It was blowing 30+ which didn't seem that bad since, again, we were going downwind. But we needed to gybe to stay on course. Gybing was not going to be fun but I suggested that we just chicken gybe, a dinghy school maneuver, to make life just a little safer. We did and got it over with.
Still 30-40 knots had us racing down the coast and Point Conception was in our future. Translate Point Conception from Spanish to English and you get the idea. So we decided to radio in to Morro Bay. Channel 16 had been broadcasting Morro Bay is closed. Do not approach Morro Bay. That includes you.
In fact, Morro Bay did not even pick up but eventually Long Beach did. They said Morro Bay would radio back which they did.
Morro Bay was very professional. How many souls on board? Are you wearing life jackets? What is your sailing experience? Have you been in to Morro Bay before? ...
A note about Morro Bay. In normal conditions, it's easy peasy. But in a blow, the waves are rolling south directly into the breakwater, the rocks. You cannot go in normally.
They sent two cutters out. One was put in front of us and one behind us. We surfed down the waves. They timed it and said that when the boat in front turns left, you turn left. We did.
After that, motored up the channel, tied up at the YC and went to sleep. Pancakes the next day in Morro Bay and then Point Conception (I've been turned back by Point Conception going north several times) was easy + beautiful.
The Coasties? They do this every day.
Translates to the same thing? I don't get it.
What is a genoa in this context?
With the exception of the gybe, we felt in control but with Point Conception approaching we wanted to pull in and we thought Morro Bay was the best idea. With some more thought, experience and planning, we might have been able to sneak into San Luis Obispo Bay. I recall now that half the crew, the skipper included, were seasick.
These are the sort of questions you need to work through before you leave port, especially in seas. The Coast Pilot is a good resource.
They work on dry land, too. Very useful to have if you like to do trips to the desert backcountry. I ended up purchasing a satellite phone after ditching my SPOT tracker but if I had to do it over, I'd just buy the EPIRB.
The marine versions activate automatically when dropped in the water. Typically, on a sailboat, you would lash it somewhere on deck where it would pop up to the surface and activate if the boat sinks. The outside of a life raft shell is one such spot.
Who is responsible will vary around the world. If you're at sea it will likely be some sort of coast guard or possibly even a navy, but on land it's often a civilian agency charged with rescuing people who've got into trouble far from civilisation or even handed off to volunteers.
COSPAS/SARSAT (the satellite technology that makes these beacons work) is a rare example of Cold War co-operation on technology for peaceful ends. Hence why SARSAT makes obvious sense in English (Seach And Rescue SATellite) while COSPAS is Russian.
Before all this starts, there are analogue radio beacons. Those are pretty dumb, you can still find them in some personal planes flown by pilots too cheap to upgrade - they just play a siren tone on a fixed reserved frequency when triggered. If somebody is tuned to the reserved frequency and close enough, they can hear your beacon, with some pretty easy technology a group can triangulate and find the emergency. Might save your life, if people are searching and if you can survive maybe a day or two while they look.
COSPAS/SARSAT says wait, we have satellites, put a radio "mirror" on a satellite at that frequency, and now we don't have to search any more. We sit at the ground station for the satellite, we hear distress beacon sirens from existing beacons on the ground, we can use mathematics to work out based on where the satellite is and the Doppler effect where the radio beacon is in a few minutes.
That works up to a point, but there sure is a lot of other junk that's broadcasting (intentionally or not) on the reserved frequency, and you've got no idea when your rescue helicopter scrambles are you going to find: A small plane with no filed fight plan and six badly injured people? One lone hiker who is just lost in the hills? A pile of garbage somebody threw out which happens to include a radio beacon with just barely working batteries? Could be anything. Almost always it was nothing. That's expensive and bad for morale.
So, modern COSPAS/SARSAT beacons are digital, and the satellites are now smarter. The beacon has a unique identifier and if fitted with or connected to a suitable receiver (very common on boats and somewhat common elsewhere) it can transmit its GPS co-ordinates.
