want to sail, badly. I want that feeling, but to me 'sailing' is sailing Stars against my old buddies, my 'family' of almost forty years ago, and obviously that's not happening. I miss it more than I can say.

    Anyone else go through this? Anyone else have any advice?

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    oh man
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Some of the same change has been going on for me. I've been inspired by the book 'Saving Sailing' however and am involved with the building of a junior yacht club nearby and helping design a different kind of program. The ideas in the book will, if successful, encourage families and groups of young and old together to simply enjoy being on the water, sharing their time together versus being driven by 'round the buoys racing and regional competitions. Those things will continue but in an already active and effective club program.

    I recommend the book to you Mick, if only for the interesting chapters about the history of USA middle-class sailing and urges to be afloat since WWII and how the pastime has developed and changed. It puts a lot of it in a comforting perspective as a cultural phenomenon. https://savingsailing.com/about/
    "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart."

    -W. B. Yeats

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I have thought a lot about this too Mickey. You and I are much alike and have enjoyed your exploration of boats and sailing here very much. I am watching the folks who loved this as much as we do fade and pass. The best of friends, family, regional sailors and the boats we love are wavering. What we have witnessed is the closing of the golden age of sailing in North America. This past week here in San Francisco was the Rolex Big Boat Series. Half as many boats as there were 10 years ago. They were stylish with modern Kevlar carbon sails. The paint jobs on them were beautiful for plastic racers. The owners of the bigger ones were aging out. One of them I knew, died the day the regatta week began at 97. Many of the tacticians were over 70. The young bucks who do sail and crew these boats are now mostly in their 30s or early 40s. It was apparent to me where is the state of sailing is headed just by observation of high end and basic sailing programs.

    No one book or small sailing programs in dominate yacht clubs (which too are dwindling) is going to change this direction. I take solace that I have a nice program around me. It is nice when Families and friends sail when they can. I get to sail and race against the still active ones here. It goes unspoken as this all fades as few 20 and 30 somethings are passing on sailing, boating in general.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 09-20-2017 at 02:00 PM.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Interesting to read everyone's comments here. My perspective is quite different from people who came up with yacht club and racing scenes, where sailing seems to be as much a social endeavor as an activity done for its own sake--that's not meant to be a judgment, just a difference.

    For me, sailing has always been a primarily solo activity, or one done in very small groups (e.g. two boats, two skippers, traveling together). Done this way, in simple light inexpensive open boats (or even small cabin boats if you prefer), I am happy to report that the "work 2 hours on your boat for every hour you sail" formula does not even come CLOSE to applying!

    And I don't feel any sense of loss that sailing seems to be unpopular, having never been a part of the fading scene anyway. Just because there are fewer and fewer people out there doing it, has no effect on ME being able to keep doing the kind of sailing I want to do.

    So, advice? Maybe consider downsizing, and adjusting expectations of what sailing can/should be. I find there's a pretty lively community centered around small boats and solo or small-group adventures--that kind of sailing seems to be growing, rather than fading. Check out some local gatherings or messabouts, or events like Sail Oklahoma! or the Texas 200, or the Pocket Yacht Palooza thing in Port Townsend, etc.

    I know I get a lot more satisfaction out of sailing my small open boat than I ever got when I was sailing keelboats. I for one would not go back!

    Good luck--and remember that if you're not happy with the old ways of doing things, it's never too late to try a different angle.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    What we have witnessed is the closing of the golden age of sailing in North America.
    I kind of think a new Golden Age is happening for small boats and sail-and-oar type cruising right now. Look at how many designers are active in creating designs and promoting events and adventures in small boats: John Welsford, Ian Oughtred, Francois Vivier, Jim Michalak, John Harris and CLC, not to mention the growing popularity of skin-on-frame boats.

    To me, there seems to be a bit of a parallel between today's small boat scene, and the late Victorian-era adventures of McGregor et al.

