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Old 09-06-2014, 09:01   #1
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Fear

I hate being afraid. Lately I am feeling that sort of nervous trepidation that always precedes a big adventure. That what-am-I-getting-myself-into? kind of fear.

It's the kind of fear that makes you double and triple check lists, makes you obsess over details, and ultimately makes you question your base decision to undertake the adventure in the first place. I think most would consider this normal and I am not afraid of my fear in and of itself, but this does not make make the fear any less unsettling.

In this particular case, my wife and I are making a July crossing of the Atlantic from New York to England. We will be making the passage with a very old and dear friend, someone I have known and been sailing with for over twenty five years. He is RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and we have both been sailing since we were very small children.

We have been in the inky blackness before together and we know that we can depend on each other in the way you need to when there is only darkness and waves and wind and rain.

His boat is well found for her age and we are in almost as good health for our own. We have most all the gear many would consider essential for such an undertaking, and have otherwise made every possible preparation.

Despite this I feel a fear that is at least familiar, if regrettably one that has been far too long since I have felt last, but I am older now and more afraid perhaps as a result.

It is the fear that comes with knowing you are stepping off the map. The fear that comes from knowing you are going to a wild place. A dangerous place. A place where the details matter.

It is a fear of what ifs? What if my wife is miserably seasick the whole time? What if we hit a sleeping whale and sink the boat? What if someone gets hurt or sick? What if we break some essential kit? What if, what if, what if?

To combat this fear I remind myself that bad things don't just happen. That bad things only happen as the result of a series of bad decisions and as long as we consistently make good decisions bad things won't happen to us.

But the truth is I can't believe that entirely because I know bad things can and do just happen sometimes. From Rebel Heart, to Cheeki Rafiki, to any of the others, the writing is on the wall and cannot be ignored.

In my past experience, I have found this fear fade as the impending departure date drew nearer and I became distracted by more immediate concerns. I hope to have my fears diminish this time in the same way they did the last time.

I hate being afraid.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:22   #2
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Re: Fear

What you are describing seems like a classic case of anxiety. No charge for the diagnosis since I am not a doctor.

I know I have experienced it in the past and it sucks because it seems so irrational. At one time I suddenly hated when the boat heeled, it was never a problem before, but now I couldn't stand it. There was no reason, nothing bad had ever happened but one day it showed up. On the bright side, there came a day when I realized that it no longer bothered me. I was one happy camper. By the by, that particular demon has never resurfaced and I'm still puzzled as to why it showed up in the first place.

Since you have experienced this before and it faded, I suspect that it will again. You are perhaps like me, a professional worrier until I'm actually underway. At that point I realize I've done all I can to prepare so I only have to deal with the present, not the future.

Have a great trip,
Rich
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:22   #3
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Re: Fear

Being afraid is kinda normal as long as its not the type of fear that paralyzes your thoughts and actions. A little fear is healthy because it reminds us to respect the fact that the ocean is ever changing and its up to us to adapt to it. If its the type of fear that invades your dreams and causes you deep anxiety while awake then that's a separate issue. Being a little afraid causes us to really concentrate and focus our minds which is all well and good and healthy but to be **** scared is not a healthy space to be in.
Much of the fear you are experiencing comes from the society norms that are out there today...generally people live boring lives and are afraid of every little thing, that keeps churches and governments in business. If you have a well found boat and you have good basic skills and you follow reasonably safe practices then you will arrive on the other side with a grin so big they would have to drill stop it so your head wouldn't crack in half. Remember a little fear is just fine, keeps you on your toes. Have a great trip, we are coming from the other side heading your direction late this year.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:26   #4
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Re: Fear

Would you rather feel full of yourself and boastie and scoff?

I think the word you are looking for is concerned, not fear. Concerned is healthy. Fear and ignorance will get you into trouble.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:33   #5
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I've known a few people without fear, usually they were fools. Fear is a great motivator. One of my favorite stories is how when I sailed from Connecticut to Florida I almost got killed three times. everyone listening gasps. Yes the first time I was walking down the street on the way to the store and a speeding car swerved and almost hit me. Everyone listening groans. That doesn't count! Which goes to show you we become comfortable with danger that is persistent it's the unknown that scares the out of us. Another good example is I drive a motorcycle. sometimes I'll go a couple years without driving, when I first get on it it's terrifying, after a month or two I'll be driving down the highway 80 miles an hour no sweat, actually fun. which goes to show you that having no fear can be foolish
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:36   #6
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pirate Re: Fear

Hey.. I have that fear every other day...
What if I have a blow out at 120kph..
What if the steering link fails..
what if a ball joint goes..
What if the brakes fail..
What if the ass hole passing me at 160kph has any of the above..
What if he has a heart attack..
What if I run outa tobacco before I find a shop..
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:10   #7
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Re: Fear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I hate being afraid. Lately I am feeling that sort of nervous trepidation that always precedes a big adventure. That what-am-I-getting-myself-into? kind of fear.

It's the kind of fear that makes you double and triple check lists, makes you obsess over details, and ultimately makes you question your base decision to undertake the adventure in the first place. I think most would consider this normal and I am not afraid of my fear in and of itself, but this does not make make the fear any less unsettling.

In this particular case, my wife and I are making a July crossing of the Atlantic from New York to England. We will be making the passage with a very old and dear friend, someone I have known and been sailing with for over twenty five years. He is RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and we have both been sailing since we were very small children.

We have been in the inky blackness before together and we know that we can depend on each other in the way you need to when there is only darkness and waves and wind and rain.

His boat is well found for her age and we are in almost as good health for our own. We have most all the gear many would consider essential for such an undertaking, and have otherwise made every possible preparation.

Despite this I feel a fear that is at least familiar, if regrettably one that has been far too long since I have felt last, but I am older now and more afraid perhaps as a result.

It is the fear that comes with knowing you are stepping off the map. The fear that comes from knowing you are going to a wild place. A dangerous place. A place where the details matter.

It is a fear of what ifs? What if my wife is miserably seasick the whole time? What if we hit a sleeping whale and sink the boat? What if someone gets hurt or sick? What if we break some essential kit? What if, what if, what if?

To combat this fear I remind myself that bad things don't just happen. That bad things only happen as the result of a series of bad decisions and as long as we consistently make good decisions bad things won't happen to us.

But the truth is I can't believe that entirely because I know bad things can and do just happen sometimes. From Rebel Heart, to Cheeki Rafiki, to any of the others, the writing is on the wall and cannot be ignored.

In my past experience, I have found this fear fade as the impending departure date drew nearer and I became distracted by more immediate concerns. I hope to have my fears diminish this time in the same way they did the last time.

I hate being afraid.
I am a Doctor and the bill is in the mail.

You are stepping out of your comfort zone and its natural to be apprehensive. However, there comes a point where you have to make a conscious decision to have full trust in your preparations and your own abilities.

Answer the following questions for yourself:

  • Am i competent sailor?
  • Is everything prepared to the best of my ability?
  • Why am I doing this?
The rest, your wifes seasickness issues for one.. is HER responsibility. If she feels she cant be on a boat for 3 weeks being sick then SHE has to decide, not you.

The weather, Last time I looked that was part of nature and not under the control of you.
Boat bits breaking, again out of your control.


Seriously, every feeling comes from a thought. If you change your thinking the feeling changes. You are ALLOWING and FEEDING this anxiety by giving it house room. The reason you feel better closer to the event is simply because you change your attitude from "what if" to "well Im doing it now" and actively DO things in a positive manner.


break the habit right now. Your doing it so might as well enjoy it.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:14   #8
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Re: Fear

What if your wife is seasick the whole trip? Good question. Has she been out on the ocean before at all?

Not unusual, and actually quite healthy, to feel the way you do, but eventually, either you back out because of it, or keep going by being as prepared as you can be.

Safe journey.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:26   #9
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Re: Fear

'Just a hunch, but could your statement: "His boat is well found for her age" have something to do with your anxiety level?

The anxiety you're experiencing is your conscience telling you that something isn't quite right. You probably already know what's wrong, but fear confronting the issue.

Ken
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:46   #10
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Re: Fear

Butterflies. A part of me loves the feeling because some adrenaline helps me stay focused, too much makes me feel like passing out. This happens all the time before doing something risky or new. Then the anxiety goes away when the activity starts. If they don't go away, then you should ask yourself what have you missed or are really worried about that you are giving a pass on. Other posters mentioned the condition of the boat or your wife's seasickness as possible factors. These are things that are mostly outside of your control and check lists. If you are not confident in being able to handle the outcomes in a worst case scenario, then you might want to consider ways to mitigate those risks or maybe even calling off the trip.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:54   #11
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Re: Fear

Quote:
Originally Posted by weavis View Post
I am a Doctor and the bill is in the mail.

You are stepping out of your comfort zone and its natural to be apprehensive. However, there comes a point where you have to make a conscious decision to have full trust in your preparations and your own abilities.

Answer the following questions for yourself:

  • Am i competent sailor?
  • Is everything prepared to the best of my ability?
  • Why am I doing this?
The rest, your wifes seasickness issues for one.. is HER responsibility. If she feels she cant be on a boat for 3 weeks being sick then SHE has to decide, not you.

The weather, Last time I looked that was part of nature and not under the control of you.
Boat bits breaking, again out of your control.


Seriously, every feeling comes from a thought. If you change your thinking the feeling changes. You are ALLOWING and FEEDING this anxiety by giving it house room. The reason you feel better closer to the event is simply because you change your attitude from "what if" to "well Im doing it now" and actively DO things in a positive manner.


break the habit right now. Your doing it so might as well enjoy it.
Well said Weavis, and I hope you provided a good discount...

I was told by a wise man to worry only about things that you can control. As you said you have checked and re-checked everything, so all else will be dealt with as they occur, or you never leave the dock.

Fear is common and will keep you alive. I crossed to the Azores with a seasick crew, sick and on his bunk all the way across. That is when I practised my singlehanded skills, and the crew survived fine.

Enjoy the prep work and have a safe passage
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:54   #12
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Re: Fear

About 15 or 20 years ago when I was still teaching young High School students there was a common phrase used and seen on T-shirts, "No Fear!" This struck me as rather stupid because I always thought fear was something to be used in order to manage risks and make wise decisions. I had my own T-shirt made that I often wore when out among the younger crowd, .... "Know Fear!"
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:07   #13
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Re: Fear

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
Well said Weavis, and I hope you provided a good discount...
discount?!
boy.. that filled me with fear...

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Old 09-06-2014, 11:15   #14
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Re: Fear

That "fear" comes from pushing the limits, and expanding the envelope is what makes life fun. Without the fear, it would be mundane and not fun. Trust me, anything can become boring.
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:29   #15
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Re: Fear

I think what you describe is a pretty normal reaction and keeps a lot of folks from taking that one step beyond to stretch their limits. It's part of our survival instincts and it's the reason why so many sailors never sail beyond their local harbors. They own the boats that you see tied to their docks and never seem to move.

Have a great adventure. Bon Voyage.

kindest regards,
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