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Old 16-12-2010, 07:22   #1
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Fear

I was reading some sailing blogs the other day when reading one couple who sailed for a few months and she metioned that her chronic fear kept her from enjoying the trip. It was then I realized I also had this problem. I was always worrying about what could go wrong while sailing to the point I could not enjoy myself and I hated it. I want to relax on the water not worry. We all read the occasional horror story of what went wrong and this reinforces our own fears. I think a healthy respect and a little fear is OK but not to the point of ruining the moment.
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Old 16-12-2010, 07:39   #2
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I know the feeling. It's an anxiety that can really haunt you.

I started telling my wife (and myself) that the worst thing that happens is the boat sinks, we get some more money, and buy a new one. Considering the things that happen to people in this world (murder, rape, genocide, terminal illness, etc) losing a yacht is hardly that big of a deal if you look at it from a macro level.

You have to own the boat; it can't own you. Hard balance to strike sometimes.
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Old 16-12-2010, 07:46   #3
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I know exactly what you mean..
There are many who post on this site who.. I feel share your worries. The amount of negative advice and statements like..
"A30yr old boats gonna need $30+K to fix up before you can go anywhere.." makes people like me on tight budgets and aim for biggest boat/$ cringe... its not that we are fearless or as often labeled 'Chestbeaters'..
more that we are happy with the most basic of equipment and rely on our ability to tell if riggings/sails/hull are basically sound then off we go... all the 'fancy stuff' is for the unsure who need the psychological backup these gadgets bring... Radar for example... "What if its foggy/dark/big ships coming etc....
Christ one guys even trying to find a Radar that'll spot swimmers.. now thats serious paranoia.
Now I'm not saying that I don't worry.. but I address the worries before I leave.. for example an '87 Beneteau I bought in the Carib was basically sound apart from a couple of dubious lower shrouds.. I still set out for the UK as was... just made sure I'd set up block and tackles and lines already on the boat to deal with it if they popped... one did just N of the Azores... my emergency setup worked and I completed the trip in spite of a couple of storms..
But then I guess.. all I've got to lose is me... but then looking back over the previous 62yrs I can think of many occasions that nearly happened.... military service, fights, cars, bikes, climbing etc...
So Far... So Good...
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Old 16-12-2010, 08:11   #4
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I look back on some things I did when I was young and the boat was much smaller. I knew no fear. Now I am more cautious, particularly when near things to run into. I have not had the privlege of open ocean passage making.......yet. Idora wants to go, I imagine she will get her way.

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Old 16-12-2010, 08:51   #5
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You see kids wearing shirts that say 'No Fear'. That is a gloss, which really means 'I am not playing with a full deck'. Or I'm one short of a six pack, I'm frigging insane, whatever. Fear is a necessary part of the human condition, and generally tells us something needs looking after. The trick is getting it in perspective. Every time I truly think about it, driving down the highway scares me spitless. My life, and the lives of my passengers, are in the hands of some drunk on his way to the next bar, or a hyped teen trying to impress his buddies. If your boat is sound, you are a lot safer in it, than you are on the highway. Your kids are safer in it than they are in school. Safety, however, can become a nasty drug. [Look at the fear mongering our gummint is doing. Those of us who have spent time in Muslim countries know it is a crock of crap.] See the passage in Frank Herbert's book Dune, where Paul and Jessica recite the Bene Gesserit prayer about accepting the fear, letting it wash thru them. 'Then only I will remain, after the fear has passed.' Good stuff. Any of us who claims to have never been afraid at sea is either incredibly lucky or not being honest.
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:02   #6
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Hi Micheal.... Fear is something we all go through sooner or later out there... for some it takes the form of paralysis and ostrich tactics, others indecision or tears and for the fortunate few its turned into adrenalin which gets them through...
I think what the OP is referring to is more the uncertainty/trust in the boat and /or their ability to cope when things go tits up...
Not so much once they have.. and this is what spoils the voyage... the what if.. what if...
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:08   #7
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A very could reading is by members of CF. I believe should be read by potential cruisera. It would help dispel some of the fears about cruising.

THE TOP TEN CRUISING DISASTERS I WAS AFRAID OF

After my wife read it' you could actually see her relax and just go with the flow..
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:15   #8
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Actually, the person in the blog was always fearful but never had to face the fact about themselves till they were "out there". They were in paradise but could not enjoy it. It interfered with their relationships. They had to learn to deal with it but not sure if they did.
Yes, fear is fundamental human characteristic. It, I am sure, stems from thousands of years of evolution to get us where we are at and does serve a useful purpose. Only when it interferes with our enjoyment of life does it need to be faced. I am afraid to leave the dock but I am willing to take the risk of whatever may go wrong because I am pretty sure I can deal with the problem. My hats off to crusiers who do this everyday.
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:29   #9
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One thing to keep in mind is that it is much easier to write about the fear, the danger, the hazards, etc than it is to write about the joy, the freedom, the sense of adventure and accomplishment.