    Like I said, my perspective of what "sailing" means is probably very different from other posters so far--I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on my take.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Wow Mickey, That is quite a racing resume indeed! Two Dragons! Double Wow!! I paid my dues in small craft too racing Sabot dinghies, Snowbirds and an Albatross and then a Dragon and a PC, a six meter plus the 5.5meter "Gosling" and the R boat #3 "Aloha" and the R "Pirate",my Common Sense #5"Red Witch" plus a string of Herreshoff boats including "Tioga and "Bounty". Then I became a gigalo yacht jockey and raced big boats and did deliveries. Now at 82 years of age I find my frames are a bit tired and my keel sags a bit too! I try to teach my grand kids about sailing and doing wood work but they are into their computer games and could care less! For me, wooden boats have always been an adventure and a way of life! Maybe our new generations will be joining the space race!
    Jay
    PS: Woke up this morning and realized I had forgotten to mention all the schooners and hot P cats and Nacra catamarans plus Kites and Fins I raced along with an International 14 and my Snipe. The Alden schooner "Wanderlure II was my favorite. But the seventy foot "Serena" was a sweetheart! The Herreshoff "Landfall" was sweet as well! It is the friends I have met and kept the world over beacause of sailing that count the most! All in all it has been a ball! And, I aint dead yet!! Please excuse my out burst! JBird
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-21-2017 at 01:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I understand only too well Mickey's sentiments.I used to race at least twenty weekends of the year now I do much less,not because I have stopped enjoying it,rather I have found that I can also enjoy other things and that I have spent too many days when the weather was sub-optimal on the water and lost the time to do other things.I now do the other things more and find that my reduced level of sailing makes the occasions when I do get afloat feel a bit more special.I also feel that the friends I have met through sailing are still friends and always will be,we just meet less often and sometimes without boats around.Maybe its evolution of sorts.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I understand. Grew up sailing. Lately had a Sea Pearl, ( great boat!) and a few years back built a Caledonia Yawl. Also a great boat. But. At some point it became a lot of work, and I noticed that I was getting scared more and more often.
    So, sold the Caledonia to a younger man. Used the money to buy materials. Built a Bluejacket 25.5, designed by this forum's Tom Lathrop.
    It's a stinkpot.
    Couldn't be happier.
    Now I race on a friend's sailboat on Wednesday evenings. Putt-putt around on our new boat the rest of the time.
    We age. Things change. That's OK.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Comes to all of us my friend.
    Do a different type of boating. For me it's offshore. Fiji.
    But it could be a canal boat in Europe. ..it could be a nice launch to gunk hole around in like Dave.or.. or

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I kind of think a new Golden Age is happening for small boats and sail-and-oar type cruising right now. Look at how many designers are active in creating designs and promoting events and adventures in small boats: John Welsford, Ian Oughtred, Francois Vivier, Jim Michalak, John Harris and CLC, not to mention the growing popularity of skin-on-frame boats.

    To me, there seems to be a bit of a parallel between today's small boat scene, and the late Victorian-era adventures of McGregor et al.

    Like I said, my perspective of what "sailing" means is probably very different from other posters so far--I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on my take.

    Tom
    Thanks for including me in there Tom.
    My take is that the op is missing the social aspect of his sport, and as you say there is a growth in the small trad boat cruising scene. Its primarily social in that there is a group of people with similar boating interests getting together with their friends. The op might consider looking around for a group whos interests are similar to his own, and get involved. There are quite a few clubs with their own classes, some not seen anywhere else, and I suggest he spends some time visiting to see what might suit him

