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Old 11-03-2019, 13:22   #1
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Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

I have to explain... I am in the market for a 38 sailboat for wife and I. I let a good friend know about our search. He, being a current owner of a large motor yacht and former sailboat person, has kept huge inventories of sailing magazines since the early 1990s. I am talking, hundreds of issues. So, last weekend he (actually his wife) proceeded to gift to me canvas sail bags full of old issues of Cruising World, Lattitudes & Attitudes, Ocean Navigator, Living Aboard, 38 Degrees North, 48 Degrees North, Practical Sailor Boat Buying, and other publications. I live in Idaho in the mountains, it is way way below freezing, and snow is so deep that the Jeep was buried until a week ago. I started the fireplace, and sat nearby, and proceeded to dive into all these issues, not in any particular order or date.
Late evening after the second day and perhaps 50 - 70 issues of the above, I noticed I was kind of trembling, and also questioning our longtime decision to 'get a nice boat on the ocean' and explore. I being influenced by all the articles and all the issues.
The magazines could be categorized as either sales brochures for boats I would never be able to own, with idealistic scenes with the girl on the bow and white sandy beach, or the nitty gritty, types with tales of cheating death and pirate attacks. Over the years of issues and types of magazines, I found that almost always they explained in great detail;

de-masting
sinking
collisions ( rocks, docks, other boats)
navigation system failures
horrid weather and narrow escapes
broken pumps, alternators
burned wiring
pirates and corruption of officials
man overboard and deaths
torn sails
dinghy theft
running out of provisions and water
horrible boat survey results
refrigeration failures
poor weather forecasting
poor anchors dragging
poor dirty facilities and marinas

and one story in Cruising World in the July issue 2010 page 34 sent me over the edge that I just refused to read anymore. The article was called 'Jonah on Board'.
The story was about a couple while sailing south on the Sargasso Sea towards Caribbean destination, was befriended by a small bird seeking refuge. Cool, story with a great pic. The bird stayed for days, while accepting water, bread crumbs and other tid bits, and often roosted below in the cabin. Then one day, Jonah took flight off the sailboat skimming across the water for a few hundred yards and then a gigantic fish jumped up out of the ocean and swallowed Jonah. Another tragic story. I've had it. No more magazines. No more stories of overcoming adversity for me.
Thousands of people own sailboats and apparently survive and actually enjoy the time, experience and the people. I am never going to read such stories again, but I may thumb thru looking at pictures and equipment ads.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-03-2019, 13:36   #2
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

I think the same thing could have happened to you by reading 70 back issues of Time Magazine or Cosmopolitan.

RIP Jonah.
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Old 11-03-2019, 13:42   #3
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

All those horror stories eventually actually end happening to you once you get out there. Not so much when in front of a nice roaring fire on a snowy day!
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Old 11-03-2019, 13:54   #4
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Poor Jonah.

Funny post, and I agree. I can be happy as a clam and then read an article about some overlooked maintenance item that caused a catastrophe at sea for someone, and 5 minutes later I am realizing I have to spend a bunch of time and money on the problem I hadn't thought about or didn't know I had. One thing about that is, your anxieties shift from real life issues to issues about how to make the boat work. It is a pleasant distraction, even in the difficult times.

You will never regret living the sailing lifestyle and probably none of the really bad things will happen to you. But, poor Jonah. Damn.
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Old 11-03-2019, 14:06   #5
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Lovely post! I received the newest Yachting Monthly today and was thinking similar thoughts.

Thereís much bright and beautiful about it all, waiting to be written.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:09   #6
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Fish have to eat too.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:17   #7
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Stories that make it to print, and increasingly to youtube, are either unusual, exaggerations, or outright fantasies. The vast majority of life on a boat isnít worth writing about because, well... itís just life.

That said, the articles that focus on the practical and mundane issues like fixing broken stuff, provisioning and basic planning are probably pretty real.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:24   #8
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Not too much demand for an article about an average fat guy and his spouse that is showing the effects of gravity sitting on the boat after an uneventful sail.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:33   #9
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

When we got our first keelboat my in laws gave the wife a book called "Cape Horn" "One Man's Dream, One Woman's Nightmare".
Cross country skiing while stopped for lunch my dog dug up a vole from under the snow. I took the vole away from him and set it free, a freakin' owl swooped out of nowhere at high noon. Stuff Happens, May all the Jonahs of the world Rest in Peace.
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Old 11-03-2019, 15:45   #10
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

I think the Times and Cosmopolitan magazine analogy is the best one. If you read too many of them you would end up a hermit living alone in a cave.
Think of all the adventures and near misses you have had living in the mountains in Idaho. Sailings the same but the magazines highlight what sells.
I just googled scary stuff in Idaho and you have rattle snakes and bears not to mention snow. Thats already starting to sound like a state I would avoid when I am next in the USA.......its all about perspective. Jeep buried in snow forget that.
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Old 11-03-2019, 18:40   #11
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

yep on some scary stuff here. wolves, bears, rattle snakes, mountain lions, eagles, deer, elk, MOOSE, got to laugh years ago drove to Yellowstone to see them, and they are all here in the yard, All of them in the yard sometimes more than one at a time. we have to look out the door before our little dog goes out. 7000ft elevation on the side of a mountain and did i say snow? this year, just so tired of the single digits and the snow. right this minute... 12 degrees as the sun goes down. but if you look out our front window you can see 1100 sq miles and a frozen lake, and the air is pure so is the spring fed water.
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Old 11-03-2019, 18:52   #12
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

Good skippering is about having your boat, crew, and systems set up to minimise the risks. When you read each horror story you can increase your stock of things to be prepared for. With a well-found boat and careful planning (plus good weather forecasts) you will be able to avoid 99% of the potential dangers in those articles.

When you’re at sea you want to be able to answer any “what would I do if x happened?” questions confidently.
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Old 11-03-2019, 22:00   #13
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

50$, do remember that if it appears i n a magazine it MUST be true... but is often watered down a bit to avoid frightening the customers of all the advertisers. So, when reading about storms, add 25-50% to wind speeds and wave heights. Water below decks? Actually deeper than described... it's hard to accurately estimate the depth when the boat is rolling, so most authors post conservatively. Equipment failure? Well, all that stuff is made by folks who advertise in mags, so the stories often fail to tell you just how quickly and decisively the stuff dies. How about pirates? You know that if you mention Somalian pirates in a negative way that the Somalian State Department will send agents to deal with the perpetrators of such calumny, and no writers want to worry about that, so the soft pedal is used. Similar bias is shown in all too many articles, for the mags are all trying to encourage folks to go sailing, aren't they?

Yes, the experienced yottie, when reading those magazine articles upgrades all that stuff to better represent the cruising world, and you should too! Don't settle for a mere anxiety event, have a total meltdown!

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Old 11-03-2019, 22:24   #14
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

all my anxiety events occur ashore.
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Old 11-03-2019, 22:35   #15
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Re: Anxiety Attack from Sailing Magazines

I did read a stack of magazines last Sunday, when the snow was knee-deep and I was tired of skiing the cow pasture.
What really set me into shock was that “Cruising World” is now referring to 35-foot yachts as “pocket cruisers.” I think I spat my tea half-way across the room.
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