This means now the base station isn't trying to guess if this is a beacon with a low battery or a garage door opener, they know instantly it's beacon #4843931 and it says it's fourteen miles off the north coast of Scotland. This cut false alarms by an order of magnitude at least, and reduced search time to almost zero. False alarms are still the majority of all alerts though - emergencies don't happen that often and humans are lazy and incompetent leading to false alarms.
The current work on COSPAS/SARSAT is return link. Right now you trigger the beacon and then... maybe you get rescued. But that's not great emotionally and we know in some emergencies hope is key to survival. Is anybody coming? If you're clinging to the wreck of a yacht ten minutes can seem like an hour, surely the beacon you triggered just isn't working? So return link is a mechanism by which GPS messages are used to tell your beacon "Received. Rescue coming" and perhaps some day more complicated messaging like "Cannot Land. Ground team on its way to you. Stay here".
In case anyone is interested here’s a simplified version of what happens if a beacon goes off in a U.K. sea area. The coastguard marine rescue coordination centre receives the alert, depending on the type of EPIRB initially the information could be as little as the location to within 100nm. If they get an ID number they look up the details to see which vessel/aircraft it’s registered to and they call the person listed on the register to find out if it’s an accidental activation. Meanwhile they are starting the process of tasking search and rescue units. Unless it can be confirmed it’s an accidental activation they will request at least one RNLI lifeboat and typically task a coastguard helicopter as well. They can also broadcast a Mayday on channel 16 to oblige all vessels nearby to take part in the search. The lifeboat service is a charity which is independent from the government so the coastguard has to contact the launch authority for the closest lifeboat station, the LA agree to be tasked and at that point crew pagers go off. The crew tumble out of bed (or work) and run or drive to the station. From at work or asleep at home to fully kitted up doing 25kts at sea is about 10mins. The coastguard can set our pagers off directly to save a few minutes if it’s super urgent, but the decision to put to sea is still made by the RNLI. Our patch extends out into the Atlantic as far as our range will take us, about 125nm at full speed, and about 30 mins north or south to the next boat’s patch. A fairly typical shout will see us on scene in under 45mins from launch. In our location the helicopter usually makes it there at about the same time as us give or take 10mins. The longest shout I’ve been on is 18 hours. A more typical one would be 3-4hours and our boat has two 1600hp diesels so we might use 1000 litres of diesel (costing about £500), about 1/6th of the tank mostly in getting there and back. The boat has a crew of 7. Apart from the Coxswain (the RNLI word for skipper) and the Mechanic the crew are all unpaid volunteers, we get a token amount of money per hour at sea, maybe £1, not sure. There is a pool of about 25 crew and we train for about 4 hours per week. As to what we can do when we get there. Our training covers seamanship, things like rope work, navigation, watch keeping, emergency drills. But also specific SAR techniques and equipment. So we have things like a portable salvage pump that can shift about 1m³ in 1-2minutes, line throwing rockets, crane launched daughter craft for shore search, breeches buoy etc. Most of the crew have also done basic medical training, things like CPR, giving oxygen or entonox, inserting airways, bag valve mask, tourniquets, combat bandages, etc. We work in close coordination with the coastguard helicopter and with land based paramedics. Our boat is pretty specialised, RNLI all weather lifeboats are designed to survive a capsize and self right again afterwards and we have customised diesel engines that can operate upside down at idle power for short periods of time. As such we can go to sea in pretty much any conditions.
My office overlooked the main waterway and what always struck me is that if there was bad weather incoming you could see all the pleasure craft and the merchants that could make it in time make a beeline for the harbor and the locks while - not all that rare - the pilots and the SAR vessel were going the other way, straight into the worst of it.
The take away for me is that discovering the goodness in people's heart when you've lost everything is worth more than all our junk.
When things go bad on a boat, they go bad fast. The skiff he planned to hop in and get to shore sank before he could get into it. He did get his survival suit on, which kept him alive long enough to be rescued.
This is a 70 year old man who's spent his life fishing in the area. This was his day where almost everything went wrong. But he'd done enough right on his boat, and in his training, to set himself up for rescue.
I live in Sitka, where the helicopter crew that did this rescue is based. We hear stories about these kinds of rescues all the time. People have deep respect for USCG personnel here.
