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I don’t know why it surprises me so but I am continually amazed at how fixed some people can be in their ideas.

  • Person 1: We do it this way.
  • Person 2: Why?
  • Person 1: That doesn’t matter, this is how we do it.

Do you remember the story about cutting the ends of the ham? If not, check it out on that link as it’s relevant to this post.

At the beginning of the month, some new friends invited us to join them for dinner on their Amel Super Maramu. One of the things that he shared with me during our visit was that he relocated one of the throwable flotation devices from its original place at the stern to a new spot just adjacent to the helm. This made perfect sense to me. The seconds saved in deploying it during a MOB situation could be critical. Why was it at the stern in the first place? I don’t know. That spot obviously makes sense in an aft cockpit boat, but is it logical in a center cockpit vessel like an Amel?

Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the smartest people I know are the ones who are most open to learning. When presented with new, verifiable information, they are the first ones to adopt new ideas and methods.

In the audio interview we just did with The Sailing Rode podcast (not yet released), Rebecca commented that she felt that we were both still beginners. I agree 100%, and I think this goes hand-in-hand with keeping an open mind. Even though I taught martial arts professionally for over two decades, I always considered myself a student!

Remain teachable. It’s an extremely valuable quality.

15 Comments

  1. Every so often I go back and revise old blog posts, either because I’ve radically changed how I do something, or because someone mentions copying something that that I’ve since learned to do better.

    The thing I like best about writing about new ideas is that forces me to explain why you should agree with me. You may not–and I would like to know why–but I have shared my reasoning and data.

  2. You guys are too young to remember The Mothers of Invention but their leader, Frank Zappa, was a brilliant mind and musician.

    Other than singing “watch out where the doggies go and don’t you eat that yellow snow” he also said:

    “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”

    ― Frank Zappa

  3. Here! Here! You never stop learning….and just the other day I saw a mouse/rat trap that was the bomb, made from a plastic bottle.

  4. I would guess that the reason the flotation device is typically on the stern rail is because a person who falls off a moving boat is going to be astern when you go to throw the device to them. It really doesn’t make any difference to me. Since I almost always sail alone, if I fall off the boat there won’t be anybody left on board to throw it no matter where it’s stored. Rule #1 for me is: Don’t fall off the boat.

    • That makes sense but how long would it take the crew member still on board to get to the stern to throw it? And while rushing back there, I’d bet there’s a risk of them falling off too. I think getting it in the water quickly is more important. It’s unlikely that you’d be able to actually throw it to them anyway if you were sailing at any reasonable speed.

      • Mike,

        it’s very luring to optimise things because they make sense without checking, if the difference is relevant.

        Do the few seconds saved make any difference?
        Can you throw the ring better from the stern than from the cockpit with the dodger and Bimini in the way?
        What if you’re on the wrong tack, is the thing still easier and safer to get?
        Where does it snag easier on running lines or gets ripped off in a marina?

        The best place is probably in an open slot under the cockpit bench where the thing isn’t in the way, protected from the sun and easy to reach even in bad weather.

        In short, there are many more factors to consider and in the end, it’ll probably makes no significant difference where you mount it as long as everyone knows where it is.

        • Do the few seconds saved make any difference?

          My guess is yes. It certainly won’t hurt.

          Can you throw the ring better from the stern than from the cockpit with the dodger and Bimini in the way?

          On our boat, with the arch on the back and possibly even the dinghy in the davits, throwing it from the side would be easier. There is still one other life ring at the back though, just in case.

          What if you’re on the wrong tack, is the thing still easier and safer to get?

          I debated moving the second life ring to the port side but decided against it. IMO getting a flotation device into the water quickly is the most critical thing. You are not going to get the ring right to the person, regardless of where it is, if you are sailing at a 5 knots. This is especially true if you need to run to the stern to get it.

          Where does it snag easier on running lines or gets ripped off in a marina?

          No difference.

          The best place is probably in an open slot under the cockpit bench where the thing isn’t in the way, protected from the sun and easy to reach even in bad weather.

          Agree. If such a place was available. On our boat, it’s not.

          It’s very luring to optimise things because they make sense without checking, if the difference is relevant.

          You seem to be implying that I didn’t think it through. Trust me, I did.

      • Good points. I guess it’s like everything else on a sailboat, there’s no one good answer for every situation. Everything’s a compromise.

  5. Hello Mike and Rebecca!
    My name is Greg and while I was researching great sailing blogs and sites, I have discovered yours – I really like it!
    I am writing to you on this occasion because I want to bounce off some ideas with you. I am a huge beach lover. I love beaches so much that I dedicated 4 years of my life to exploring Mediterranean beaches. I have managed to explore 2 500 different beaches. The idea behind this great adventure was to put my love for travel to a good use and gather photos and information on as many beaches I can, so that everyone can have something from it.
    Namely, I have decided to create a website where all these great photos, videos and spherical photos of beaches are presented including specific and useful information on each beach. The project has a working title BeachRex – the king of the beaches, because it already includes more beaches than any other project (website) in the World. For now I have created a demo website http://www.beachrex.com where a small portion of everything is presented. My vision is to within a few years further develop the website to the extent of having photos and information on all the beaches of the World – something like “Google for beaches”. I plan on doing that by developing a special mobile app that will facilitate photographers, travelers, beach lovers, and all others to help us collect beach photos and beach information. All will be for free and for everyone to see and use.
    So, how does it sound to you? I would really love to hear what you think about my project. It would mean a world if you would share your words of wisdom with me on this. I am looking forward to reading your replay.
    Best wishes,
    Greg

    • Sounds like a cool idea, especially since you really enjoy the topic! The beta version of your sites looks good but with my admittedly so-so internet, I had a tough time loading all of the images. Perhaps the initial landing p[age is a bit too bandwidth intensive?

  6. I would like to THINK I’m open minded and learning oriented, but as I approach 50 my old ways, seem to catch up with me more and more; for example thinking that I am just naturally bad at knots, or hating the new version of windows. Old dog + new tricks = aggravation. I dont resist learning new ways but I notice it gets harder as I get older and I get grumpier. Sailing seems to ease the aggravation for me probably because its so different from the office work I do every day.

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