A life lesson worth sharing

I follow a blog called “Wait, but why?”.  It’s an in depth looks at a variety of topics.  I read one today that made me stop and say to myself, “wow, this is important”.   He drops a few “F-bombs” occasionally, hope that doesn’t offend you.  This post falls under my category of “life lesson” and is worth reading.

The tail end by “Wait, but Why?”


Instant wet tool extraction kit

During last weekend’s adventure of putting the boat on the trailer, I managed to drop a wrench (a closed end ratcheting box wrench) in the water. Perhaps it was due to my nervousness, maybe I was feeling a little bit clumsy, I don’t know. It just slipped right out of my hand. I felt pretty bad because it was Pete’s wrench, not mine

Fortunately the water was clear (unusually) and I could see the wrench laying on the bottom. It was a little too deep to reach down into water and get it, and a little too cold to jump in and get it, so I had to figure out another way. I had a boat hook and toolbox and a creative mind. Surely I could come up with something that could retrieve that socket!

The hook part of the boat hook was too big to fit through the socket. I had to find something smaller. Since I brought a bunch of bungee’s to tie the stays to the mast for transport I started thinking about how to use one.  Next I had to attach the hook of the bungee to the end of the boat hook. There were plenty of zip ties available so I grabbed one and yanked it tight. Now I had a handy-dandy instant wet tool extraction device!

In the picture below you can see a leaf sitting on the bottom. It was right next to the wrench. It was great to reach down and hook that socket wrench on the first try! The pictures below are from a reenactment. I retrieved the wrench so fast that it didn’t occur to me to take pictures until it was back on board. No wrenches were harmed in the filming of this important public service announcement.

Wrench Rescue

Wrench Rescue

Here is a close-up so you can admire the fine construction details that went into the making of this quality tool.

Wet tool retrieval device

Wet tool retrieval device

Pete grabbed it and gave it a quick freshwater rinse and put it back in his tool case. For some reason he didn’t let me use wrenches again that night.

Book Review – The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

The Art of Choosing is one of those books that grabbed me by my assumptions and tossed me around like a Gumby doll in a jack terrier’s mouth.  This book definitely gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

I found myself only able to read a chapter at a sitting, as I wanted to take a while and think about it before I moved on to the next topic.  (It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book  – unheard of!)  I’m lucky that Mrs. CapnRehab is willing to listen to me ramble on as I try to form my thoughts about whatever book I’m currently reading.  I think if I could get away with it, I’d spend most of my time reading, and the rest sailing.  (Speaking of which, there is a great blog “Sundowner sails again”  by a couple that has refitted a Sundowner sailboat for the last 5 years and JUST NOW (Jan 2015) are setting off for a life of cruising.  Go Dani and Tate!)  Ah, that’s the life… but duty calls….

The author has done many studies of her own (including a famous one that you’ve most likely heard of) and references and explains many more as she drew her conclusions on choice.  It turns out that not only the tangible results of our choices are important.  The process we go through to make them, and our feelings about them are just as important.  Not only that – our feelings about a choice we made will often change over time so that we tell ourselves that that was what we wanted all along.

Also, when faced with 2 terrible choices (you lose either way), it’s better to have an expert opinion about which one should be chosen so that when remembering the choice your memory and feelings will fall back on that opinion and absolve some of the guilt you will feel in the future no matter which is chosen.

There is no way I can do this book justice by giving an in depth review, so here is her own summary of important things to do when choosing.

  1. CUT your options down to manageable size.
  2. CULTIVATE confidence by using expert advice and personalized recommendations
  3. CATEGORIZE choices to reduce complexity  (it’s easier to choose from a smaller set)
  4. CONDITION yourself to start with smaller choices and work your way up to more complex choices

I think I can apply all of these to the Catalina 22 refit.

The list may help but you’ll be have more info available to you if you read the book – so read the book!




Shane Koyczan

My tag line for the blog says it is a blog about “Adventures in repairing and sailing boats (and other stuff)”.  This is one of those “other stuff” posts.

Today I want to let you know about Shane Koyczan.

He is a spoken word performer from Canada who is so authentic I can’t watch a performance without being moved. When he talks about bullies, he’s describing what I went through. That was over 30 years ago and I still have scars.

Here he is performing “Blueprint for a Breakthrough” at a TedX presentation.  This “talk” is just over 20 minutes long, but worth the time spent.  If it’s not for you, that’s ok – if it is, it would be nice if you let me know in the comments.

If you can identify with his message, he has a kickstarter project going “A Bruise on light” that I’m supporting and that could use your help.



Creating your life

Apparently, lessons in sailing can relate right back to life lessons.

I’ve taken the sunfish out two more times since that first experience.  The second time I went out in the sunfish I googled how to rig it.  I never found a simple video, but I did find this My2Fish blog page that had some links to PDF’s that helped.

