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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 10-04-2011
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Open Water anxiety

I am getting very comfortable sailing in the newport harbor under just about all conditions I have experienced so far. As I get to the end of the harbor just about to go to the pacific I usually flip around and start to head back. What can I do to get over the open water anxiety? I think going out with some experienced sailors would be the best but I don't know too many. Ideas?
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Old 10-04-2011
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Go a 100 yds further each time you go out soon you will be in Hawaii.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Good idea to crew for someone more experienced, otherwise just build your confidence until you are ready to push on beyond local waters.
Pick a good day and once out of your current comfort zone you will find the adventure of sailing some were different exhilarating.

Safe sailing
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Old 10-04-2011
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Test the edges of your personal limits to expand them, but don't ignore them. They will always be there to keep you safe, no matter how comfortable you become. Always have plan B..... Turn back, press on with easy tack to safe harbor, bail out to refuge, etc.

If no plan B, it isn't a good day to test them.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Quote:
Go a 100 yds further each time you go out soon you will be in Hawaii.
More accurately... Go 100 yards further next time, then double that distance each time, and soon you will be in Hawaii!

Seriously though, take an easy winds day, sail out into open water stay within eyesight of land, tack upwind when you do, so it is an easy broad reach back to safe harbor.

If I have heavier winds than I've hit before (like, I dunno, a Hurricane coming) or am trying new equipment, sail settings... I usually beat to windward FIRST, that way if something gives me grief I can have the "easier point of sail" on my way back (Mother nature doesn't always comply to my easier way) but I've found it works for me.
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Old 10-04-2011
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I sympathize with your apprehension NN; I'm just starting with saltwater and I worry about everything. I had my brother with me for my first trip, that helped a lot.

I think the advice you've heard here is good; a little further each time.

Maybe set a challenge for yourself, "I'm going to get past the No 5 bouy and then head back in."

Good Luck,

Ken
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Last edited by CarbonSink62; 10-04-2011 at 02:50 PM.
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Tell yourself, "man, these croweded, obstructed harbors are hazardous! I'm going out where I have some searoom, much safer out there".

Best part is, it's actually true.

First time, close reach out, look often astern so you'll remember what the harbor entrance looks like ;-) Then one tack, broad reach back in. Have your motor idling in neutral just before the entrance in case you need it on the way in.

You'll be fine.
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Go out at night, there is no anxiety if you can't see it.
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Old 10-04-2011
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It's a mental barrier that's meant to be broken. When leaving the mouth of my river, into the Chesapeake Bay, I'd get that apprehension. Then, once I'd "broken the plane" and out into the bay, I noticed that the boat didn't suddenly disinitgrate on me and I'd relax.
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Old 10-04-2011
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Around here people feel the same about their first 'strait crossing'... usually 20-30NM across. After 30 some years I can tell you we've motored across in calm way more often than we've 'white knucked' it in gale conditions.

Pick a decent weather day... the reduced traffic, gentle swell and freedom will soon win you over.
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