Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Don't Know

In my recent post Broken Record, I let slip that I had been pumping some of the better sailors in Cabarete for tips on how to sail in extreme conditions. A couple of commenters to that post, other Laser sailors I guess, requested that I write about what I learned of how to keep the white floppy thing over the blue shiny thing in very windy and wavy conditions.

Now, of course, I have no problem with sharing such information with other Laser sailors. But my grasp of how to keep a Laser upright in strong winds and big waves is so shaky that I am reminded of Donald Rumsfeld's famous quote ...

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

I do have some things that I know that I know on this topic. For example I do know that you have to release the vang before rounding the windward mark. I could write about those things but you can find them in almost any book on Laser sailing. Might not be all that interesting or informative.

Then there are some things that I know that I don't know. Some of these are things on which I have read or heard conflicting advice from different sailors. And I may have tried some of their advice and still I know that I don't know which way is the best option. (An example would be how far to release the vang when sailing downwind.) That would make for a very confusing post but it might be an entertaining ramble.

Finally, given the amount of time that I spent swimming that Saturday in Cabarete, I strongly suspect there are some things that I don't know that I don't know about Laser sailing. How would I know? Is it possible to write a post about what I don't know that I don't know? What would Donald do?

Having said all that, maybe I will write a few posts on this topic discussing what I know that I don't know that I don't know... whatever. Perhaps some kind reader will fill in the gaps in my knowledge. You never know.


EVK4 said...

Don't forget that there are things that you know that I don't know. Worth at least three posts I'm sure.

Tillerman said...

There may be things that I know that you don't know. But I don't know what the things that you don't know are. So I might as well not know what you don't know because I can't write about what I don't know that I know that you don't know. You know?

bonnie said...

I know you are but what am I?

Tillerman said...

You sail therefore you am.

Wait. What was that question again?

EVK4 said...

I know things. You just don't know what I know. And I'm not telling.

Pat said...

I know when I'm hungry. Sometimes I know enough to come out of the rain. Other times I like to get wet.

I know that cows like hay. Horses do, too. But, straw is cheaper, grass is free, and they pay you to eat weeds.

And, I know, that, wherever I go, there I am. If I'm lucky, I'm on the water -- with luck with a boat between me and most of the water.

Tillerman said...

How much would they pay me to eat weeds? Is spinach a weed? Is wheat a grass?

Carol Anne said...

Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?

Pat requests that I add that this discussion doesn't necessarily apply to certain illegal weeds.

Anonymous said...

Downwind on a run? Vang OFF. As in let it out to your max ease setting. This setting is found by rigging (in a sheltered area) without vang, then depressing the boom 6 inches (on centerline).

Yes, this can make the boat a handful in big breeze, but you get used to it, and it's safer than the sudden roundup.

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