So I rigged the sailboat up (if not properly, then at least functionally) and cruised out.  The weather was warm and sunny with a brisk breeze blowing out of the west.  I didn’t sail with much of a purpose other than to get familiar with the boat.  I just went back and forth on some long reaches (90 degrees to the wind).

At one point I was zipping along and leaned way back, skimming my hand along in the water.  I reveled in how good the water felt, how warm and inviting it was.  I thought how great it would be to go swimming.  Within 5 minutes of that thought I capsized the boat and went for a forced swim.

Sunfish capsize

Sunfish capsize – not me

I would never have done it on purpose at this early stage of my sailing career.  The last time I capsized in a small sailboat was about 10 years ago at my son’s boy scout camp.  Theoretically I knew I had nothing to worry about, but still – I was alone out in the middle of the bay, about 98% sure I could right it, but still there was that lingering 2% of doubt.  Wow, doubt is such a killer!  Doesn’t take much and it can really spoil your attitude.

sunfish capsize recovery

sunfish capsize recovery

So instead of enjoying the dip in the water that I obviously wanted bad enough to subconciously dump the boat, I rushed around and went through the process of righting the boat.  It sure gave me a shot of adrenaline (not quite fear – let’s call it a bit of anxiety) In all, I was probably in the water about 30 seconds – maybe.

sunfish capsize recovery final

sunfish capsize recovery final

So, I guess another milestone has been conquered.  Again, not really a major victory – but still a victory.

Lately, I’ve noticed several instances where I thought or voiced a situation I didn’t want and very shortly was in that situation.  For instance I just took a plane trip.  I was talking about the trip to Mrs. CapnRehab, and mentioned I wanted to make sure I didn’t get stuck in a seat with a person that filled their seat and took part of mine.  Guess what.  Within a few hours I endured a 2 1/2 hour plane flight with a guy that occupied a third of my seat.

I believe we do have the power to create our lives by what we focus our mental energy on.  If I could get better at staying focused on what I want I think I would be a lot happier.

Starting small, here is are two things I want.  A kite board and a waterproof GoPro  camera.

Instructions for building the board are at www.WaterLust.org   That just may be on CapnRehab’s blog in the future!  Maybe I should go ahead and build the board with the expectation of getting the kite rig?  Sort of like Kevin Costner in field of dreams.  What do you think?

Maybe I should finish the sunfish rehab first.


First time in a Sunfish Sailboat

This is a catch up post, this happened Thursday two weeks ago.

I found out at club work day that the Boca Ciega Yacht Club (BCYC) has about 10 sunfish sailboats.   In the picture below the small boat beach is in the middle left.

Boca Ciega Birds Eye View

Boca Ciega Birds Eye View

Any club member can use them, and since they are one person boats I won’t need to find someone to go with. I was shown the shed with all the gear.  The club member showing me was kind enough to point out all the gear needed. No time for a tutorial, but at least I knew all the parts.

Fast forward to last Thursday after work. I’m heading home, driving down I-275 and realize there might be enough time to go check out the sunfish. By the time I got home, I guessed there was about 1 1/2 hours before sunset. I wanted to go, but was feeling hesitant about trying something so new and different completely on my own. Yes, there was just a little bit of fear hiding in those justifications I was making to myself that “there really isn’t enough time” and “I don’t really know what to do”. I finally said to heck with it and just went.

I went down to the club, pulled the gear out of the shed, loaded the boat on a dolly, rolled it down to the beach, rigged it up as best I could figure out.  Next time I’ll check out Google before I go.
This is a picture of the rigging that has to be put on: (Sorry it’s not a very good picture)

sunfish parts

sunfish parts

I headed out but immediately turned around when I realized I didn’t have the mainsheet feeding through the pulleys correctly. (That’s the line in the picture that goes diagonally up from the back of the boat to the bottom of the sail then forward along the bottom of the sail and back down again to a little round black circle.  Once I got that fixed I headed out again, only to realize I didn’t have the rudder under the main traveler. (I’ll have to take a picture of this, no way am I going to describe it clearly)  Back to the beach one more time and then it was about 20 minutes of tooling back and forth in the little inlet.   I didn’t go far because by this time the sun was hitting the horizon.  The whole thing was to prove the concept.  Could I set it up and go out by myself?  Apparently the answer is yes.

It was a real victory over the unknown to get out there and just go for it.  I think there is lots of stuff like that in life.  You might want to do something and think you MIGHT be able to do it, but a little bit of fear is in there too.  Sometimes you just have to risk it and go for it.  The victory over the first time out in a sunfish might seem little, but it could be big too.  Overcoming fears and doubts can be just as much a habit as plopping down and watching TV.  It’s your choice.  What is it that you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid of doing?  Can you bite off a small chunk and go get yourself a victory?  Go for it!

What makes us stronger?

A sailing blog I follow (Tillerman) posted  a link to an article from Psychology Today saying that, contrary to popular opinion,  What doesn’t kill us makes us WEAKER.

