March 12, 2013

The importance of privacy

ORDINARY, likeable people can become very crabby when they’re locked up in the close confines of a yacht with several others for any length of time.

This is a serious business for any skipper to deal with because privacy on a small yacht is about as attainable as silence on a school bus.

On land, we unconsciously preserve our personal spaces but when we’re sailing we have to put up with constant invasions of our privacy for long periods by people we may not even like.

Nevertheless, the skipper must try to ensure that every crewmember has at least a token amount of space which is his or hers alone, and this fact must be well understood by everybody.

A curtained-off pilot berth, separated from the rest of the thundering herd, is the ultimate fantasy, but rarely available. Even a bunk of your own may not be possible if other crewmembers have to sit on it, too.

In this case, a personal drawer or small private locker must suffice as a place where you can hide your last beer or bar of chocolate from the prying eyes and thieving fingers of the hoi polloi.

Incidentally, psychologists offer the advice that you never sail with more crew than there are individual bunks for. Try telling that to the racers.

Today’s Thought

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.

— William O. Douglas, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court


From a newspaper advertisement in Virginia:

Important Notice — If you are one of the hundreds of parachuting enthusiasts who bought our “Easy Sky Diving” book, please make the following correction:

On Page 8, line 7, the words “state zip code” should have read “pull rip cord.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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