Confronting Fear - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-10-2014
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Confronting Fear

I've been sailing/racing for 25 years in the SF bay and Delta. Feel I'm ready to do some coastal cruising. I've even done a couple of coastal races as foredeck crew: Spinnaker Cup, Lightship, Drakes Bay also the notorious South Tower Race 4 years in a row from the Stockton Sailing Club to South Tower of The Golden Gate Bridge ie Blackaller Bouy on a Ranger 22 . I highly recommend the South Tower Race as it is a true Iron Man race. Beating to weather in a narrow waterway for 72 miles then rounding the mark only to turn around and run back to Stockton. At a 144 miles it is the second longest inland race in North America. Although I have raced at night several times I still have apprehension/fear about sailing in the Ocean at night on my own boat.

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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

I enjoy sailing at night. Very much so with a moonless night as the stars are wonderful.

Its just the same as daytime sailing, in several ways easier... You can see ships and boats further off than in daytime, theres less coastal traffic, and few or non sunday drivers out there.

Its a magic time to sail. So i am sure you will enjoy it when you pivk some good weather to start.

I dont use a torch or deck lights at all. If i need to it will be for some specific detail. Its good to know where everything is by feel, and it will come to you. Just let it


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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

You'll. LOVE it once you've done it! Absouloutely my favorite time to sail is from 2400 through daylight its just you, the boat, the sea and the Lord above! Just don't use a flashlight or other lights if you can help it; you'll be surprised how well you can see in the dark if you protect your night vision!

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway"

-John Wayne-
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

I haven't sailed my boat at night although I look forward to it.
My plan for this summer is to do an overnight crossing of Georgian Bay (approx. 110 nM).
I have sailed from Bermuda to Nova Scotia which included a couple of nights. Unfortunately (or 'fortunately'; depending on your perspective) it was during last June's 'super moon' which practically obliterated the starlight.
I've been mid-Pacific on naval boats (blackouts). Being on the weather decks at night was incredible!
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

One should be apprehensive 1st time sailing in ocean at
night in own boat, but the experience will open up
whole new world not to mention will be great confidence
builder and give you a great sense of accomplishment and
achievement.
If you are single handed, stage all that might be needed
beforehand and have red light available if light is needed.
No peeing over the rail day or night as is hazardous to your health!
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

We would rather sail night than day. Only worry are the "booze cruisers" and very big boats. But they see you way before you see them, you hope. As a guy that got me into boating years ago stated"something mystical about the night on the water". We agree
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

Just to moderate the enthusiasm for night sailing (I too love sailing at night), it is much more scary sailing at night in a coastal environment than out at sea.

Whilst it is easy to see ships and other things lit, it's not so easy to see small islands, reefs etc. and proximity (distance off) is much harder to judge.

Also can probably also be accepted that fear has a very short lifespan - what is scary at first is commonplace tomorrow or even in a half an hour. Nobody stays scared for long unless of course the experience is not a good one in which case you ought to be scared.

My overriding rule - I never enter a strange or new harbor/inlet/anchorage at night - I stand off and do it when daybreak comes.
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

Fear can be good - it keeps you sharp. Just do not let it paralyze you.
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

On a night watch last July on my boat somewhere near Big Sur, humpbacks breached all around us. Couldn't see them because of the fog, but could hear them breathing and calling. Bioluminescence trails are also very cool. For this area of the Central CA coast, you might want to make sure you're at least 10 miles offshore and have a good radar. Mind the points, too...
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Confronting Fear

Rahnn, are you still planning on doing the Ha Ha this year? The Central California Coast can be real nasty and a "gut check" at times but the sailing gets a lot easier once you turn the corner at Conception. Off of Baja, the big thing is to play "dodge boats" with all the other Ha Ha'rs and commerical traffic. Fun fact: the shipping leaving Panama skirts Baja en-route to North America and Asia on the great circle route. The weather gets nicer day by day as you go south and it's a really nice breeze and not at all like the bitter cold/hurricane you sailed through further north. Our plan is to do the Ha Ha in '15 or 16. We'll be up in one of the bedrooms first week in August practicing "cruising".
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