    Me, I've been up the size ladder into the 45 ft keelboats, racing every weekend, back down to where I actually raced a Puddleduck Racer ( seriously good fun) and am happy with mostly cruising in 15 ft open boats, getting involved in the occasional all comers race to keep the skills sharpened.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    WOW! What a spectrum of experiences and perspectives this Forum reflects! For my tuppence worth; I figure sailing as a sport has been evolving since Elizabethan times or probably earlier. The metamorphoses we've seen in both the boats, the racing, the social centers it generates all of it are a bit like climate...always changing, never a single identifiable factor in control and always the subject of heated debate. But of all the changes I've seen the biggest change is in me. I really enjoyed the huge fleet starts and post-race parties. Loved the long distance races where you win the race by racing harder at night than the other guys...'cause everybody races hard in the daylight. I'm honored that I got to sail with and against some terrific mentors and racers. But I've done that. My nature requires new perspectives and horizons. Perhaps the OP (Mickey) might review what's coming toward him as opposed to what's going away. He has a huge wealth of knowledge that he can share and pass on if he can find the right recipients (part of the lament), but one thing I've learned is that I can't dictate the terms of teaching. I have to kinda allow a situation to develop and slip in nuggets where I can. If one in a hundred actually get picked up and treasured, I figure it's a win.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I'm not sure if this is exactly relevant to the thread, but I am reminded of an article called 'Cruising Blues And Their Cure' by Robert Persig (the dude who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). The author points out that in sailing, if we sail for long enough, at some point the experience will go through some 'down' times since we can't be permanently on a high. Maybe this idea goes some way to explaining what Mickey is feeling. It has certainly happened to me a few times and I found Robert Persig's article really helpful. My attempt at paraphrasing is pretty mangled and incomplete, but the article is freely available here 'http://www.moq.org/forum/Pirsig/cruisingblues.html'. I can also recommend Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a good read... but that's definitely off topic so I'll say no more here.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I cant imagine not sailing. Currently boatless so I get my fix Wednesday night club racing and the occasional weekend sail with racing friends or with clients whose boats I work on.
    One of the skippers at the club was saying that when he retides next years hes gonna buy a stink pot. Hes just tided of sailing.
    I dont see myself tiring of sailing but my sailing does get tiring. My knees are past their "use by" date and theres a hitch in my right hip so I dont do foredeck unless theres no one else on board that is capable. I stay in the pit and trim headsail.
    I find myself thinking more and more about the next boat being something simple that I can single hand and maybe just accept that crusing out to Block and The Vineyard is just not happening anymore. Ill stick to local overnight spots and maybe venture a long weekend once in a while
    Sailing is a part of me and like some.other larts of me its a little worn down and creaky but as long as it works, Ill keep working it.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Mick, I'm thinking hard about finding some place along the Florida panhandle to Alabama coast where there might be a funky marina for snowbird/liveaboards. I've got the word in on a tunnel stern Atkin cabin cruiser for when the owner decides to pass it along. Any thoughts of where to look? Obviously we'd need secure, summer, (preferably) indoor storage from heat and weather. My brother and his family will be spending the winter in a beach shack near Appalachicola, Florida and we'll visit for while. I'd like to do some driving 'research forays'.
    "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart."

    -W. B. Yeats

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    David, in my area I would seriously consider the Josephine/Pirate's Cove/Bear Point, area. It is a madhouse in the summertime, but you will be at home in Maine then. How big a boat are you talking about?

    There is also a cool marina in the Bon Secour River. My brother in law keeps in trawler at 'Big Daddy's' just across Fish River from us, and that's a pretty cool place. Like anywhere on the water, there are lots of cool places around here.

    Please let me know how I can help?

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    The Atkin is about 30' and could conceivably rest on a flatbead and be hauled inland, or double as an RV-type arrangement. Thanks for the suggestions! Will be in touch as the time closes in. Love the 'riff-raff' music at Pirate's Cove!! http://www.piratescoveriffraff.com/


    Last edited by rbgarr; 09-21-2017 at 05:56 PM.
    "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart."

    -W. B. Yeats

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Pirate's Cove hosts a wooden boat festival each May, and there is a wooden boat builder that lives close by.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    Pirate's Cove hosts a wooden boat festival each May
    I saw that. Have you ever been?
    "When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart."

    -W. B. Yeats

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Sure. A buddy of mine used to have two wooden Dragons he kept at Pirate's Cove. The Point YC is on the same property, and I have a good friend who is a fellow Fish sailor who is a member there.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  21. #21
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Guys , I have to tell you that you have made me feel better about things. I have been thinking hard about over forty years of sailing, all that it's meant to me with the friendships and such. I dragged the 210 out of the weeds yesterday for some much needed TLC and will sit it in the water soon to swell up. Plan on doing some daysailing with my kids this winter as they visit in and out.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you guys. You helped.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Chiming in late Mickey, but for what its worth, i reckon theres more to sailing than just racing. And theres also the other type of racing-that is on OBP's-other peoples boats. I think trying to get a crew together every weekend of the season would become old pretty quick. Youve hung in there doing the hard stuff a long time. Maybe youd enjoy crewing, but letting someone else do all the ownership? And maybe there are owners in your club who would love to have an experienced, reliable crew member? And as others have said, theres cruising, messing about, enjoying your own or your family's company.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I wish my story were as good as some of these.

    I grew up in a 420 and then a Westphal (not a good boat).

    I bought a 505 in 1982 and sailed it for a few years. It was my dream boat and still is. I started to refinish it, got overwhelmed, and all but gave up sailing. It eats at me, but too many things keep me from sailing again. It really kills me to think about it.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Sounds like "sailing" is synonymous with racing sailboats. That's only one of a half-dozen subcultures loosely tied by the presence of water. Everybody gets older and changes. For me, the activity, surroundings, and sensations of sailing seem to get more compelling rather than less. Never had a great deal of interest in racing, however, other than as an excuse to sail someplace with a group.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    If I was to synthesized this all down to my perspective really. Boating is fun. Sometime a sail by yourself for an afternoon, weekend or even longer is great fun. Sailing or boating with others is another dynamic which has no other substitute.

