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Savvy Navvy 2021 SWC LEADERBOARD v2 Newsletter: The only dumb question


The only dumb question

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Zhik 2018 Yacht 728x90

Ask a question - photo © Supplied

Dear Recipient Name

Is the one not asked, right? This has to be one of my all time favourite sayings, and seems as pertinent as ever, no matter whether you're around boats at the time, or driving a car and being aware of the speed cameras. Did you see that sign?!

I guess it all kind of stemmed from some of the reading I do in relation to this website. I won't say job, because it is actually a pleasure, and yes, it is work, can be difficult, onerous at times, and challenging, but you never feel like it is a task too much, or delivers an insurmountable issue.

One of the ones that really piqued my interest recently was someone wanting to talk about using earphones (and therefore playing tunes) at night. First of all: many do. So don't think there's a Robinson Crusoe, or Pat Malone out there. At least this person was wanting to evaluate it all, and actively seeking input into their decision making...

The earphone - worn everywhere - just not at sea! - photo © Supplied
The earphone - worn everywhere - just not at sea! - photo © Supplied

We looked at a definition of cruising ages back, so I must go dig that up, but boredom should not be dealt with by your latest playlist. Now if you don't know what one of those is, then you probably don't ever use earphones, so the whole thing is moot. But do take a look on your next trip on public transport at the heads down, fingers tapping away on the screen, and music being streamed into their ears from a thing called the interweb. That's the generation that needs virtually constant inputs into their senses, and struggles to just be, but may well be reading books (as in iBooks), or blogs about mindfulness nearly all the time.

At any rate, sound is what alerts you to changes, be it wind, sails, rigging and/or hull. Most of the time I have had someone else there for the very reason of keeping one alert. Then there are cups of tea, navigation, walks around the deck to investigate things, cooking, repairs to ropes and so forth, sponging the boat out, having a chat with your cohort of the watch, and also playing music softly thought the deck speakers. I also prefer the shorter night watches of two to three hours for this very reason, too.

Normally, you will see a ship well before you will hear it, but take out the vision through fog or whatever, and well, you get the point. If you had music in your ears, and came across something way bigger than yourself, then the earphones might be the least of your issues. It is tough, but this is why solo sailors often only go for 20-minute catnaps.

Light and so easy to use with its unique ratchet system - Facnor FX+ - photo © Wichard Pacific /
Light and so easy to use with its unique ratchet system - Facnor FX+ - photo © Wichard Pacific /

Another sailor was talking hanks versus furlers. By his own admission, he was pretty new to the whole thing, and had possibly not yet worked out that you ease the sheet to the furl, which you can do yourself on two winches. Seeing as it was a cat, it won't matter too much if you reduce sail early, so maybe also investigate at what stage you are putting your slabs in the main, and if you indeed have single point reefing in place. In the Med a while back now I simply let the boat have its full headsail and no main in 30 knots, and it was completely happy at about 60 degrees AWA, and FRED, that truly remarkable electronic device steered under it with consummate ease.

However, this sailor also clearly had never worked with frozen hanks or hands, both of which are almost useless, and is one of the reasons why modern racers have furlers all the way up the foredeck.

In his own words he stated, "So basically, on a pure safety point of view, I feel like a hank-on genoa would be better. If the wind suddenly piped up to 25-30kts I could just release the halyard and down it comes. Or is there more to it than that?" Ah. Yes. Just a touch pal, and I really hope you're reading. That sail will become an instant and total PITA for you and your young family. Please practice your furling (see above), and then do some overnighters and coastal hops before taking off on some of your grand adventures!

OK it is a race boat, but it is still a wall of water - photo © Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
OK it is a race boat, but it is still a wall of water - photo © Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Finally then, there was a guy who had been using his 27-foot boat in the Med and Atlantic in up to 45 knots and never missed a beat, or been knocked down, but had broken a rudder and other items, yet had spares and food on board to get back to port under his own steam, usually as a solo or two-up crew.

Now this person has awesome dreams for remotest Africa, the Magellan Canal and so on, but feels his boat could be too small. Well possibly, but I remember coming into English harbour, Antigua, to find a craft of possibly even less dimensions that had made it over the Atlantic. She was named, Comfortably Numb, and that pretty much describes my state as a result of learning from whence she cometh...

Seafarer 2018 300x250   Mars Keel -  Manufactured Keel Systems 250

Anyway, he was seeking input as to the type of craft to use for the big trip (please see the last month's worth of newsletters if you are reading), but to be honest the real star of that session was the reply. It simply read, "Anyone who is 'comfortable' in a 27 foot boat in 45 knot winds with waves crashing on the boat needs no faceless Internet advice." QED indeed.

New Oceanis 46.1 to premiere at Sydney International Boat Show this August - photo © Beneteau
New Oceanis 46.1 to premiere at Sydney International Boat Show this August - photo © Beneteau

Just before we go, it has been confirmed that the ultra-new Beneteau Oceanis 46.1 will have its World Premiere at the Sydney International Boat Show from August 2-6. Obviously it is significant for the boat, but also how it marks a reveal on the other side of the world to the traditional Cannes, Düsseldorf, and Paris type circuit.

As for the boat itself, well it helps that it already has an Australian owner, but it marks the next step on down the evolutionary cycle from the super-impressive Oceanis 51.1, which had its first year's production sold out before it had even hit the water. We certainly look forward to seeing, and sailing it!

B&G Vulcan 2018 300x250   Selden CX & GX Furling Systems 600x500

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about the ARC, Nordac from North Sails, gear from Musto, coral reefs, Antarctic ice, find out just how bad balloons are to the creatures of the sea, Lake Macquarie (Southern Hemisphere) to light up, turtles, whales, being at the Golden Globe Race before it sets off, Newport Boat Show (Northern Hemisphere), Falmouth Classics, porpoises, a tanker fined, and a shout out to Maree and Phil on Red Roo who become our latest blogging cruisers, as well as much more.

Abhilash Tomy from India on his replica of Suhaili, Thuriya - photo © Dave Hart
Abhilash Tomy from India on his replica of Suhaili, Thuriya - photo © Dave Hart

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other hemisphere, go to the top and the drag down menu, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow, Editor,

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