Wow, lot's of interesting anecdotes...
OK, as an experienced trainer/instructor/team leader for over 30 years, teaching hang gliding, sailing, power boating
, snow skiing and people with a disability; as well as personally having done or still doing activities like surfing, rock climbing, bungee jumping and sailing across oceans, I have a few observations:-
Most fear is based on a lack of understanding or knowledge, perhaps combined with inaccurate, misinformed comments from others or things seen on our sensation loving media.
There are many techniques to alleviate fear...
1. If you 'understand' how a plane or hang glider flys (aerodynamics), how it is constructed to withstand forces and loads many times above normal, and how pre flight procedures before every flight give you the confidence in your equipment
, then a large slice of the 'fear' of an aircraft falling out of the sky will be gone. Similarly with yachts. If you understand the designed strength in the hull
and rig, where loads & forces manifest and that if you let go of the helm
(or round up in a big gust) all that will happen is the boat will come up into the wind
and luff up, stop heeling and all forces are dissipated. If the boat is knocked down (or even rolled) it will right itself, etc, etc. So, knowledge and understanding is the 1st step. This of course, includes knowing how to use all of your safety equipment
2. Now you have some knowledge (and learning
should never stop
) you need to do the task, the skill and apply the knowledge. A great technique for someone who is scared in a heeling yacht in 20 knots of wind
is to put them on the helm
. Get them concentrating (less time to be scared) and feeling in control
, and demonstrate that if a gust overpowers the boat all that will happen is the boat will round up into the wind, level up and the wind force is dissipated. Get them to let go of the helm to demonstrate that nothing 'bad' will happen!
3. Confidence! So, combining Knowledge, Skills & Practice = Confidence. Confidence then replaces Fear.
In 30+ years of teaching, I have found that this works with most people. Of course, a little fear (I prefer to call it a healthy respect) is good.
So now apply this to crossing an Ocean - you understand your yacht, it's construction & strengths, you have maintained all the yachts systems and have back-up contingencies, you understand how to use all your safety equipment
, you have practised sailing in heavy weather
to understand your and the yachts limitations, you have procedures in place that you have practised, you understand the weather
patterns and navigation
, etc. All this gives you POWER over what may happen and power, confidence, control doesn't leave much room for Fear! Now that most of the fear is gone you can now absorb the Beauty - the beauty of a deep, endless blue ocean, the amazing stars at night, the sunrise over water, the sea life, the rhythm...
Finally, understanding that yes, there is a risk to crossing an Ocean but really, there is a risk in leaving your house every day to go to work - car crash, workplace accident
, getting robbed. Life is full of risk, we just get complacent with the day to day ones!
I choose Beauty over Fear... what is your choice?