It is also easier to get a response from blog/forum readers. Look at CF. The threads with all the views and responses are the ones that talk about disaster. The threads where people say they went to 'X' and had a wonderful sail, the boat worked perfectly, the people were friendly, etc get only a few views.

Heck, look at this thread, I clicked on it because of the title, "Fear"!
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Old 16-12-2010, 09:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOGAO View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that it is much easier to write about the fear, the danger, the hazards, etc than it is to write about the joy, the freedom, the sense of adventure and accomplishment.

It is also easier to get a response from blog/forum readers. Look at CF. The threads with all the views and responses are the ones that talk about disaster. The threads where people say they went to 'X' and had a wonderful sail, the boat worked perfectly, the people were friendly, etc get only a few views.

Heck, look at this thread, I clicked on it because of the title, "Fear"!
Messageboards in general do a bad job of reflecting a lot of the realities out there, especially when you're talking about something that isn't an office-computer bound job. Not a lot of merchant mariners, tug operators, or delivery captains are sitting around on their laptops all day chit chatting. The consensus opinion of the Internet can often be at odds with other folks, although it is getting less and less of an issue as time drags on and more and more people are spending time online.
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:28   #11
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Fear is good. IRRATIONAL fear is harmful and debilitating. Irrational fear is the result of being imaginative enough to conjure up endless worse case scenarios, but too ignorant of the systems on your boat or too insecure in your own skills, to conjure up solutions. The solution?
Get your hands dirty. KNOW your boat. Know how the electrical system works, know how your engine works, know how to bleed the fuel lines, know how to start it if the starter craps out, know how to go up the mast, know how to plot your position, know where the shoals are, know how to cut a spin sheet free when you dip spreaders, etc.
and then dip the freakin' spreaders! sail with the craziest sailor you know. Go crew with the guy who heads out when everyone else is coming in. Chances are you won't die. He hasn't. You'll learn that 40 degrees of heel and 8 foot swells FEEL scary, but aren't.

I've been there.
I HAD anxiety issues. First day of owning our new-to-us boat, my first keelboat, I was invincible. the first two hours of our shakedown cruise was great. I was king of the world! Then i lost the whisker pole overboard and a half hour later ran aground, an hour or so after that my daughter was almost spilled overboard when we dipped the rail after getting caught by a gust when i wasn't looking.
It took me two hours to stop shaking and two weeks to leave the dock again. That season, I came up with all sorts of excuses NOT to sail. We'd leave the dock and motor around a bit, maybe roll out a g-string of jib to say i got some sail up. I grew more disgusted with myself. My biggest issue? My wife and I didn't know how to reef, when to reef, and I wasn't communicating. Finally, mid-september we had "the talk"- SWMBO had a good point- we bought a sailboat to SAIL, didn't we? If we weren't going to sail, might as well buy a (gulp) SeaRay. What was my problem anyway?
Finally we talked, and the solution was so obvious, we couldn't figure out why we hand't done it before. Our doctrine for the rest of that season was to unfurl the main with the first reef set. If all is good, shake out the reef and ride. Keep the charts in the cockpit and keep an eye on your position. Most importantly, TALK. Delegate. communicate. I don't care how lubberly your crew is, anybody can sing out the numbers on the depth gauge and follow a chart or chart plotter with a little instruction before setting out.
Now, everything is different, and a whole hell of a lot more fun.

Face your irrational fear and kick it's overblown ass.
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Old 16-12-2010, 11:33   #12
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Old 16-12-2010, 12:17   #13
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some of us cant wait to be "lost at sea" LOL... out of sight if land is awesomest.... lightning is a nasty thing i fear--have since age 3 but losing sight of land is the best.
sailing in a lightning storm off coast-out of sight of land is a gas-- even with the lightning. the wind is incredible and the sailing is awesome.
rebel heart--some folks on boards actually have been/are in process of returning--and have some info worth reading-- but it seems those are the ones ignored---is really humorous to watch. we are only in port for a reason. those reasons eventually disappear-- faster for those who are truly leaving. is all good entertainment.
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Old 16-12-2010, 13:49   #14
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Interesting thread.

I recently described an experience where the adrenaline was pumping. I suggested and do feel that I didn't have time for fear in the sense of fear that overwhelms you. I think the adrenaline would be symptomatic of the fear but it had the desired effect of helping me operate in an elevated state; thinking faster, and reacting quicker.

It seems many of us experience anxiety as part of the sailing experience. For me a new anchorage produces that sense as does most new challenges when I'm on the boat. I've noticed each success seems to reduce that feeling as confdence replaces anxiety.

On the other hand, and to me this is the important part, when I'm sailing on open water everything falls away and I am at peace with my world. I can stand at the helm for hours and watch the sea with hardly a thought in my mind. I come back to shore with an ear to ear grin.

For me it isn't the destination but the journey.
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Old 16-12-2010, 14:47   #15
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What? Me worry?

I'm really worried someone will buy the boat I have my eye on down in Florida.

Now THAT is fear!
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