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SHOULD I sail this season?

Sep 22, 2018
1,342
Hunter 216 Kingston
As I find myself endeavouring to both digest and then implement in a reasoned way the constantly evolving stream of advice/mandates coming my way with regard to the worldwide phenomena of Covid I find that I’m often conflicted over whether I SHOULD sail this season.

There are a LOT of threads on the forum about how people are dealing with the mechanics of getting their boat in the water, access to the marinas, where they can voyage to without getting turned away etc. but none that I’m aware of have tackled the question of SHOULD I sail just because I can.

Curious about how others are dealing with the moral dilemma.
 
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Feb 10, 2004
3,252
Hunter 40.5 East Greenwich, RI
Given that marinas allow you to use your sailboat, then I think the decision would be based upon the intensity of your personal desire to go sailing. And the difficulty to accomplish your sailing. And also the type of sailing that you do. If you like to cruise somewhere and go ashore and have a meal, then I think you wil not be happy. If you just day-sail more or less aimlessly and return to your home then I would think you are good to go.
And the desires of your family crew also have a lot of weight. There certainly is not a one-answer-fits-all.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
5,606
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Let me ask the question from a different direction. Assuming you put no one into undue risk by sailing or greater risk than you would by sailing if the pandemic was not present, what would be accomplished by not sailing? What would be different?

When I worked in schools suffering from a tragedy (usually a student death) the advice we always gave teachers and administrators was to resume normal routine as soon as possible. There is security and stability in normal routines that allow us to better deal with adversity.

To the extent that sailing enhances your well being, continue sailing. I would, of course, advise to avoid gloating over your golf and tennis playing friends who can not enjoy their routines as they may soon become your former friends.

Those of us who have spent a lifetime sailing find something soul satisfying in sailing. When our souls are satisfied we are better able to help and support those around us who are struggling.

To quote the song, "Sail on Sailor." :beer:
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,342
Hunter 216 Kingston
@Rich Stidger

I’ve been following your thread on what your facing with interest as it aligns somewhat with what I’m wrestling with on the SHOULD part.

I have a much simpler situation as I have a trailer sailboat and moor close to home so the mechanics are relatively simple and low cost. You face relatively high financial and logistical costs and likely a CAN I sail this season question.

As sailors we all have an ingrained ability to work around a problem. If one of us decides we want to sail we WILL find a way to do it.

My dilemma is based on the fact that as a 66 yr old Canadian I have never had to face issues such as what I’m dealing with in TODAYS world. I’ve not been faced with a mortal decision that wasn’t of my own making so is it FAIR that I go sailing this season????
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
We just got a shelter in place order. No leaving the house except for emergencies, work, food, or drugs. Not sure how stealthy I can be, towing a 26 ft sailboat. So, while there is virtually no way I can endanger anyone or myself by going, I'm not going to put a first responder through the irritation of dealing with me, and writing me a citation... They have enough on their plate without dealing with that sort of thing.

Sucks, but I'm not going to go. But, if you aren't under a stay at home order, and your ramp is as empty as mine, have at it. I would.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,342
Hunter 216 Kingston
@dlochner

All valid points as usual; however things are not as they were. I to have had a life long passion for sailing and being in, under and sometimes above the water ;) so I get your point on the “value” of sailing, especially now.

I have family that is possibly representative of a lot of North American “bubbles” (I’m youngest of 5, all with either personal or spousal existing health complications) children that are first responders, and an autistic grandchild of elementary school age that lives with me and my wife, literally dozens of family members that are all very supportive each other. So other than not having the “normal” hugging and social gathering we are doing pretty well.

The sailing part is something that I need to decide about is it the RIGHT thing to do now for the greater good.

If the current very clear message of “stay home” unless you really need to go out is heeded and the “crisis” is shortened by doing so is it responsible of me to go sailing???
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,606
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
@dlochner

All valid points as usual; however things are not as they were. I to have had a life long passion for sailing and being in, under and sometimes above the water ;) so I get your point on the “value” of sailing, especially now.

I have family that is possibly representative of a lot of North American “bubbles” (I’m youngest of 5, all with either personal or spousal existing health complications) children that are first responders, and an autistic grandchild of elementary school age that lives with me and my wife, literally dozens of family members that are all very supportive each other. So other than not having the “normal” hugging and social gathering we are doing pretty well.

The sailing part is something that I need to decide about is it the RIGHT thing to do now for the greater good.

If the current very clear message of “stay home” unless you really need to go out is heeded and the “crisis” is shortened by doing so is it responsible of me to go sailing???
The purpose of the stay at home orders are to limit social contact and slow the viruses spread. As I recall you keep your boat at your home, and except for the initial launch, you do not have have to leave your home to access your boat. If that is indeed the case, you have no more contributed to the spread of the virus than staying home. And you have likely improved outcomes because you will be in a better state of mind having spent a few hours a week sailing.

I don't think it is patently irresponsible to go sailing if the contact you have with others is not substantially different than staying home or going to the grocery store or LCBO. If the act of going sailing does substantially violate the intentions of the stay at home directive, then yes you should not go sailing.

There may be some social blowback from others because you can engage in a favored pastime while others can't engage in theirs. And that is a different issue. On the one hand how prepared are you for dealing with that blow back and how likely is it to occur? The people you care most about may be jealous, but if they care and understand you, they will come to accept your decision.

So long as you are not aiding in the spread of the virus, I see no issue with sailing. If you were a runner, who regularly ran 5K every few days, would you stop?
 
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Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
@dlochner

All valid points as usual; however things are not as they were. I to have had a life long passion for sailing and being in, under and sometimes above the water ;) so I get your point on the “value” of sailing, especially now.

