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Old 22-09-2011, 07:12   #31
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post

But seriously, I did find an aproach to sidestep fear that really worked.

I pretended I was an actor playing a role.
Somehow it removed the reality of the situation just enough to make it a bit of a game.
No matter what the circumstances, I visualised myself acting the part, not actually going through the experience.
It was like living in the 3rd person for the moment.
Most times the fear subsided enough to see me through.

Over time I think it became a subconscious habit because I haven't thought about in years.

Sounds dumb now but it worked for me.
Might help someone else with a bent personality too
I'm going to try this one. It sounds great, though when you're in that moment of fear, it's hard to remember to slip on your actor suit.
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Old 22-09-2011, 07:29   #32
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Found your blog FearfulGirl and I know I am going to enjoy reading it. I am not a great one to when it comes to the 'finish' either...I am a great starter though and have plenty of ambition with all the possibilities...sorry I know that is off topic but it grabbed my attention.

Ah, Fear and Sailing. First of all I will say I have only been out on the Pacific in a very small fishing boat and as the coast of Costa Rica diminished that morning as we headed out to where the big fish were in that inky, blue-black water I felt a lump in my throat. I had never felt so vulnerable on a piece of water in my life having grown up on Chesapeake bay and raced on big sailboats but that day...shivers up and down my spine. The Pacific is a serious piece of water.

I had no fear on sailboats in my college years. Was out in significant winds, thunderstorms, etc...never scared...but there were 14 crew members and a skipper I trusted with my life. There were other racing boats everywhere, and well I just felt safe....

Fast forward to now and my Husband and I sail together and it feels much different...there are just two of us with multiple crew positions on the boat, we are on waters I have only sailed for a few years, and I am going out on the Ocean for the first time...and I am no longer 20 but 41 and no have developed preoccupations with the 'what ifs' like 'what if that big rig above my head splinters into a couple pieces, and the shrouds wrap themselves around my neck and that is my final hurrah...it is not lost on me that 'Shroud' can also refer to the cloth they wrap dead bodies in...sorry, sick humor...

Anyway, you see where I am going with this...

Then I hear stories of a woman that owned a cruising boat, cruised with her family extensively, and at 80+ years old was sitting in her sun room in Maryland during hurricane Irene, when a tree hit the chimney of her house which then collapsed through the roof and fell on her killing her...yet, another lesson for me that you just never know, and the last thing you think is going to get you is most likely will. I will always keep Anne in my thoughts when I am fighting fear out there.

Thank you for admitting you feel fear. I think a lot of time those who have adventurous Spirits, like us, are unwilling to admit they have fear and do-it-anyway, and I think we all miss out on a very valuable conversation. I will anxiously await your blog entry or writing on this!
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Old 22-09-2011, 07:32   #33
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

p.s. I am sorry I kind of dodged your original inquiry but this question is still kicking around in my brain too and I have not come up yet with good coping mechanisms. I can tell you that during a time when we were in heavy seas coming out of a challenging channel I went down below to find standing water increasing quickly in the bow of the boat down below. I got extremely calm, went up and informed my husband and other crew member...and it was easily remedied by tightening the transducer that had been checked that morning before we left.

I was very happy with my response because it was a very uncomfortable situation before I knew the reason why it was happening.

I think for me one coping mechanism is going to be having drills aboard once we are actively living aboard.
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Old 22-09-2011, 08:12   #34
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

i use to climb big mountains, been to 18k and done rainer, taught high rock rescue as a volunteer and i am afraid of heights - that is until i attach myself then no issue - i can for example go to the top of a tall bldg and look out the window - but attached to a rope i can climb up or down - no issue
gave up climbing as got to long in the tooth for it

now sailing - at night we have a rule - if you are on deck you will be in a harness and attached - the only real time fear may enter the issue is when it it stormy and i am way to busy to fear enter the pic - the mind is working on over time taking in all the sensory data and thinking thru if all is ok or not -
probably does not make sense but

just my thoughts
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Old 22-09-2011, 08:16   #35
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Makes sense to me chuckr - when I can keep my mind busy, the present circumstances require my complete attention the fear melts away because I have no resources for it...Thanks for that reminder ;0)
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Old 22-09-2011, 09:26   #36
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

One more thing came to mind.

We got caught in a storm off the coast of Delaware/Jersey. Our first (and only thus far) storm.

We did everything that had to do with safety, but the gut wrenching fear was not going away.

I put Nana Mouskouri's CD in and played Ave Maria at the highest volume setting. I closed my eyes and I steered in the storm by feeling the way the boat's floor pushed into the soles of my feet. My fear lifted on the wings of the song.