Oftentimes, we find government resources wasted for little value. Many a life, however, from pollution, man’s violence, or the intemperance of the sea, has been saved by the Coast Guard.
An overlooked service I feel, nearly two decades since I left.
Thank you for your service, and your colleagues' as well. I agree, most people have no idea how hard USCG personnel train, and what goes on when they head out to conduct rescues.
And in the end he was saved by a device he didn't know had activated and whose batteries he hadn't checked in years.
But yeah, doing enough of the right things at the right time probably saved him.
Things can go from 'what a nice cruise' to 'what on earth am I doing here' in about 15 minutes.
I once nearly drowned on IJsselmeer during a rigging test that was supposed to last a half hour and that ended with a severely damaged boat because of a storm that materialized extremely rapidly and out of nowhere.
>The problem that I’m having is, I don’t know, I don’t exactly have a goal for the rest of my life
I can attest to this. I grew up in a very middle class family in a third world country and had been chasing my dreams - become a successful entrepreneur in silicon valley. I worked insanely hard for this, compromising on personal relationships, health, everything. And then, one day, I become successful. Very, very successful. I am quite wealthy now and the wealth will last generations. I am well known in the industry I work in. But it had been a struggle after I achieved success. I found myself depressed. And just last month I was put on medications.
Turns out, this is very common problem when you had been chasing your dreams all your life. Like climbing a mountain. Once you have climbed to the top, that's it. You enjoy it for a while and then you start thinking ..now what?
There isn't really a pinnacle with the backcountry or walking on the ground - there's always a longer trail or more distant target.
If Tom Hanks in Castaway got saved in a month or two he would mostly dust himself off and have a GREAT story to tell.
But he didn't and now he's both kinda alive and not alive and kinda weird to himself and other people. Humans go through some weird stuff when hooked off civilization. Even within the civilization some people fall through the "cracks". What those cracks are I do not know.
Resets are not for the faint of heart, and really shouldn't be messed with.
I can think of so many things I'd try if I were wealthy. I'd produce a fantasy movie or TV show. I'd get my pilot license. I'd learn to sail and have a multimonth voyage. I'd setup my own creative studio to build practical effects for film and tv. I'd buy land and learn bushcraft on it and build a little castaway home using only the land.
None of these have anything to do with my career in tech. Do you not have anything similar for yourself?
I'm just curious. And also, I sincerely hope you find happiness.
1. Not working gets boring fast. In less than six months I was casting about for something to do. I still work, not because I have to, but because it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. It's not working that sucks, it's having to work that sucks.
2. You can get used to anything, and hardly anything is as nice in reality as it is in your imagination. The trappings commonly associated with money -- houses, cars, private jets -- the charm wears off shockingly quickly and it starts to feel like a burden and a PITA. The houses all need to be furnished and maintained. The cars get old and need to be maintained. Even private jet travel is not all it's cracked up to be. Today we have one house, we drive old, boring, but incredibly reliable Japanese cars, and we fly commercial (though I have to admit that being able to go business class is awfully nice).
Money is just a lever. If you focus all your mental energy into acquiring the leverage without ever giving any thought to where you want to pry, you can end up badly lost.
Damn. I read the same thing from a lot of people on HN over the years and I'm envious.
I think I could easily and happily just not work for the rest of my life (in my 30s). I did exactly that for more than a year, living off my savings after being laid off. It was fantastic.
For six more months after that, I worked a couple of hours a week contracting, as the savings started to dry up. But I wasn't even close to wanting to work again. Maybe it would happen in 3-5 years? Who knows, but I certainly wouldn't want to do it full time. Which is where I'm back at, currently (working as a software engineer).
Really? How did you spend your time?
Martial arts, strength training, social dancing (I also gave lessons occasionally), reading fiction, going out to concerts/pubs, dates with my GF, video games, watching tv shows/youtube, hacker news.
Daytime coffee dates with friends - if both don't have to work those can easily stretch to 2-3 enjoyable hours. Lot of sleeping (9 hours/day, sometimes more). Weekend hiking trips - much better if you don't have to wake up for work on Friday and Monday.
Travel would have been great, but I didn't want to overspend since I didn't have any income. If all of that got boring I would have tried to join an amateur band (used to play guitar long time ago).
