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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

15 "Undeniable Truths of Sailboat Living"

posted by Ardys

15  “Undeniable Truths of Sailboat Living”

Most people are able to name at least some of the laws of the natural world; the "Law of Gravity” being one of them.  Less familiar to the general population however, are the “Undeniable Truths of Sailboat Living.”  For some reason, these are not well documented in sailing literature, however, they become apparent after spending a little time onboard the sailboat that is your own.  Some of the most annoying (and expensive) of them can be divided into these following four categories:  1- Line Handling Quirks, 2- Inevitable Injuries to Health and Pocketbook, 3- Mysteries of the Bowels of the Sailboat, and 4-Things Lost to the Deep.

1)  "When pulling in errant lines, a portion of that line will kink and get caught on something (even the most innocent, tiny protrusion will do) requiring you to go on deck to dislodge that kink three out of five times."  In heavy seas, the probability increases to four out of five. 

2)  "All lines, even those that have been properly coiled and secured, will snarl immediately when the line is grabbed with urgency to prevent boat damage." (Yours or someone else's).

3)  "Dock lines tossed from a departing boat toward the dock will leave a portion of that line dangling in the water."  This is so that crusty things can grow on it in your absence.

4) "Lines tossed from a boat approaching the dock to a waiting helper on land are at least as likely to land in the water, as they are to hit said helper upside the head."  On occasion, the line will be caught in the hands of the waiting helper, and when that does happen, it is wise to thank the gods of the sea for your good fortune.

5)  "Lassoes are best used on cows; not pilings."

6)  "A boom which is normally positioned to one side of the boat for increased comfort in the cockpit while at anchor, will invariably rear up and bean you in the head if you even think about moving it to the opposite side of the boat."

7)  "When out to sea, a man sits to pee.  When back on land, he stands again."  Disregard for this truth will eventually (if not immediately) result in injury to the offender and most certainly, strained relations with the female crew members.

 8) Seemingly innocent conversations with random sailors about the relative safety advantages of various new technologies for sailboats will take major tolls on your pocketbook.  “The insidious desire to make improvements, often referred to as ‘upgrades’ on your boat will sneak into your consciousness uncensored by practicalities of your ability to pay for said upgrades.”  Once the notion has taken root, it will not be extinguished without throwing some money at it.  The expression that “a sailboat is a hole in the water into which you throw $100 bills” is derived from this.  Whether upgrades have made sailing physically safer for anyone remains open for debate.

9 A & B)  Carrying back-up boat parts is prudent.  When you are tempted to discard these extras as "taking up valuable space" in your limited storage room, refer to the following pair of truths: 
 "All back-up parts thought to be "unnecessary" will become essential after they are discarded" and,  
"The likelihood of finding the necessary back-up part onboard rises significantly after new replacement back-up parts have been purchased.”

10)  "Items which are stowed so as to be readily available when needed will inexplicably disappear at least once per week."  No crew member will admit to knowing anything about how that item transported itself to a new location.

11)  "Decisions about relocating deep storage items onboard must be attempted when stone cold sober and wide awake."   Relocations at any other time will result in an inability to ever find that item again.

12)  "Claims by manufacturers that their products float, should be met with healthy skepticism."

13)  "The probability of losing a screw needed to complete a boat project will increase exponentially when it is the last one of its' kind onboard."   It will slip through your fingers, sometimes into the bilge, but more likely, overboard.  (I have heard sailors say that 'if you need only one, you want to buy at least four more so you have enough of them to throw overboard.') 

14)  "Winch handles and other expensive tools will bounce and make a bee-line toward the water when dropped on deck."

15)  “Boat hooks are almost as likely to leap out of your grasp into the water, as they are to actually grab hold of the thing for which you are reaching.”

These 15 “Undeniable Truths of Sailboat Living” represent only a portion of the multitude that exist.  Experienced sailors possessing contradictory data or anecdotes about these and other “Undeniable Truths” are invited to leave their remarks here for the benefit of other less experienced sailors.  As one of my favorite Canadian philosophers of the Twentieth century likes to say, “Remember, we’re all in this together.”

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