    Mickey reminds us that much of our passion of sailing is about sharing these moments that turn to years.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    For me it's about being out on the water. Sailing? Sure. I own two. Rowing? Yup. I own one. Stinkpotter? Sure. I'm building a 17' cuddy-cabin sportfishin boat. Kayaking? Maybe. I own two that need to be finished off. SUP. Very likely. I've been fantasizing about building one for myself. I've been a boater, swimmer, surfer, and skimboarder at various points - pretty much my whole life. Was at our Puget Sound cabin, they tell me, and out on one of the boats, the day after birth. But I came to sailing late... so the bloom is not off the rose.

    From that perspective, I'd also consider the notion of downsizing. Smaller boats are much less work. And much easier to manage. And - with the right boat, and the right setup (sail, rigging, controls, trailer, etc.) even old folks like me can sail within our physical limitations.

    And you can easily go solo, on your own schedule. Or... you can team up with various other small boat enthusiasts. Locally, we have the Coots. http://www.coots.org/ -- which is also the local chapter of the TSCA. https://tsca.net/. If there is no local chapter, it's easy to start one.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  27. #27
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    I think being too goal-directed can spoil activities which can stand on their own. Fishing or racing subsumes or detracts from certain inherent charms of boating. Solo sailing is not always a thrill a minute, but gives a number of "perfect moments" that are absolutely addictive. It CAN be frustrating that you aren't sharing these with others, but maybe install a deck camera to capture peak highlights for show and tell.

    I am returning to solo sailing for my go-to pursuit of transcendence later in life. Aviation was a false god, as was all the other things enumerated in the Peggy Lee song "Is that all there is?". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe9kKf7SHco
    Last edited by rudderless; 09-30-2017 at 02:44 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    It's been a couple decade since I've chipped ice off a boat and gone racing in a snowstorm. But I find I enjoy the other facets of sailing even more as time goes on. I love taking people sailing, and I love sailing by myself, I love talking about it, designing boats, and daydreaming about my next boat.

    I'd get rid of the clutter, and keep the boat you like and use the most.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How we change over time

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    I was reading through an old thread I started at SA when I was first looking for a 210. My goodness, but I was so fired up and excited about getting a boat. Big plans and all that. Now I realize that we haven't sailed that boat but a few times since I got it. I plan on cleaning it up and sticking it in the water soon, so it will be ready when the kids come home for the holidays, but as of now it is sitting forlornly in a field at the yacht club, waiting for someone to come along and take notice.

    For 25 years I sailed Stars. I owned six different Stars over that time period, and sailed as many as 60 races a year. We had 15 boats or so in our fleet, but then the older guys began to retire from racing, or pass away, and for guys like me work started being a 50+ hour a week thing and the fleet died. While my kids were growing up I bought a J/24 as something we could do together as a family, and that didn't work out. My kids all did the Opti thing, but they would rather ride with their mom in the motor boat than sail. At least in those days.

    At some point I had this vision of having a 'school ship', and bought the sharpie schooner from Key West. But I never had the time to invest in the boat (it's now in charter service in Destin and Key West) and let it go.

    I have had a Sunfish, a Laser, a Megabyte, a Penguin, an International Canoe, and a couple of Finns. I have had a Beetle Cat. I now have a 15' Handy Cat boat that I like a lot. I like the idea of a boat I can sail by myself, but unfortunately I can not rig the Handy Cat without just a little help.

    I love the Dragon, and own two of them, but there is no one to race against, and I don't spend as much time as I need to down at the club to build the friendships I need to have crew available when my regular guys are not around. And also there is this: I have a torn rotator cuff, a torn meniscus, a bad back, a bad hip and a very bad neck. And the onset of arthritis. And I am only 59 years old!

    I have typed all of this to say one thing: I don't really enjoy sailing any more. Believe me when I say that it makes me sad and ill to say it, but it's true. Sailing is more like a job now than something I look forward to, and the old thing about working on your boat two hours for every hour you sail? I agree with it, but it never bothered me before. Now it does.

    It's not that I don't want to sail. I want to sail, badly. I want that feeling, but to me 'sailing' is sailing Stars against my old buddies, my 'family' of almost forty years ago, and obviously that's not happening. I miss it more than I can say.

    Anyone else go through this? Anyone else have any advice?

