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  #1  
Old 07-06-2007
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Red face Sailing butterflies?

I've been on and around boats -- sail and power -- for nearly four decades now, and have been taking sailing certification lessons and crewing on larger boats (23-37') for the past five years. I've just bought my own boat -- a very nice 1975 Newport 28 in very good condition, with an A-4 engine also in very good shape -- and suddenly have been struck with the willies every time I take my family out.

Is this normal for first-time boat owners? I have all the required safety gear, am aware of the state of my sails and rigging, and am well-versed in the rules of the road. I don't feel this way when I sail with my peers, but when I'm with the family (who are non-sailors), the responsibility just seems to weigh on me to the point that I have a hard time enjoying my time on the water and instead am constantly looking out for trouble.

I do sail on the Chesapeake Bay out of Baltimore, so there is lots of traffic, commercial and pleasure, to take into account. I'm just wondering if this is a morbid fear or normal concern that I'll get over as I learn my boat better.

How have some of you sailors in other waters fared with these concerns?

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2007
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I think it will get better over time for you jas. It is perfectly normal to be concerned especially when you are new at something and your family's lives are in your hands. On the other hand...you probably risk their lives more on the drive to Baltimore. So...it is more a matter of perspective.
I used to get really nervous when taking out some of our earlier boats since our entire savings were wrapped up in the boat and we had loans...I worried about putting her on the bottom and what would become of us! (G)
So...it's normal...if it doesn't stop or get better over time...you might try a hypnotist to let you relax a bit about it.
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Old 07-06-2007
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The jitters are not a bad thing. When your confidence level builds the jitters will subside, but if they go away completely, then I'd really start to worry.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Are you kidding!!!!! I turn into my Dad when I sail with just my family. Completely stressed out, prone to yell, man what a nightmare! Well, I don't actually yell like my Dad did, but I feel like screaming sometimes. So, Yeah, I think its normal, especially if they don't know how to sail. The time when you want beer the most is the time when you can't have one the most. If your buddy falls overboard, you can toast him and say that he lived a good life, but he was a moron on the boat. You can't do that with your family.
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Last edited by bestfriend; 07-06-2007 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bestfriend
If your buddy falls overboard, you can toast him and say that he lived a good life, but he was a moron on the boat. You can't do that with your family.
I think this sums up my feelings about as well as they can be.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Hello,

Nice boat! I sold my 86 Newport 28 back in May. I really loved that boat, but I wanted something bigger.

Anyway, when I first started sailing the Newport I was nervous for half the season. It was my first 'big' boat and I was worried that the steering would fail (wheel instead of tiller) or the engine would not work (inboard instead of outboar), or a through hull would fail and flood the boat, etc.

After a dozen trips or so I relaxed. It also helped a great deal when I got
my wife more involved and she could steer, operate the engine, trim sails,
that sort of stuff.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 07-06-2007
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Wow... remind me not to go sailing with you two!

I have had my boat out about a dozen times now (on a small lake) and my confidence is getting pretty strong; however, I still get nervous when people are on the boat. My mistakes should only cost me - and this thought makes me very careful.
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Old 07-06-2007
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You aren't suffering from anything that time on the water won't cure. While it's good to think about the bad things that can happen, chances are they won't. And even if they do, there's always TowBoat/US.

I sail out of Rock Creek on the Patapsco so I am very familiar with the commercial traffic on the river. Just hurry up when you are crossing the shipping channel, and remember that the container ship headed up the channel is moving a lot faster than you think. Time one sometime from when you first see it until it is abreast of you and you'll be surprised. Other than that, have fun.

Personally, I singlehand almost exclusively. If anything goes wrong, I always yell at the crew. Makes me feel better -- sort of.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Going through the same

thing. I consider myself to be rather experienced. Never had a problem taking other peoples boats out. Done some solo sailing on others boats, but now that I have my own boat, I am a total spazz. Not only am I a ball of stress, but my wife says I am a total Bligh. I hope it gets better. I think I need to go out with a friend or two for a few weeks and get used to the boat.

Now if only I could convince my boss......
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Old 07-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf
I've been on and around boats -- sail and power -- for nearly four decades now, and have been taking sailing certification lessons and crewing on larger boats (23-37') for the past five years. I've just bought my own boat -- a very nice 1975 Newport 28 in very good condition, with an A-4 engine also in very good shape -- and suddenly have been struck with the willies every time I take my family out.

Is this normal for first-time boat owners?
Yes, and it's a good thing, if an uncomfortable thing. You already know well what can happen on a boat, but the new element is command: you are morally, legally and physically responsible for the boat and your passengers in one of the trickier patches of water in terms of navigation, weather and traffic.

This will change as you become more familiar with the boat (it's a nice boat for your area) and when you train, as I hope you will, family members to take some responsibility so you aren't exclusively the "go-to" guy in the sort of minor crises that can pop up now and then.

Good luck. I would far prefer to have you cross my bow than some of the frequently pissed and clueless weekend warriors I see around here.
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