Author Topic: Saving Sailing  (Read 5804 times)

Online Bob23

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2010, 06:04:23 PM »
   Is it better to live a safe, boring life or a dangerous one with measures of adventure? Is this really a question that needs to be asked here among my fellow Compac-ers? Roger Crawford, builder of the beautiful "Melonseed" skiff has a saying: "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional."
   Me, I'm on this damn computer more than I should be, as most of you can tell. If I had a shop to work in, that's where I'd be.
   Can't resist an oil comment. We have very strick environment laws here in the US. Some good, some are so extremely pro-planet, it doesn't make good business sense to drill here. It comes down to dollars. I have a brother in law and his son, my nephew, both in the oil business. Over in Africa, they don't care if they spill umpteen barrels on the ground during drilling so it's way cheaper to produce than here.
   Sorry guys, I should've kept my mouth shut. 
  Bob23

Offline curtisv

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2010, 10:13:32 PM »
Newt, there is a lot of oil already discovered.  The reason we (U.S) buy so much is that it is cheaper to buy oil than to mine some of the existing formations.  [...]  Certainly it is not infinite, but there is a bunch left.

The issue is cost.  As the price of oil goes up because the world supply on line of "easy oil" diminishes the difficult formation oil will be recovered at a higher cost to the consumers.  [...]

As a guy who was driven out of the oil and gas business after twenty years because of oversupply, I know a bunch about it.

Sorry for dragging this a little bit further off topic.

Like the topic of global warming there is a lot of misinformation about oil supply and demand.  What you talked about here touches on the topic of peak oil.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil.  Google search for peak oil gives you lots of opinions on both sides but the wikipedia article has a good summary, citing credible optimistic and pessimistic estimates of the date of global oil production peak.

There is no argument today that US oil production already peaked in 1970 and is well under 1/2 of the peak.  Alaska oil production peaked in 1988 and is at less than 1/2 peak now.  Ravaging the environment for an increase of 5% or 10% is simply folly if you look at the production trends http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Hubbert_US_high.svg/500px-Hubbert_US_high.svg.png http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alaska_Crude_Oil_Production.PNG.  The more than 2:1 decline in US oil production is history, not speculation about the future.

The question today is when world oil production will peak, if it has not already peaked (information from large producers like Saudi Arabia is often incomplete and of questionable accuracy, hence the uncertainty).  There is no doubt that today the increase in world demand is very substantial and is accellerating while production is nearly flat and may be already declining.

It seems the obvious answer is "use less" but the energy industry doesn't want that to become policy so we get lots of carefully crafted and delivered misinformation.  This misinformation is mostly from "think tanks" with credible sounding names, presumably independent but funded by the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries.  The misinformation comes as reports with authoritative sounding titles, though never published in peer reviewed journals.  Unfortunately, the popular media gives these clearly biased minority opinions equal credibility with the larger body of peer reviewed science.

Back to sailing and powerboats.

I've also noticed some of the same things mentioed by others: the increase in motorboat time spent idle in a driveway or at a mooring (we have no docks here), powerboaters moaning about the high cost of fuel, and a higher percentage of sailboats on the water underway relative to powerboats underway, despite a higher number of powerboats in the mooring fields, though here the ratio is closer.

It is interesting to look at the ratio of sail to power at places that are primarily destinations.  When I've been in Nantucket harbor sailboat overwhelmingly outnumber powerboats.  The same is true on Martha's Vineyard at Edgertown and Vineyardhaven, but at Oak Bluffs (which is smaller) it is almost all powerboats.  At Block Island the ratio is closer but it is still mostly sail.  The exception at Oak Bluffs is because it is all slips with power and water, very tight, and in a downtown setting (small town) while the others are moorings and anchoring.  Last time at Vineyardhaven I think the motorboat population anchored outside the breakwater was zero (all sailboats).  It seems that a lot more sailors take their boats out and go somewhere.  In fairness a lot of small powerboats are used for recreational fishing and are found in abundance in many near shore areas known for good fishing.

