Friday, 21 November 2008

Skills take time to acquire.

The management of the marina has erected the Christmas Tree in the bar, aagghh! I am not ready for that yet.Although it is still chilly I am not in the mood to think about the festive season just yet.

Watching the news come in on the TV and reading the internet. Time and time again I am struck by so many people's need for 'instant' solutions.

As Obama waits for January to take on the role of President his motives and possible decisions are being second and third guessed at every turn. Will he adhere to this promise or that one, will he repay 'favours' received, who will be in his cabinet? Wisely he remains virtually silent. 'Marry in haste repent at leisure' must be his mantra these days!

There are few instant fixes in any aspect of life, certainly the current financial meltdown takes a great deal of understanding before any remedies can be tried. Sometimes it can be urgent to do nothing...

Sailing is similar. The temptation to believe that we know it all can be difficult to overcome. There are so many aspects to this way of life that it would be virtually impossible to claim mastery in any one aspect let alone all.

I was concerned to read this claim for a local class for cruisers:

'I've "done the weather" for several nets on both the Pacific and Caribbean side, and the class has come from that experience. It is my boast that anyone who has taken this class is qualified to "do the weather" on any net I've ever heard.

The class is free and takes about 2 hours. The intent is to allow you to be your own weatherman: to make you self-sufficient with respect to interpreting and understanding weatherfax products such as you get from NOAA.'

Yes and I can learn to speak Spanish in 6 easy lessons! Only my badly spoken Spanish may not be putting my home and life at risk if, no when, I get it wrong...

I suggest that a 2 hour class is hardly sufficient to enable you to be a knowledgeable weatherman. It may be a start but that's all it can possibly be.

We carry a library of 'weather' books on board. Some of them are:
'Understanding Weatherfax' by Mike Harris. An invaluable guide.

The Voyagers handbook by Beth Leonard which has an excellent chapter on weather forecasting.

Instant Weather Forecasting
by Alan Watts is a good revisionary publication.

These books are read and reread. To me, the interpretation of weather signs, the understanding of the inaccuracies of computer weather models and the continuous reinforcement of knowledge are vital components of a happy, and safe, cruising life.

Many are the times that we have watched fellow cruisers relying on over simplified computer generated Grib files as they make a decision to set sail. Ignorance has quite a price to it, and mastery of the weather is an inexact science!

It's great to learn new skills and add to existing ones but don't be fooled that you will 'learn' the weather in two hours. The cruiser giving the class has thirty years experience, that says it all!

No comments: