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Old 09-01-2012, 05:10   #16
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I think of experienced sailors as “professional pessimists”. Rummaging thru their personal nightmare scenarios for a first responder’s solution on how to react, despite the shock and fear.


Given that we have chosen to constantly take responsibility for our actions with a mantra that the rewards often match the risks…. fear is a useful tool when planning.
+1

A person going out to sea with responsibility for the vessel and lives on board (even if it is only one life), who is not afraid, must just be stupid, as far as I'm concerned.

The ocean is a big, wild, unpredictable place, and there are risks everywhere. There are a million things which can go wrong. The thing is to competently manage those risks and keep everything under control. It is immensely satisfying when you do so -- maybe one of the main cool things about this sport. But you always have to be -- not only respectful, but at least a little bit afraid.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:14   #17
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Wow - thanks so much to all the people who posted here and welcomed me to this forum! I'm amazed. Funny thing is, it doesn't make me feel so alone this morning to know I just connected to people. The sun is just rising on a gorgeous January morning and I have the cabin heater going so things don't look nearly so forbidding.
I agree with much of what has been said here. Fear comes in many different shades from nervousness to terror to phobia. People don't get over their phobias by just facing up to them as the recipient of the puke so graphically showed. But I think courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face the fear and deal with it. I have sailed many miles offshore, but most of them were not alone. Now that I am the captain and alone, and on the Intracoastal where there are so many things to run into, I'm very nervous. This is all new to me. I'm trying to face up to it, but there are some days when I would love to just be tied to a dock with an electric heater (and no fears of distant banjo music) instead of anchored out in a lone salt marsh with 5-6 foot tides and morning frost on the deck.

This morning though, watching those salmon-colored clouds, I cannot help but feel that there is no place else I would rather be. I might still have that nervousness in my gut, but a. I don't feel so alone and b. the waterway stretches out in front of me and who knows what I'll see around the next bend.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:42   #18
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pirate Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

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Originally Posted by christinekling View Post
Wow - thanks so much to all the people who posted here and welcomed me to this forum! I'm amazed. Funny thing is, it doesn't make me feel so alone this morning to know I just connected to people. The sun is just rising on a gorgeous January morning and I have the cabin heater going so things don't look nearly so forbidding.
I agree with much of what has been said here. Fear comes in many different shades from nervousness to terror to phobia. People don't get over their phobias by just facing up to them as the recipient of the puke so graphically showed. But I think courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face the fear and deal with it. I have sailed many miles offshore, but most of them were not alone. Now that I am the captain and alone, and on the Intracoastal where there are so many things to run into, I'm very nervous. This is all new to me. I'm trying to face up to it, but there are some days when I would love to just be tied to a dock with an electric heater (and no fears of distant banjo music) instead of anchored out in a lone salt marsh with 5-6 foot tides and morning frost on the deck.

This morning though, watching those salmon-colored clouds, I cannot help but feel that there is no place else I would rather be. I might still have that nervousness in my gut, but a. I don't feel so alone and b. the waterway stretches out in front of me and who knows what I'll see around the next bend.
LOL.... I remember my 1st time on the ICW... my Cherubini 37 had been launched by SailCraft into Whiticker Creek and I'd taken her round to Orientals town dock to finish off provisioning before setting off for Beaufort and the Atlantic...
I was incredibly unsure of my ability to find my way down with the unaccustomed nav markings and tales of grounding and wrecks that litter the area.. all the boatyard sages shaking heads and tales of disaster...
I chatted about my nerves with a couple on a boat that tied up later that evening and they said they were headed to Moorehead and would happily 'Show me the way...'
Next morning we started our motors and cast off... they reversed out and swung to face the Pamlico Sound... I gunned the engine... nothing... looked over the side...
Yup.. definitly in gear... looked at the dock... yes I had untied all the lines...
So I whacked on full throttle... no joy... seems the wind had gone W and dropped the water level and I was stuck hard in mud... they sailed on alone..
5 days later I floated free and made my way down.... alone.
When I got to Beaufort I laughed at myself...
it was not the ICW that had scared me... it was the lack of faith in my own abilities...
The funny thing is... a solo Trans-Atlantic thrills me...
but a run from the UK to Spain makes me edgy as hell...
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:10   #19
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

What you are talking about is not fear!

It is apprehension of the unknown or paranoia!

Invariably with a bit of common sense situations are delt with calmly and with out fear at the time,so why worry in advance!

Fear is when you know you are really ****ed,and there is F all you can do about it!
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:18   #20
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Great post, and remarkable video. I think we all feel that way from time to time...and that's good.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:43   #21
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Welcome christinekling, wonderful writing and insights. For me leaving the dock gives me the most peace, I tighten up when I have to come to port, admittedly I work out some dangerous ports. All the tension flows out of me when the engine shuts down and the sails take over. As far as fear goes, I have surrendered to the fact we are all one day going to die so there is little to fear, that doesn't mean be stupid with your life. There are things you can change and things you can't. Change the things you can if you want to, accept the things that you can't change. The trick is knowing which is which.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:25   #22
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This thread definately resonates. As a young man crewing an skippering boats in all conditions i never felt fear.

Possibly too young, dumb and full of .... to know any better. Now that i am sailing with my wife and two girls, ages 4 and 18 months, i find myself afraid.

Our last long passage from cape town to rio was long and difficult with the last three weeks at force 8 to strong force 9 non stop.

I have been in these conditions many times before but with the family involved i felt a hightened state of fear. Still feel the heart beat faster even just writting about it.

Amazing how our reckless youth where we have nothing to lose can change.

It is all just our own perception of reality
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:35   #23
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

What Boatman said.

I would say that the almost stereotypical term "seamanlike prudence" is fear mitigated by experience and learned caution. Fear, properly leashed to avoid panic, which is the triumph of unreason, is a great spur to taking measures to preserve your life and your boat. If I don't go out, it's not because I fear the storm, but because that I've judged that the storm is more likely to hinder than to aid my goal, and that the balance is not in favour of avoiding damage or injury. If I didn't know these things out of ignorance or inexperience, I would indeed be fearful. In my case, knowledge and experience, sometimes gained at personal cost in terms of injury or "cripes, I wish I'd known that before I did this foolish thing...", has put fear where it belongs, in the back seat of my skippering.

The works of humans can exhibit malevolence via carelessness. An example would be unreported containers off a ship capable of sinking you, or a failure to keep watch (same result), or foreseeable calamity. The works of nature, on the other hand, are rather impersonal. If the sea kills you, it's not because it had a motive or a personality any more than did the charted reef that tears out the bottoms of boats when you don't mark your position properly.

I can't fear natural forces. I can only judge whether they represent enough of a danger to heave to, or to stay in the anchorage or tied to the dock. As I gain experience, what natural forces I am capable of tolerating tends to increase, although I may not like it and I may get injured or sustain damage.

So: Going to sea, it's "nothing personal" and nothing to fear except your own reactions to a fairly impersonal experience. I find myself that the indifference of nature to man's endeavours...like going to sea in little boats...is actually calming. Far more of the outcome depends on my actions and reactions than that of the so-called "angry sea". It may seem otherwise, but generally, it's the skipper's attitude and preparedness that determines the outcome. That said, there are boats hit by rogue waves, or hatches that fail or masts that punch holes in hulls...but that stuff is actually pretty rare, and statistically, there is nothing more dangerous in modern life than going for a short drive on a local highway. I don't think boating's even in the top 10.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:38   #24
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

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This morning though, watching those salmon-colored clouds, I cannot help but feel that there is no place else I would rather be. I might still have that nervousness in my gut, but a. I don't feel so alone and b. the waterway stretches out in front of me and who knows what I'll see around the next bend.
The "payoff" is well worth the effort, I feel, and I'm not alone. If it's any comfort, I still get a dry mouth and a bit of sweat getting on and off the dock, even in easy situations. Sails raised and pulling, I am much more comfortable than when surrouded by other peoples' boats and (sometimes) their unpredictable choices. This sort of "departure anxiety" is, I understand, quite common and fits in with the perception that it's land (and docks and moorings and anchorages) that is the enemy of sailors, not the sea itself.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:42   #25
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

There are a few other threads on this forum that address this problem of fear. Remember Fearfulgurl ( I think that was her handle). Funny that women seem more willing to talk about it then men.....
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:42   #26
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LOL... with 20+ response's already I'd say there's a touch of 'feminine side' showing through here chaps...
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:53   #27
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Nothing wrong with the jitters before setting out. For me it seems to be mostly excitement, but feels like fear sometimes. If you are taking the ICW in a 33 footer... it's a piece of cake and you'll love it. I love watching the landscape pass by. Actually sailed quite a bit in Georgia too. Flat water, headsail only. fun!
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:56   #28
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

When dealing with any mighty force, a large amount of respect and reverence is due, anything else is just foolish. No doubt, running the ICW makes for white knuckles and clenched jaws, usually due to the other folks there, closed in waterway require a great deal more vigilance.
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Old 09-01-2012, 15:48   #29
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Fear is an interesting thing.
I'm always fearful the first day out if I'm by myself.
I'm never fearful if I have company. I'm never fearful after the first day even if I'm by myself. Why? Damned if I know. One would think that by 67 years of age I would have figured this fear thing out.
Right now I'm near Beaufort, N.C. about to haul out my new (to me) trimaran because she's sprung a leak. Now the only thing I fear is the bill!
Keep sailing lady, you'll be fine.
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Old 09-01-2012, 19:29   #30
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Re: I'm not afraid to say I'm afraid

Always worth the more fearful moments eh?
Props for going solo. I have too much need for an audience!
Welcome and thanks for a nice entry.
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