Sailing is to the Bay Area what Aspen is to skiing. If you live there, you just have to.

Now the traditional approach to start yachting is to take a basic keelboat certification course. This lasts a couple of weekends (4 days) and costs around $500. After that you can rent small keelboats (about $200/day). You can also join a yacht club (a few thousand per year) which will lower the cost of the rental. Taking additional courses, another $500 here and another $500 there will get you chartering larger boats (about $400 a day).

Needless to say, I took a different approach.

I joined a racing team. You can read more about how I started sailing in this post.

Skippers who sail frequently are constantly looking for people to serve as crew for their boats. Only special configurations allow you to sail your boat one-handed and even then it’s usually an inefficient (for racing) and somewhat risky proposition (for racing boats, less so for full keel cruising) compared to having more people on board. Racing boats in particular are usually built to require multiple crew members to act as ballast on the high side to balance the boat and keep it on its feet.

Crew members who can commit to showing up consistently are highly valued, and skippers are usually willing to train such individuals for free.

Ticket price for a consistent person: Free training and free navigation.

Ticket price for someone who can’t find the time: $1500 for training and $200-400/day.

Okay, it hasn’t been entirely free. I’ve spent close to $500 on safety gear in the form of an offshore life jacket, double leash, strobe light, and emergency knife. I also bought some boat boots on clearance ($36 instead of $70). I bought some used bad weather pants on eBay. My “bad weather” jacket is actually my winter jacket.

In fact, someone willing to spend frivolously can easily shell out $800-$1000 on the latest fashions in bad weather gear (it changes every year). In terms of durability, it’s not going to beat the standard. fisherman rain gear. In general, you can pay as much as you want. I’m sure Gill’s latest outfit would make me look classy, ​​but he won’t really earn me any respect in the water, so why?

Anyway, that money has been paid. From now on, my cost is more or less time, not dollars.

I realize that since I no longer spend significant money on this, my standard of living has gone down. Yeah, that was a joke, and it would be funny if some people didn’t really believe that spending too little automatically means not really living life.

In terms of living life. Well, what is living? Living for me is learning. Learn about myself and the rest of the universe. (For some it is experiencing things. For others it is fitting into the traditional structures of society). Learning happens faster when the limits are pushed. This is the only way to experience something that is fundamentally different.

Experiencing similar situations to oneself a hundred times is really just an experience. I’ve traveled to 14 countries, but they all pretty much followed the same “travel to a foreign country” recipe. Anyway …

During my short experience in sailing, I have experienced [not all at the same time, fortunately] force 6 winds (that’s when they issued a small craft advisory), 10 foot waves (makes you feel really small), being on a leaky/sinking (slowly) boat, ripped headsail, ripped mainsail, more brooches From what I can tell, losing the rudder, losing the engine, losing the radio, losing the bilge pump (automatic and manual), rescuing another boat by pulling it off the leeward shore, … and a lot of other less dramatic things (seals, dolphins, sea lions).

[I have learned how I deal with fear, anxiety, and how I respond to scary situations. I think I take a more relaxed attitude to physical danger now. And then of course I learned a bunch of technical stuff about sail twist, the slot, the foot, the belly, etc.]

I realize it’s the crazy things that make the best stories, but I’ve also been on the boat and found a finger of air sailing in the mist with the mist billowing around the sails as the sun went down over the water and the boat glided at 4 knots. Or sail parallel to the waterfront feeling the breeze and observing the lights of the city and the navigation lights of the other boats. beautiful things

Yes, yes, I know. I’m not spending money. Consequently, my life sucks, right?

In just over half a year I have sailed about 40 times. That’s probably more than the average boat owner or certified keelboat charterer can sail in 5 years or so. Does that mean I’m living 10 times faster than the average person?

What is the difference between paying and not paying?

The person paying does not add much value to the system. Extract value. Therefore, you pay money. Conversely, the person who does not pay provides value. That’s why he doesn’t pay.

Normally I am in charge of trimming the mainsail. The mainsail trimmer is the person most directly responsible for making the boat go fast, or at least gets the most blame if the boat is going slow. To provide more value (and because I want to improve my skills), I therefore spend time studying trim and rigging and whatever. I’m not an advanced trimmer, but I’m not a beginner either. In particular, I am not a non-sailor. I’m not trying to brag here, but rather trying to explain the differences: a non-boater will pay for the trip with money or by asking very, very nicely (maybe he knows a boat owner). A person willing to commit to a crew position will come on board for free and receive training. However, this will only happen if a more advanced person is not available. You see, skill provides value. (This value is low, so there are occasional openings for newbies.)

If we transplant this to other areas of life, it begins to make sense how it is possible to have a high quality of life and spend very little. You don’t necessarily have to provide the value to others. You can also provide it to your family or just to yourself.

If you can’t provide value. So you pay. In which case, ironically, you are perceived to have a high standard of living.

It boggles the mind.

Of course, people may argue that acquiring the skill is work. I don’t really see it that way. I am naturally inclined to try to improve myself in matters that I find interesting. That’s what humans do. They play music, not because they hope to be famous, but simply because they like to improve or because they just enjoy it. At one point, however, they will be good enough to provide value to others, resulting in all sorts of benefits. This happens if a person has enough time to practice. Without practice, a person must pay.

This is the essential difference between a consumer and a producer. (More details in the book on that.)

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Originally posted on June 28, 2010 at 00:27:50.

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