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 10:47:57 PM »
I'm afraid that I am a believer in Peak Oil Theory, and that the production in going down and there isn't too much we can do about it.  But I do not fear, if fact, I think it can be an opportunity.
I just don't want to depend on others for my transportation. Hopefully, we can figure something else out. In the meantime, I sure enjoy sailboats.

Offline HenryC

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About that oil...
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 11:15:28 PM »
Curtis is right. We've been sold the bill of goods that if we could only drill offshore, our oil problems would go away.

It's rubbish, and not just because there is very little oil out there.  Oil is a commodity, it isn't sold close to where it is produced, it is sold wherever the price is highest.  If we found a huge pool of oil offshore the rest of the world would bid for it and it would go to the highest bidder.  We might get a slightly better price for it than say, Japan or Europe, because of cheaper shipping and refining costs, but America wouldn't be swamped with budget oil.  The oil companies are not patriots, they are businesses, they'll sell to the highest bidder, just like the Saudis.  And like the Saudis, if they can't get the prices they want, they'll just cut back on production until profits are optimized. Unless, of course, the government steps in and forces our companies to sell the oil cheaper to Americans than foreign companies.  Which will happen when pigs fly. When we found oil in Alaska, did gas get any cheaper? When the Brits and Norwegians found it in the North Sea, did they get it any cheaper?  The only places in the world where oil is subsidized is in places where it is nationalized.

Of course, the oil companies will lobby for the right to drill offshore, but they will do it to break the middle east's stranglehold on supply, and they'll get filthy rich off even a tiny strike, so they are very keen on drilling wherever they can, which is why they are pushing for offshore drilling so hard.  But they have no plans to share the wealth with me and thee.  They'll clean up, we won't even notice the difference (remember the North Slope?).

I worked for an oil company for five years (doing exploration work) and I worked in public relations for the nuclear power and electrical generating  industry overseas. I know what I'm talking about. Take my word for it, the price of oil depends on how much is being pumped, and how badly the customers want it, not what hole in the ground it came from.  It's simple supply and demand.  If the production goes way up in one place, the prices go down for everybody because it breaks the middle eastern monopoly.  But as long as the oil is pumped by private multinationals, like British Petroleum, or Royal Dutch Shell, or American Exxon, it will follow the money, not the flag.

And one more thing, all oil is not created equal.  Some oil is cheap to produce, some is very expensive to produce.  How much oil is produced depends on how much demand there is, but it is not a linear relationship.  If demand doubles, the price of meeting that demand may triple or quadruple because it will depend on more expensive extraction methods.  The Saudis, sitting on a vast pool of reserves just under the surface can simply crush their competition because their oil is so cheap to produce.  Oil we pump from these fantasy fields we are hoping for offshore will be very expensive to recover, even if we do find it.  The oil companies will not pump expensive oil and sell it to us cheap just to spite the Saudis, certainly not while the Republicans have anything to say about it.   The Saudis will simply lower their price JUST ENOUGH to drive us out of business.  And then they will adjust production and price to manipulate demand so that profits are maximized.  Unfortunately, free markets don't work when someone has a monopoly.  It's a trick they learned in Harvard Business School.

Suck it up, America.  Turn down the thermostat, buy a four-banger, and move closer to work.

Offline curtisv

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 11:25:24 PM »
I'm afraid that I am a believer in Peak Oil Theory, and that the production in going down and there isn't too much we can do about it.  But I do not fear, if fact, I think it can be an opportunity.
I just don't want to depend on others for my transportation. Hopefully, we can figure something else out. In the meantime, I sure enjoy sailboats.

We are going further off topic but ... yes it can be an opportunity.

Few people realize what an opportunity US leadership in environmental science in the 70s did for the US economy for decades to come.  It was a good decade later that Europe figured out that their rivers were polluted and air was choked and ended up buying US technology for everything from scientific equipment used for measurement to technology to scrub factory smokestacks.

btw- In the early 1980s I worked in engineering for the world leader in scientific instruments (Perkin-Elmer, who is no longer around due to it later becoming a commodity market and due to mismanagement).  I think the US still leads in this market but not overwhelmingly so as it did in the 1980s.

