Experiencing sailing through fog

Published on July 25th, 2020

Capt Chris German from Life of Sailing explains how to sail through fog, while reminding us to enjoy the experience…

Sailing is the art of using the wind to move slowly at great expense. That act becomes substantially less satisfying, when hampered with reduced visibility. Sailing in fog, darkness, or any other reduced visibility can bring a myriad of terrors from navigational hazards, other boats, and even the wind itself.

You rely on your sense of sight so completely with a sailboat, that when that sense is reduced, your ability to purposefully sail in one direction becomes more of a desperate act of mere survival.

Reduced visibility is a hazard aboard any sea going vessel. The International set of rules agreed upon by every maritime-based nation in the history of the world has as it’s cornerstone the imperative that all skippers must maintain 360 degrees of visibility at all times.

If you can’t see on a boat, you are by definition “in danger.” The fact that you are in fog and darkness by its very nature is dangerous and to do so can be incredibly scary. But sailing in fog particularly sucks. Darkness, precipitation and fog all present a substantial danger to the sailor by the fact that those conditions reduce visibility.

Couple any of those conditions with the intrinsic features of a sailboat (IE. reduced maneuverability of a sailboat, the construction of most sailing craft including integral equipment below the waterline such as the rudder, keel and propeller, and the fact that all of this activity produces the sound of cash being flushed down the toilet) and the act of going to the sea in boats in reduced visibility becomes a very distasteful premise.

So I say again, sailing in fog sucks. – Full story.

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