    Mickey Lake
    Depends on a few things, but two Dragons? ha ha you glutton for punishment! No average man can really have more than one boat, I dont mean the collection of dinghies but the principle way that you enjoy the water. Dragons are pretty much single purpose and if both are wooden then that is a nightmare. I got a glass boat and ended up sailing a lot more and doing a lots less maintenance/fixing.

    Accept it, and maybe you need to have a good hunt for your mojo, I am sure its there somewhere!
    whatever rocks your boat

  30. #30
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    3,084

    Default Re: How we change over time

    I was fortunate enough to move to Maine where going afloat just for going afloat is always interesting, with sometimes a little challenge thrown in. Changed from racing the International Canoe to racing on OPB, the older the better. Racing, my way of life at one time, became less interesting as I grew to dislike the carnage and crowding at starts, and realized that my eyeballs were incapable of seeing lifts and headers. Why older style boats? The kit now available to the casual sailor pretty much makes just sailing fool proof. Rigging and sailing the old ones, gaffs, lack of winches, small tackles always has stuff to teach. And in my fleet, there isn't much conventional. Lugs, sprits, gaffs. The most challenging is learning to run the square sail on the faering. Going out for a skiff sail leaving the rudder on the beach. Digging out the IC on a fine sailing day. In the winter there is learning to run the antique stern steerer; so far only gotten TIPPY up to 45. What I have been trying to do overtime is keep learning to stay fresh. And along those lines, just bought my first glass cruising boat, one of Nigel Irens little luggers.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Vernon Langille, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity and a quiver of unamed 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    magnolia springs, alabama u.s.a.
    Posts
    12,637

    Default Re: How we change over time

    A short update: I am listing two of my racing boats for sale and consider myself retired. I painted in the waterline on the 210 yesterday and had planned to scrub the inside of the cat boat today but it has started to rain.

    I just need to keep working on getting back on the water, and that is coming.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    21,974

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,805

    Default Re: How we change over time

    Good to know that your are working toward getting back on the water Mickey.It might be fun exploring the other ways to enjoy being afloat in addition to racing a boat you enjoy.I also have a suspicion that you might be a great candidate for introducing younger sailors to the customs,traditions and enjoyment of sailing.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Palo Alto, California
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: How we change over time

    When I was young my dad and I raced an International 14 on Lake Washington in Seattle. This was back before trapezes were allowed on 14s. Still it was an exciting boat to sail, even during the winter Frostbite series when disassembling the boat at the end of the day was so difficult because our fingers had all gone numb in the cold. Dad was a world class glider pilot but a so-so sailboat skipper so we usually came in last. The one consolation of our poor finishes was the turnabout race, at the end of the season. For this one race everyone changed boats, with the last place crew sailing in the top finisher's boat, and so forth. This meant once a year we sailed in the beautifully maintained cold-molded wooden 14 owned by Baird Bardarson, a three-time national champion. Sailing Dr. Bardarson's boat didn't improve our finish much but it did help start my love of sailing wooden boats.

    Eventually I realized that I didn't enjoy racing. The thought of sailing a particular course, just because that was what the race committee decided, seemed contrary to the individual freedom I came to associate with sailing. Of course, I appreciate how racing helps to hone those boat handling skills that are so important to effective sailing. However, my racing now is limited to an annual informal race with a local group of small boat cruisers.

    These days the guiding principle for my activities is from a lesson I learned riding bicycles. My wife and I have ridden a tandem for several decades. We used to be very competitive, recording the times for all of our routes and charging up every hill like our lives depended on it. Then one August day in the Alps, after a freak snowstorm the day before, we came upon two German kids climbing the same pass. During the storm the day before, my wife and I had found refuge in a beautiful Swiss mountain inn, sleeping under down comforters, after a long hot bath, followed by nice meals in a picturesque dining room. The next morning our expensive bike was clean and our fancy riding clothes were dry. In contrast, the other two riders had pitched their heavy canvas tent on the shoulder of the road when their clumsy 3-speed bicycles had lost traction in the snow. They said it was so cold that they had to get up and walk around in the middle of the night. But still, they were having a great time - probably even a better time than we were.

    So the lesson I learned that day was that the best cyclist - or sailor or whatever - is not the one who does it the fastest, but the one who enjoys it the most. That is how I try to live these days.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lake Champlain, Vermont
    Posts
    2,258

    Default Re: How we change over time

    So many former sailors investing in displacement hulled power boats for similar reasons.

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