For the moment we are behind in alternate energy technology and falling behind in conservation technology, so we have until recently been buying wind turbines from Denmark (Vestas) and solar panels from Germany (Seimens).  Now GE is emerging as the big player in wind turbines, and various US companies with new technologies are taking the solar panel market from the incumants (BP who bought Seimens Solar, and various manufacturers in the Pacific Rim).  Some of the conservation measures are very low tech, like building using 2x6 outer walls in cold areas to allow more fiberglass insulation, 2x8 in very cold areas.  Other conservation measures are more high tech, like hybrid and electric cars.

Curtis

ps - appologies for those that would rather this was moved to "Off Topic" earlier.  Hopefully I didn't ignite an off topic firestorm.
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Online Bob23

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2010, 05:24:12 AM »
Well, I'm gonna try to reel us in, men:
   Saving sailing? Sounds like we're looking for converts. I think the very essence of sailing demands that most people are not going to be attracted to it. It is work, there is an element of unpredicablilty, it is slow, yadayadayada. By it's very nature, most people will not become sailors as our society becomes more addicted to the bigger, faster, gotta-have-it-now mentality. I, for one, take pride in the fact the it appeals to me as adhering to trends was something I never was good at. As some of you may have noticed, I have a terrible time being normal, so have given up.
   We've been pressed to try and describe why we like to sail. Most of us cannot put the feeling into words but we feel an connection with something intangible, something real when we sail. And we enjoy that comradie, that fellowship if you will, with other sailors. We speak the same language, we understand that connection. In surfer lingo, we've been locked in the green room and there is no place like it.
   Well, enough about that...like I say, it's hard to describe. I don't think we are looking for high numbers of participants in our sport. But there are the few who will not adhere to current trends and who long to "get down to what is really real" (Van Morrison quote from long ago.) I for one, enjoy being in a minority.
Bob23
 

Offline Craig Weis

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2010, 10:01:02 AM »
When the last electric/nuke/hydrogen/pulverized coal/recycled plastic/methane/biomass/propane/solar/wind/or?? car arcs out...
...their will still be untapped oil within the earth.
Nature is making some more oil even today for us.

It takes 100 years to make an inch of soil in a forest.
And isn't it cool with plants, 'CO' in 'O' out. so the 'C' stays in the plant? I guess so. It certainly not changed into something else. Who needs cap and trade?

skip.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 08:13:09 AM by skip »

Online Bob23

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2010, 05:09:44 PM »
Skip for pres. 2012!
Bob23

Offline kickingbug1

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2010, 05:38:35 PM »
   bob pretty much hit it on the head for me. i came to realization years ago that i didnt care what the rest of the population thinks, i do what i like. and like bob i enjoy being the only sailboat on the lake (if im lucky the only boat). birds of a feather will always want to flock together but there is a lot to be said for "the solitude of sail"
oday 14 daysailor, chrysler musketeer cat, chrysler mutineer, com-pac 16-1 "kicknbug" renamed "audrey j", catalina capri 18 "audrey j"

Offline curtisv

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2010, 01:12:50 AM »
The problem with sail not being the "popular thing" is that so many decisions are made on the basis of the interests of local business groups.  A lot of places have become powerboat friendly while at the same time making it harder for sailors.  For example, ever time a new low fixed bridge is built it cuts off access to sailors.

Boat dealers would rather sell powerboats.  They take less space per dollar to store before the sale.  After the sale they get more maintenance dollars every year in winterizing and spring tune up.  Sailboats last virtually forever compared to motorboats so powerboat owners need to buy a new one more often.  Repowering a power boat costs almost as much as a new boat.

There are places were powerboats damage the environment.  These are places where water is shallow and the prop wash scrubs the bottom.  Powerboat dealers don't want speed limits because they might reduce the sale of the highest profit bigger engines.  We've seen some progress on this where we are with a couple of new 6 knot and no wake zones.

