Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What type of sailor are you?

I'm still reading Sailing - Philosophy for everyone, and finding it really interesting. It's not the sort of book you fly through with ease, rather one that calls for a pencil to be to hand to underline key words or paragraphs then pause to stare out of the window, thinking.

It's a contribution of essays by various writers and each addresses the topic from their own angle. One starting point is to observe that not all sailors are the same, and by classification you can learn about differences and commonalities, both avenues for investigation.

Two dimensions were highlighted, what I call motivation and character.

    1. Social sailors: those whose primary interest is taking friends and family out on the water; often found in sailing club bars
    2. Competitive sailors: those whose primary interesting is optimisation, gaining the most from sail, hull, wind and tactics
    3. Sailing to sail: those who sail to be out on the ocean in the company only of waves, testing their metal against the elements
    a. Rookie: we all are one at first, literally learning to ropes
    b. Team mate: one of the crew, doing their job reliably without drama, mucking in when required
    c. Superman: able to winch on further when all others have leant back, feeling there is "enough" tension on the line
    d. Yogi: tends to wear shorts and sandals in winter as it helps them feel the wind shifts better
    e. Minister: reassures crew when the level of heel gets alarming, bringing refreshing hot drinks to the cold helm
    f. Salt: impassive, aware of all the sails and their trim, able to tweak any line to lie a little better
    g. Skipper: controlling, demanding, in charge, responsible
    h. Student: forever learning, experimenting and discovering
So which are you and who has been missed? I don't think either list are meant to be exclusive, and I have made one slight change to how they are described in the book.

I'm sure the same general principles apply for kayakers and rowers, so this could be a what type of boater are you.


Tillerman said...

Well I suppose on the first dimension most readers would see me as "competitive" but on many days I'm just "sailing to sail." The older I get the more the latter.

On the second dimension I don't recognize myself in any of those categories. As a single-hander I'm obviously a "skipper" but that doesn't make me controlling or demanding. Actually I see myself more as a "life-long student", always learning, always trying to improve.

JP said...

You can be in many categories - I certainly am.

I wasn't sure it was a full list either, so thought I'd post it almost as it was and see what others thought.

my2fish said...

I'm still pretty green, so I'd say I'm a student that is sailing to sail. looks like a neat book.

JP said...

Its a great book, much more to come, but I'd have to concentrate on all that philosophy stuff but keep getting distracted by things like dolphins in the Thames.

Anonymous said...

I will be 'optimistic swimmer' - cheerfully swimming around between short periods of being sat on a boat. Definitely a missed category....

Noodle said...

Can I mix d and h? Please..?

There's at least two more categories under motivation:
a) Some sailors sail mostly to test their "mental" rather than their metal. Singlehanded around the world is definately a mindjob.
b) Wouldn't you agree that many of us simply need to get out their to stay mentally sane?

JP said...

Noodle: yup, I'm a mixture of lots of these.

Maybe motivation is the wrong word, maybe it should simple by type of sailing. I was trying to summarize two long sections in the book so have missed quite a bit.

The single handed offshore sailor is often used as an example of the most "pure" type of sailor: self sufficient, focused on the deep oceans rather than the mundane life ashore.