August 25, 2016

Go ahead, read a book

THERE ARE SOME who believe you can’t learn sailing from books; that the only worthwhile teacher is experience, often bitter experience.
I don’t think this is entirely true, but I don’t waste my time arguing with them.
It was the irrepressible Will Rogers who opined: “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.”
I believe that books provide the knowledge you need to experiment with your boat in all kinds of weather conditions. Books tell you what your options are, and how certain arrangements of sails and rudder worked for other people in light air and heavy. Without books, our knowledge of sailing would be limited to conversations with a few close associates, and we would never be able to break free from their near-sighted biased experience.
In any case, as an author myself, I’m very much in favor of people buying books to increase their knowledge of sailing and widen their skills. Reading is not a waste of time, despite what others might tell you. Remembering something you once read may make life easier for you one day. It might even save your life. So go ahead, read a book, and let some other silly bugger pee on the fence.
Today’s Thought

You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
— Theodore Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”)

“Where did you get that black eye?”
“At a night club. I was struck by the beauty of the place.”

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

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