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Offline Joseph

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2010, 08:56:34 AM »
Sailing is suffering because it is an obsolete technology that takes lots of effort, time (and often money!) which in today's world can only gasp for survival as an extreme sport, an occasional getaway or - as I suspect it is the case among most of us - a nostalgic evasion in search for a different philosophy of life... Here are some thoughts related to "Saving Sailing" based on a very recent experience... In January I visited the Toronto Boat Show, as I used to decades ago. The sailboat section that once occupied most of the boat floor, has shrunk to a minimum expression and the major sailboat exhibitor, Hunter, contends that "they are no longer in the business of selling sailboats" [sic from a presentation of their local President] "but that they are now selling a 'life style'"... by catering to the non sailor (actually, to the non sailor partner of the family...). Of the dozen or so sailboats that they sell at every show, most become floating cottages seldom, if ever, to leave dock... and this even after they "package" an instructor into the sell...  The huge rest of the boat display of the Show was occupied by a vast spectrum of fast motor boats with large engines that, judging by the number of people climbing to their decks, must be selling like candies... I went looking for a 4-5 HP for my new SunCat and I cannot describe the faces of the salespersons of Honda and Yamaha when after entering their displays, amidst their 250 and 300 HP giants, I would humbly utter my preference for a 4 HP...  The only boats on display that were, in my opinion, worth the trip were an Island Packet 40 (I once sailed to Bermuda in one of those heavy full-keel cutters...) and a 10' Rossiter Tender (beautiful!).  And BTW, I did end getting a good deal on a new 4 HP Tohatsu...

J.
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Offline curtisv

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2010, 10:00:42 PM »
New England coastal non-uban communities still hold on to the sailing nostalgia.

Milford CT, Branford to Stonington CT.  Newport RI, Marion, Cape Cod and "The Islands" (Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket), Plymount, Duxbury, (skip over Boston), Marlboro, Glouster is more fishing, and on up through NH and Maine coast where they wooden sailing vessel is still revered and many are still sailing.  Sailing is very much alive in these places.

I've spent quite a bit of time in CA lately.  Sailing here seems to be more about round the buoys in San Fransisco Bay and motoring along the coast.  I read a cruising guide that advised sailors when the water would be most calm to make motoring up the coast smoother.  Apparently when heading north along the coast no one really tacks out to sea heading to windward, then tacks back toward shore.  And the sails come down a few miles from shore in preparations to motor into the dock. I get the impression that to many here owning a boat is more about a show of money than it is about sailing, hence the many large boats that never go anywhere.  I'm not sure that sailing is as much alive here.

I spent some time chartering with someone that was not really a sailor.  Two more or less identical boats that sailed together.  One used $26 of diesel mostly for daily battery charge, the other over $400.  Even motorsailing, we usually ended up at our destination at close to the same time.  Twice I tacked from 5 miles out to arrive right on his stern.  He owned a motorboat and he was more comfortable with the throttle than the sheets and I don't think he knew what the traveller was for since it seemed to always be over center.  And he thought the VHF was a CB radio which was also a bit annoying.  [Don't make up "a handle", use the boat name.  Minimize the chit chat.]  I got the impression that his powerboat didn't have a VHF.

When I've sailed with motorboat owners that have done little or no sailing I've noticed that they tend to steer toward where they are heading with too little attention to what the sails are doing.  One person in particular at the helm of a charter didn't want to hear that he was doing something not quite right because he was a very experienced boater.  Can't really generalize though.  Most people take to it and want to hear any advice that might improve what they are doing.  I've just noticed that someone who has never or almost never operated a boat of any kind wants to know what to do and catches on much faster than a powerboater that thinks they know what to do on a sailboat and doesn't want to hear otherwise.

Most people are in too much of a rush all the time to appreciate sailing.