Listen to it and you will understand.

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Old 22-09-2011, 10:12   #37
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Nice song...albeit a bit somber....I'm thinking a little more on the lines of
Queen - 'We Are The Champions' - YouTube

Not my favorite version...but you get the picture!
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Old 22-09-2011, 10:31   #38
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Fear, worry and overcoming fear are at the heart of our sport.

Going out to sea in a small boat is an inherently dangerous activity, because the sea and the weather are so unpredictable, and because there are so many things which can go wrong with the boat and her systems. Good sailors are always worrying: What if this? What if that? And doing their very best to keep all of the risks under control.

Any sailor, other than a hopelessly reckless one, never really relaxes on the boat. At sea you're constantly managing risks, and at anchor you're constantly worried about dragging. Even in a safe port, you're busy fixing things, obtaining parts, planning the next leg.

Many of these things have zero tolerance -- like pilotage in a rocky, tidal area. Did you read the buoys right? Do you leave that one to port, or to starboard? You can't afford to make a mistake, so you check and check and recheck and recheck. If you end up on the wrong side of the buoy on a falling tide, the result can be losing your boat or even your life. So 90% sure isn't good enough, and you struggle and worry and struggle to get that up to something approaching 100%.

And when you get it right and all the systems work and you make it safely into the next port and tie up without banging into anything -- there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment which is one of the main joys of our sport. You've done something which is basically frightening, you managed all of the risks, and you safely and successfully accomplished your mission. Without fear, it would be a very dull sport indeed.
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Old 22-09-2011, 10:51   #39
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Fear, worry and overcoming fear are at the heart of our sport.

Going out to sea in a small boat is an inherently dangerous activity, because the sea and the weather are so unpredictable, and because there are so many things which can go wrong with the boat and her systems. Good sailors are always worrying: What if this? What if that? And doing their very best to keep all of the risks under control.

Any sailor, other than a hopelessly reckless one, never really relaxes on the boat. At sea you're constantly managing risks, and at anchor you're constantly worried about dragging. Even in a safe port, you're busy fixing things, obtaining parts, planning the next leg.

Many of these things have zero tolerance -- like pilotage in a rocky, tidal area. Did you read the buoys right? Do you leave that one to port, or to starboard? You can't afford to make a mistake, so you check and check and recheck and recheck. If you end up on the wrong side of the buoy on a falling tide, the result can be losing your boat or even your life. So 90% sure isn't good enough, and you struggle and worry and struggle to get that up to something approaching 100%.

And when you get it right and all the systems work and you make it safely into the next port and tie up without banging into anything -- there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment which is one of the main joys of our sport. You've done something which is basically frightening, you managed all of the risks, and you safely and successfully accomplished your mission. Without fear, it would be a very dull sport indeed.
We always thought we are the only ones that felt this way. You cannot imagine how grateful we are for your post because now we know these are normal feelings and that we are not alone. I will print your post, laminate it and it will grace the inside of our boat's pilothouse for years to come. Thank you!
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:45   #40
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

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Originally Posted by High Heels View Post
Found your blog FearfulGirl and I know I am going to enjoy reading it. I am not a great one to when it comes to the 'finish' either...I am a great starter though and have plenty of ambition with all the possibilities...sorry I know that is off topic but it grabbed my attention.

Ah, Fear and Sailing. First of all I will say I have only been out on the Pacific in a very small fishing boat and as the coast of Costa Rica diminished that morning as we headed out to where the big fish were in that inky, blue-black water I felt a lump in my throat. I had never felt so vulnerable on a piece of water in my life having grown up on Chesapeake bay and raced on big sailboats but that day...shivers up and down my spine. The Pacific is a serious piece of water.

I had no fear on sailboats in my college years. Was out in significant winds, thunderstorms, etc...never scared...but there were 14 crew members and a skipper I trusted with my life. There were other racing boats everywhere, and well I just felt safe....

Fast forward to now and my Husband and I sail together and it feels much different...there are just two of us with multiple crew positions on the boat, we are on waters I have only sailed for a few years, and I am going out on the Ocean for the first time...and I am no longer 20 but 41 and no have developed preoccupations with the 'what ifs' like 'what if that big rig above my head splinters into a couple pieces, and the shrouds wrap themselves around my neck and that is my final hurrah...it is not lost on me that 'Shroud' can also refer to the cloth they wrap dead bodies in...sorry, sick humor...

Anyway, you see where I am going with this...

Then I hear stories of a woman that owned a cruising boat, cruised with her family extensively, and at 80+ years old was sitting in her sun room in Maryland during hurricane Irene, when a tree hit the chimney of her house which then collapsed through the roof and fell on her killing her...yet, another lesson for me that you just never know, and the last thing you think is going to get you is most likely will. I will always keep Anne in my thoughts when I am fighting fear out there.

Thank you for admitting you feel fear. I think a lot of time those who have adventurous Spirits, like us, are unwilling to admit they have fear and do-it-anyway, and I think we all miss out on a very valuable conversation. I will anxiously await your blog entry or writing on this!
While sailing, I met a woman who'd been a airline stewardess for most of her life. She ran fear management courses for people afraid of flying. She told me that the average age for someone to develop a phobia over flying was 26, because by that age you've witnessed a number of plane accidents on the news, etc. I guess it's the age in which you lose your ignorance!

Perhaps the same has happened for you? When you were young, you were carefree (and ignorant), but now that you're older and you understand dangers and the fragility of life, you've developed some fears that you didn't have before?
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:51   #41
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Dockhead hit the nail on the head I think. What we do is not exactly the safest thing in the wold but for me I trust my seamanship and mechanical abilities enough that I just don't worry. I am cautious but I don't worry. I do my maintenance by myself on the boat. It's just like my truck and farm tractor and the AC in my house. NOBODY touches any of it but me! That way noone to blame but me when stuff goes wrong. Thankfully it never has but if it does then I will probably know how to fix it or stick a plug in it till we get somewhere dry.
I guess that is my only suggestion. Know your boat like the back of your hand and be prepared for anything. Do drills, for flooding, fire whatever so you can find anything in the dark. On my very first cruise in the IO I was barely 17 and heard the words missiles inbound, general quarters, this is not a drill. After I messed my pants I ran to the nearest person and asked what I was supposed to do. I had been onboard for like 4 days and had absolutely no clue. After that day I always made sure that I would be the one people ran to. I never once got scared again. The missiles were shot down BTW.
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:57   #42
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

I find that fear and floating anxiety (pun intended) is often linked to fatigue. If you can control fatigue levels, then you are a long way towards controlling fear.
Regards,
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Old 22-09-2011, 17:00   #43
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

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Dockhead hit the nail on the head I think. What we do is not exactly the safest thing in the wold but for me I trust my seamanship and mechanical abilities enough that I just don't worry. I am cautious but I don't worry. I do my maintenance by myself on the boat. It's just like my truck and farm tractor and the AC in my house. NOBODY touches any of it but me! That way noone to blame but me when stuff goes wrong. Thankfully it never has but if it does then I will probably know how to fix it or stick a plug in it till we get somewhere dry.
I guess that is my only suggestion. Know your boat like the back of your hand and be prepared for anything. Do drills, for flooding, fire whatever so you can find anything in the dark. On my very first cruise in the IO I was barely 17 and heard the words missiles inbound, general quarters, this is not a drill. After I messed my pants I ran to the nearest person and asked what I was supposed to do. I had been onboard for like 4 days and had absolutely no clue. After that day I always made sure that I would be the one people ran to. I never once got scared again. The missiles were shot down BTW.
Yike! Missiles!

Smart advice. I could really benefit from knowing mechanics, fiberglass repair, sail repair, rigging, etc, inside and out, but I have about 15 years of learning before I'll be at that stage! One thing that ALWAYS freaked me out was the thought of something going wrong on the outside of the boat while on a long passage, and one of us having to swim under the hull mid-ocean and fix it. *Shiver*
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Old 22-09-2011, 17:08   #44
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Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

That isn't fun. I had to cut a huge fishing net loose on the frigate I was on once. Free diving. NOT fun. I don't think I could hold my breath like that these days but I could manage it on our boat. Take diving lessons somewhere and you will get over it. It's a lot of fun. I don't know much about fiberglass but I am learning now. Lots to learn on that subject.

With those missiles. The Iranians were having a bad day I guess. It's not wise to screw with mother nature and a united states air craft carrier!
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Old 22-09-2011, 18:46   #45
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Talking Re: How Do You Manage Fear ?

Torre, I was always ready to go sailing on a new adventure until in 2004 I went on a delivery from Melbourne, FL to Lancaster, VA. on a Tayana 42. We ended up sailing through the eye of Hurricane Alex in the Gulf Stream. After surviving this trip I could not go sailing offshore until a friend asked me to help deliver his new boat from Puetro Rico to VA. I knew that if I was ever going to take my boat offshore I would have to do this trip. Was I scared, HELL YES, but sometimes you have to put yourself at risk to make your life better. I was glad I made both of these trips for different reasons, but I will be leaving VA for the Bahamas on my boat in three weeks. Ron
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