This is the first post in a new series I’m calling ‘Stupid Questions New Sailors Ask Online.’
There are a number of questions that are asked over and over again on Youtube, Facebook, sailing forums and websites all over the internet – and these questions typically come from people who have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.
I say this not to be mean, and I don’t make it a habit of stereotyping people, but in this instance it’s true. At one point or another we were all new to sailing, and we were all idiots too.
And as every sailor knows once you’ve spent even a single day aboard a sailboat, you’re now an expert!
But seriously, maybe I need to follow this up with a series called ‘Stupid Advice Sailing “Experts” Give Online.’
Sailing largely attracts people with big dreams, and sailing around the world aboard your own boat is one of the most exciting, adventurous dreams on earth! The first step to evolve from dreamer to doer, is to start figuring out the list of steps it will take to make your dream a reality.
As it happens all too often, an incredibly excited new sailor hops on the internet trying to figure out exactly how to make their big dream a reality, and is then hit head on with everything they need to learn and the thousand decisions they need to make, before they can take one concrete step forward. This is when newbie sailors, in hot pursuit of their dreams, end up short-circuiting and turning to those “online experts” for advice.
DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming to be an expert. Consider me an observant, independent third party with a little experience offering my opinion for free. And remember – advice is as good as it costs, and it’s just as important to vet the advice-giver as it is the advice given.
With this series of posts, our goal is to give the new sailor a starting point for thinking about the questions that immediately spring to mind once the decision to go voyaging aboard a sailboat has been made. We plan to do this using my our own thought process and experience as a framework to provide new sailors with a point of reference to begin their thinking. Our experience and our thoughts are not intended to be read as gospel, but to to add a second point of data from someone who has followed the same path and made the leap from dreamer to doer.
What are the questions beginning sailors ask about long-term cruising?
- What is the best bluewater sailboat?
- How much does it cost to go sailing/cruising?
- Should I get a monohull or a multihull?
- Which is better: ‘Boat A’ or ‘Boat B’?
- What anchor should I buy?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’m sure that there are hundreds of other questions. But before traveling too far down the wrong path I’d like to get a sense for what you think we missed.
What other stupid questions have you seen asked over and over again?
What stupid (or maybe really good) question do you have that you’ve not seen a good answer to yet?
I have watched all your videos from the beginning and I say with my hand on my heart seeing No 38 showing Lauren crying, broke my heart. I so much wanted to help you both. I have been treated much the same by a marine electrician who promised a quick result which ended in months of worry. I hope you get it sorted soon but in the meantime don’t let it get to you, and enjoy your beautiful life.
From an old sea dog
Hi Graham, sorry to hear you’ve had a similar experience and thank you for your kind words.
I doubt anyone has asked this before, and I am fairly certain it is silly question but as this is anonymous here I go!! My father and I took out a Scamp he built on a simple sail. He was in charge of the sheet I had a hold of the tiller. I was situated on the port side he on the starboard. He asked me to fall off and head toward the “brown house” on the shore line. We were maybe a mile out. I did as he instructed. The bow was pointed directly at the “brown house” but he insisted I fell off too much. We proceeded to get into a very colorful sailing argument, I said it must have something to do with perspective and why wouldn’t he have a compass in his boat yet and then I let it go after he insisted that I have something terribly wrong with my vision! From that point on he would say head to the “brown house” but I would shoot for the “grey house” 200 yards up from “his” landmark. My question is why would this happen? We are sitting directly across from each other, about 4 ft apart, both looking at the bow but seeing it pointed and heading to two different spots. He is much taller than I am and weighs more, the boat was heeled to his side. I figure there is some rule of perspective that would answer this but I just don’t know what it would be! I just need to show him I’m not crazy, or I need to actually get my vision checked! Haha!
Signed, frustrated sailing daughter
Isn’t it strange how something so seemingly insignificant can cause such a ruckus between loved ones? Lauren and I still struggle with communication like this at times. It’s hard to understand how we’re both looking at the exact same thing and seeing something so totally different!
Fortunately this one is easy to explain. It’s the difference between converging and parallel lines. Even though you and your father are 4′ apart, your perspective of what is “inline” with the bow, is actually completely different. Your line of sight looking over the bow a point 6′ in front of you changes drastically if you move side to side. You mimic this scenario by holding a finger out in front of your face, and close one eye and then the other “camera 1, camera 2”. Notice how much your finger appears to move in relation to the background when you close one and then the other? 🙂
Hi! This question doesn’t exactly fit under ‘new sailors’… more like… ‘want to become a new sailor.’ I’m fairly new to your blog/videos but I haven’t come across anything yet regarding learning to sail/sailing school etc. Do you have any advice about learning to sail and the pathways you both took to become confident sailors (confident enough to live the dream!!!)?
Happy adventures 🙂
Hi Leah, you’re right we haven’t talked much about this, and it is a topic we have in the queue we’d like to cover. Stay tuned. We’ll discuss our sailing experience, and thoughts on how to get more experience coming up in the future.