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Online Bob23

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2010, 04:21:20 AM »
You nailed it, Curtis.
  The beauty of sailing is moving through the environment at 6 knots. We are  becoming too accustomed to fast moving, want-it-now thinking. I like the "cleansing" that sailing provides and the escape from a world gone mad, even if only temporarily.
Bob23

Offline kahp ho

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2010, 09:26:07 PM »
This is kind'a weird. Just today I saw an advertisement on craigs list from a fella trying to trade his bass boat and big ass outboard for a 21 foot sailboat. Just a single instance, I know. But you don't see that often and it made me think of this thread and give the guy a virtual thumbs up.

Sure sailing isn't as popular as is use to be, nothing is. I don't know about you all but I kind'a prefer it that way. Never was any good at following the crowd. Whichever way they went I generally turned and went some other way.

mel
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Offline curtisv

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Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2010, 12:42:08 AM »
There used to be a Candlewood East Sailing that had slips and gave sailing lessons on Candlewood Lake.  Permits were given right next door to a massive array of dockage and of the many slips that went in nearly all went to motorboats.  Later Candlewood East Sailing dropped the "sailing" from the name, stopped trying to sell small Hunter and Catalina (and O'Day at one time) and mostly sell motorboats today.

Candlewood Lake (borders Danbury, New Fairfield, Brookfield, New Milford and Sherman CT) is a sad story IMHO.  It was once quite peaceful and is now completely overrun and crowded with motorboats.  Commercial interests won out.  The powerboat dealers wanted much more dockage and no limits on power.  The lake lost and it is unlikely this could be reversed in a very long time.  At least now they have a 45 MPH speed limit and noise regulations and enforce them.  I used to windsurf there but wouldn't dare these days.  Tried kayaking but had to hug the shore so as not to get hit by a powerboat.

The fascination with PWC, 200+ HP bass boats, snowmobiles and dirt bikes has been fading a little just as the Hummer is no longer all that popular.  Regulations are tightenning as well.  CT is making more of an effort to keep dirt bikes and snowmobiles off public and private land.  A snowmobile killing a cross country skier put new limits on snowmobiles in general and especially at night.  And the Candlewood Lake bass fishermen were finally told a few years back to stagger starts, keep the noise down, keep the speed to 6 knots in the cove and 45 mph on the lake or take their tournament elsewhere.

Selling a 200+ HP bass boat these days might be a lot like selling a used Hummer.

Anyway the demise of Candlewood Lake is one of the reasons I don't live in CT anymore and now live on Cape Cod.  Besides, nothing beats sailing on the open ocean and my wife loves the seashore.

The waters off Cape Cod haven't been overrun and the communities are more inclined to protect them.  No PWC except on some inland ponds.  No motor boat races - only one in the history of the Cape and it didn't come back after its first year due to public uproar.  That and local authorities would not let them declare an area exclusively theirs to use and some locals theatenned to organize and effectively baracade the race by criss crossing the course as a group.

There are no wake zones and 6 knot zones in the channels and they do try to enforce it.  You can take a kayak out without fear of being run over by a water ski boat looking at the water skier and not ahead - you are allowed to water ski but in water that is open enough to be too choppy for most.  They like the fishing but most fishermen can deal with it taking an extra 20 minutes to get out into open water (some exceptions).  Most of the recreational fishermen are respectlful of sail and likewise sailboats are respectful of those that are fishing for a living and do their best to stay very well out of their way.  So far it seems to be working.

Maybe public opinion will change and sailing will regain its respect in more places.

Another thing that bugs me is with most policies sailors pay the same per foot for boat insurance as powerboats.  This is true of BoatUS last I checked (who I think act on behalf of powerboat manufacturers and dealers more than on behalf of their membership).  You pay the same whether you have a 200+ HP outboard, twin screws and 450HP inboard, or a 4 HP outboard and a set of sails.  A few years ago I checks CG statistics.  Of about 900 boating deaths that year only 12 were on sailboats.  More drunks fell off the docks and drowned than sailors died.  Sailboats are involved in far fewer collisions than motorboats.  Yet sailors get no discount for their far better safety record.

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