I have family that is possibly representative of a lot of North American “bubbles” (I’m youngest of 5, all with either personal or spousal existing health complications) children that are first responders, and an autistic grandchild of elementary school age that lives with me and my wife, literally dozens of family members that are all very supportive each other. So other than not having the “normal” hugging and social gathering we are doing pretty well.

The sailing part is something that I need to decide about is it the RIGHT thing to do now for the greater good.

If the current very clear message of “stay home” unless you really need to go out is heeded and the “crisis” is shortened by doing so is it responsible of me to go sailing???
Not sure about the family issues as they relate to your going sailing. My daughter is staying with us right now. She's a teacher in another city, but she will be teaching via the internet from our house. One of her roommates is in healthcare and has been exposed, so she's better of with us. Before the stay home order in AL, we went sailing together.

My oldest, is further north, and has presumptive COVID (test results won't be in till she's well). My son-in-law and grandkids have likely been exposed, and may have already had it. We can't go near them. The middle daughter's roommate is a doctor. We don't go near her either. None of this would keep me and the youngest off the water.

So, maybe I'm missing your point. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
 
Last edited:
Jan 19, 2010
8,285
Hunter 26 Charleston
I can get to my boat without interacting with others. I can cook and sleep on my boat. I have a portable potty on the boat. I don't have any reason to go ashore. The only "risk" is the handle on the cart I use to carry my stuff to the boat and I have baby wipes that I put some extra hand sanitizer on.... so I clean the handle before and after. I'm going sailing whenever I can.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,342
Hunter 216 Kingston
@Jim26m
Thanks for your perspective. I think you have touched on the centre of my quandary. I think my core issue is the trade off of my personal interest against the real or more likely the potential burden I place on others real or imagined.

I picture myself out on the water having a great time, however this activity is visible to homeowners and people travelling in their cars, commuters on ferry’s etc. All of them are under some degree of duress related to the pressures of this new world we find ourselves in.

Do I have a right to burden the majority by causing anyone to spend time considering “what is he doing?? “ or more specifically first responders if I should need assistance?

Do I consider the very real possibility that the first responders won’t be available to assist if I do need help?

I have lots of time to ponder, ice is gone but water is frigid!!!
 

Jim26m

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Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
I can get to my boat without interacting with others. I can cook and sleep on my boat. I have a portable potty on the boat. I don't have any reason to go ashore. The only "risk" is the handle on the cart I use to carry my stuff to the boat and I have baby wipes that I put some extra hand sanitizer on.... so I clean the handle before and after. I'm going sailing whenever I can.
Drive carefully. An accident may result in a citation.
 

JRT

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Feb 14, 2017
1,807
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
Alabama's stay at home allows outdoor activities that limit to 10 or less people. Since we have our boat 30 min from the house, and the four of us are the only ones that will be on board, we plan to us RoseLeigh a lot this month.
 

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
@Jim26m
Thanks for your perspective. I think you have touched on the centre of my quandary. I think my core issue is the trade off of my personal interest against the real or more likely the potential burden I place on others real or imagined.

I picture myself out on the water having a great time, however this activity is visible to homeowners and people travelling in their cars, commuters on ferry’s etc. All of them are under some degree of duress related to the pressures of this new world we find ourselves in.

Do I have a right to burden the majority by causing anyone to spend time considering “what is he doing?? “ or more specifically first responders if I should need assistance?

Do I consider the very real possibility that the first responders won’t be available to assist if I do need help?

I have lots of time to ponder, ice is gone but water is frigid!!!
Down here, the moron power boaters that are rafted up are making the news. A single boat with occupants that live together shouldn't be an issue, but you never know what people will think...

If you even think you might need a first responder, you shouldn't go. Just my opinion.
 

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
Alabama's stay at home allows outdoor activities that limit to 10 or less people. Since we have our boat 30 min from the house, and the four of us are the only ones that will be on board, we plan to us RoseLeigh a lot this month.
Hard to know how the language will be enforced. Frankly, I don't want to have that conversation with law enforcement right now while dragging a sailboat on a trailer. If I had my boat in an open marina, or tied up in front of my lake house (wish), I would be tempted to go.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,561
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
I personally believe that the shelter-in-place is an advisement and an order/law which may be easily challenged in the courts, but, with that being said I am going to stay as advised, there will hopefully be time later, or even next year if I survive this virus which has been nickname by those of a younger generation as being the Boomer Remover.....
The club's Commodore put out a letter today basically saying the club is closed, if your boat is stored on the property (and many are) then you may not work on it as the club may be fined as well as the person who has violated the order. As it stands now we are closed until 4/13 with that expected to be extended to the end of the month.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,342
Hunter 216 Kingston
So, maybe I'm missing your point. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
I guess what I was trying to convey with the family stuff was I’m likely reasonably “typical” of a lot of the forum participants in that many of us have more “important” concerns at hand than going sailing.

Let me try to phrase it differently; if I‘m unwittingly Covid positive, I engage in a “non-life sustaining” - ie “essential” activity and I somehow cause someone else to suffer and/or die who wouldn’t have otherwise “should” I do that activity just because I can?
 

Jim26m

.
Apr 3, 2019
504
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
I guess what I was trying to convey with the family stuff was I’m likely reasonably “typical” of a lot of the forum participants in that many of us have more “important” concerns at hand than going sailing.

Let me try to phrase it differently; if I‘m unwittingly Covid positive, I engage in a “non-life sustaining” - ie “essential” activity and I somehow cause someone else to suffer and/or die who wouldn’t have otherwise “should” I do that activity just because I can?
Ok. Totally missed the "unwittingly COVID positive" part of the equation. If there is a possibility that you're positive, and sailing would expose anyone else, then you shouldn't go.

I don't like to say it out loud, but there are a few things that are more important than sailing... a few.