I guess I'm just describing a student life without the classes, lol.
That's one big problem right there. Everyone I know works. I don't know if this is because they all have to, or because, like me, they choose to. All I know is that they all do. (Actually, that's not quite true. I know one couple who is retired. But I don't know anyone my age (mid-fifties) who doesn't work.
One thing I do is take jobs with flexible schedules, so mostly consulting gigs nowadays. If I want to take a Monday off, I just do it. But I find that if I'm out of the loop for too long, I want back in. I find it tremendously valuable to have someone counting on me to deliver something precisely so I dont spend all day watching YouTube, which I could very easily do. But when I do that, I feel useless, and I don't like feeling useless.
But that's just me, I guess.
One other thing that makes it work for me (no pun intended): I don't have kids. If I did, I would probably be focusing a lot more energy on them.
Words to remember.
Agreed. In other words, money is just a linguistic tool for communicating value. So, what do you say with how you use (or don't use) this tool?
How do you express your core beliefs, convictions, or values with toul use of money? What are you trying to do ("pry") with this tool?
moreover, I don't even indulge in anything expensive, so I don't even feel motivated to earn more money or spend it.
> anyone who cares about you probably cares only because of that, even if only as an example so they can learn how to accumulate money too.
should best be interpreted as a perspective and not a character assessment.
> I don't even indulge in anything expensive, so I don't even feel motivated to earn more money or spend it.
Thats probably healthy.
Besides, he's already demonstrated he's capable of flourishing when risks are present.
I don't think the space is that crowded; who do you think is legitimately trying to establish order? It seems like the majority of the western ruling class are a bunch of old people merely trying to have a bit of fun before they die.
> he's already demonstrated he's capable of flourishing when risks are present.
That is an excellent point.
> who do you think is legitimately trying to establish order?
I'm not sure how to go about answering this, I think the space is as crowded as its going to be because people who are more competent push out and make irrelevant people who are less relevant.
> It seems like the majority of the western ruling class are a bunch of old people merely trying to have a bit of fun before they die.
Personally I cannot think of anything more boring than a meeting of the EU Parliament, the UN, US Congress, or the CCP.
I think that a loss in purpose is worse than a loss in material wealth. I'm a scrappy student working on a startup I believe in, and I would not trade places with the successful entrepreneur.
I have fun climbing mountains. So does he. I have plenty of mountains to climb, while he's surrounded by the fog and believes he has no other mountains to climb. Ergo, I'm having fun while he believes he'll never have fun again.
> That is an excellent point.
> Personally I cannot think of anything more boring than a meeting of the EU Parliament, the UN, US Congress, or the CCP.
I never stated they have good taste :P
In all seriousness, I wouldn't really consider politicians the ruling class. Now, I'm not an expert on this topic, but I'd wager that the billionaire entrepreneurs have more power than the US senators being paid a measly $200K/year. Suppose they have a little side-hustle and make 1M/year; that's still peanuts.
I agree and thank you for sharing your perspective.
> In all seriousness, I wouldn't really consider politicians the ruling class. Now, I'm not an expert on this topic, but I'd wager that the billionaire entrepreneurs have more power than the US senators being paid a measly $200K/year. Suppose they have a little side-hustle and make 1M/year; that's still peanuts.
Thats true but they are part of a powerful decision making body. The people who tell them what to do are a more exclusive group. And some senators somehow end up worth $100mm, that money comes from somewhere and they don't make it by accident.
> The people who tell them what to do are a more exclusive group.
That's what I consider the ruling class. Based on my rudimentary observations, I'm unsure whether such people truly want to impose some sort of order, or are just striving to maximize their quarterly revenue. Of course, there are exceptions like the CCP.
I'm a bit sleepy so I will be going to bed, good night o/
It was nice talking to you
Another way to look at it: In life/happiness, optimize for the area under the curve, not for a single high point.
... I wish I was joking :(
It was a hoax.
Less social people often overlook that part, I know that I do.
Disagree. This is near-death for anyone, especially a 70-year-old.
It would be such a waste if the author appended the horrible "(pun intended)".