When I first read the article, I was a little let down.  Here I was thinking that all the crap I’ve been through in the last 5 years has made me stronger, when in fact it’s probably made me weaker and less resilient.  Bummer.

Then I got to thinking about my experience with Outward Bound.  Outward Bound was started in 1941 during WWII.  It’s founding mission was to give young seamen the ability to survive harsh conditions at sea by teaching confidence, tenacity, perseverance and to build experience of harsh conditions.   It turns out that young, strong men who should have survived were instead dying, not because the conditions were so harsh they should have died – but because they didn’t have the belief in themselves to persevere and make it.

So they came up with a program that gives progressive positive experience overcoming challenges.  This leads to confidence that can be applied to later situations that might not be so positive.

I went to an outward bound course in the early 90’s.  I had some experiences that now, over 20 years later are still crystal clear.  It was a two week expedition with 1 week of whitewater canoeing on the Rio Grande, and then 1 week of desert backpacking in the Big Bend area of Texas.   Like many Outward Bound treks, mine had a rock climbing expedition planned.  I had a pretty solid fear of heights, and in my imagination the climb got higher, and harder, and higher, and harder.  I was petrified.  I worried about the climbing for the entire two weeks of the trip.  Then on the LAST day, we did the climb.

We went to a cliff on the side of the Rio Grande river.  It was 80 feet from top to bottom.  We started at the top, and looking down it looked like a LOOONNNNGGGGG way down.  We would be rappelling down, and then climbing back up.  Our instructors gave us a little safety brief, suited us up in the climbing harnesses, and offered a choice of 3 different climbs.  Easy, Medium, and difficult.  Naturally, I took the easy one.

As I stood at the edge holding on to the rope with a stranglehold, FEAR was running pretty rampant.  Then I backed to the edge and started the transition from standing straight up, to standing horizontally on the side of the cliff – leaning back and “Trusting” the rappelling rope.  During the transition, my foot slipped and I swung down and sideways into the cliff.  I scrapped/banged my elbow pretty bad and started dripping blood.  At this point I was going no matter what.  I was tired of being afraid.  I got my feet settled on the cliff and started down.  Even though I was shaking, I was elated to find myself standing at the bottom throwing off the rappelling line.

Now came the calls.  “On Belay!”,   “Belay On!” and I started climbing back up.  Put a hand here, a foot there, next hand up, next foot up.  I did like they said and used my legs rather than my arms and next thing I new I was at the top.  And it was FUN!.  I waited a bit and then went on the medium difficulty climb.  No problem!  Then I went on the hard climb.  Whoopie!  I sat down with the group basking in the glow of accomplishment.  Some people were so hesitant that they did one climb and called it a day.  There was plenty of time left, so I thought “what the heck”, I’ll do it again.  I did the hard one again and then sat down with the group.  That’s 4 climbs to most people’s 1 climb.  (Just sayin…)

Before I tell this part, I need to let you know that I came on this trip to really push my boundaries.  I was determined to do everything I could to get everything possible out of being here.  That meant that whenever I was offered a chance to do something, I did it.  Sort of like doing every dare that people say, except that I trusted the trip leaders and knew they wouldn’t put up to something that I couldn’t do.

Back to the story.  I took off my harness and sat lounging with the group.  Then the lead instructor came over.  “OK, who wants to….” , my hand shot up.  “… climb blindfolded”.   “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

She was serious.  Blindfolded.  At this point I just had to believe it was possible.  I rappelled down and put on my bandanna like a blindfold.  Then I started feeling the wall.  I can remember the warmth of the rock, and the heat of the sun that was finally over the canyon rim.  I felt sweat dripping, and my palms were clammy.  But I felt good.  I knew I could do it.  I believed I could do it because she believed I could do it.  All those previous climbs gave me positive confidence that I could make it.  The process became pretty simple.  I held on with 1 hand and 2 feet.  Then I felt with my free hand for a place to put my foot and then a place to put hand.  Back and forth I felt for the two holds.  Then placed my foot, stepped up and started the process over again.  I “felt” myself getting higher and higher, and heard the sound of the river get further away.  The instructor’s voice was getting closer.  Then it happened.

As I reached around to find a handhold – NOTHING!  Smooth rock.  Frantically I searched around.  Still nothing.  Then my instructor’s voice.  “I know you can’t touch it, but it’s there.  About a foot above your hand is a ledge.  You’re going to have to jump up and grab it.”  Now wait a minute!  Here I am blindfolded, hanging on the side of a cliff about 70 feet above the ground, and you want me to jump?  ARE YOU CRAZY!?  “Trust me, you can do it” was all she said.

So I jumped.  Grabbed.  Found the ledge, and pulled myself up and over the top.  Wow!  What a thrill.

Sometimes in life you just have to believe in yourself and go ahead and do what you know you need to do.  I’ve got some challenges ahead.  Starting a new job, in a new place, where I don’t know anybody.  But I know I can do it and succeed.  And hey, if it doesn’t kill me it will just make me stronger, right?