Sunday, August 28, 2016

Reasons To Go On Deck...

... Or 10 reasons why leading all of the lines to the cockpit is not my cup of tea.

  1. Friction. I can hoist my main all but the last two feet without a winch, and I can do this in less than a minute. A high mast exit point exposes the halyard high enough for me to put my full weight on it without any strain, and there is only one pulley in the system. The jammer is nice and high, and the winch is right at my chest when it is time to grind the last few feet. I keep a winch handle at the mast.
          Also less stretch because the lines are shorter. This allows
          the use of polyester line.
  1. Simpler. Cheaper. Also saves twists, tangles and stuff that can break.
  2. Clean Deck. Fewer turning blocks and line organizers. Less to trip on and more space for the feet.
  3. Less spaghetti in the Cockpit. Gotta do something with all of those line tails.
  4. Eyes out of the cockpit. There is a new disease afoot, where the helmsman stares at the instruments more than where he is going, loosing both spacial, situation, and weather awareness. Folks actually think they need instruments, in spite of the fact that none of this existed when sail was king. Folks should sail  part of the time with the instruments off or at least covered. New sailors should be allowed only a compass until they have mastered every maneuver and basic piloting without them.
  5. Practice. If you never leave the cockpit when the weather is less than perfect, will you be ready when the furler jams in a blow, the anchor works loose, the main won't come down, or that wonderful single-line reefing knots up? I've told many climbers that unless you plan on climbing at least once a week you have no business leading challenging traditional climbs. A climber needs to know exactly exactly what they can and cannot do do without falling. Same with a sailor on deck; you only become and stay skilled and comfortable on a heaving deck if you do it frequently.
  6. Tethers and practice. Same thing. Sailors who don't use them regularly get caught up in their knitting and then blame the system. The problem is they are not used to the system. Just like people who claim they can't work in gloves, invariably they have not really tried to learn. They have deigned to try. Jacklines should be permanent, and used frequently, like seat belts.
  7. Inspections. There is no better time to look at the equipment than when it is under load. You will see things that aren't visible at the dock.
  8. Trim. Get another perspective on the sails. It's surprising how often I see some thing that wasn't obvious from the cockpit. Anyone who does not want to understand trim is not a sailor.
  9. Because you can. Isn't sailing about freedom to go where you want, and why shouldn't you be free to travel the whole boat?
and finally..

    11.  Exercise. A passage spent in the cockpit is cramping. I like moving on deck.

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