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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Open Water anxiety
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-09-2011 12:47 PM
svHyLyte
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewportNewbie View Post
THANKS guys! I have actually been out of the harbor to the first buoy, maybe 1/4 mile or so from the harbor entrance...well because of the heavy motorboat traffic and the way the harbor is shaped, the entrance/exit is always pretty choppy. I was with the wife the other day and she was all for heading out...I think she just says that so I don't feel apprehensive, but we were headed out and I LOOKED at some sailboats coming in and was watching their bows dive under the waves in the chop...and I turned around....I enjoy the harbor sails, and I do that singlehanded most days, I just want to get out of the harbor and sail comfortably up and down the coast...also to Catalina if I can before the Santa Ana winds hit....
Unfortunately, Newport Harbor Entrance, like the entrance to Alamitos Bay in Long Beach and the San Diego Harbor Entrance are always a bit rough. The entrances in Newport an Alamitos are narrow (relatively speaking), the stone jetties reflect waves back into the channel and on weekends particularly there's lots of traffic which makes it very difficult to turn around once one is south of China Beach. On the other hand, your boat is well suited to the conditions and can handle them easily--more easily than you can at the moment. Once you have cleared the jetties, you will find the sea wonderfully calm and uncrowded in comparison with the channel. (Frankly, I don't know how you can sail in Newport Harbor which, on most weekends, would be akin to roller-skating on the 405.)

Having apprehension is quite normal when confronting an unknown and particularly one that can be perceived as dangerous (even though, in this case, it is far less so than not). For the sake of the exercise, you might find having an experienced hand along for your first explorations very helpful to your confidence building and there are many good sailors in Newport. You can also make connections through the OCC Sailing Program--even if you had to pay an instructor for an afternoon.

I once had the experience of having a young man approach me at our--then--slip in Long Beach and ask what I would charge him for a few hours of "help" sailing his boat. "Oh, $10 bucks an hour or so". With that we repaired to his yacht, one very similar to yours, a few gang-ways over, and I took a seat on his stern pulpit while he backed out and motored into the channel. We turned into the bay near Alamitos Yacht Club and swung into the wind and I rested my foot on his tiller head while his wife steered and he hoisted the main. With that we gybed around and headed out Alamitos Channel "Just stay to the right of the center-line and, if necessary, slow a little to let faster boats pass but keep a steady course". With that we made it into Long Beach harbor, unfurled the jib and headed up toward Chaffee Island, circled that and headed back. We made 3 runs up and down Alamitos Channel with me all the while simply sitting on the stern pulpit, neither steering nor handling sheets or halyards before we went back to his slip which he and his lovely wife entered without incident. I stepped off the boat, looked at my watch, and said "that'll be $50 bucks" (cheap considering my billing rate at the time was over $200/hr). "But you didn't do anything!" he replied. "No, I didn't. But then, I really didn't need to, did I. I might as well not have been along at all, eh?." He paused, then smiled, reached for his wallet, and said "No, I guess not." "Good. In that case keep your money but buy me a beer"--and so he did.

I suspect you will discover the same as that young man--who we later variously encountered in Catalina, San Diego and Ensenada. And. You will discover how wonderfully easier sailing at sea is than within the confines of a crowded bay.

FWIW...
10-09-2011 11:45 AM
RobGallagher Sailing close to shore, in sounds, bays, etc., brings up challenges that you may not be considering because that's the only place you have sailed.

I find sailing on the open ocean more peaceful, relaxing and, at times, boring.

There are no rocks, sand bars, and few buoys to crash into. The wind is tricky coming onto or of of land and often gustier.

Six foot seas in open water on a moderate day are just rollers. A three foot chop in shallow water can be a wet pounding ride.

It is easy to simply alter course a bit in open water to ease heeling or get control. In closed waters this is often not the case, you either make the mark or you tack/jibe-NOW.

Their are other challenges to open water that others have mentioned. I just wanted to bring up some of the ways it can seem easier.

Getting into/out of the harbor, depending on your location can also bring up it's own set of issues, but that depends on local conditions, tides, currents, etc. It it's just uncomfortable and not unsafe then it's simply a matter of preparing for the few minutes of crazy stuff that may ensue.
10-09-2011 10:58 AM
speedbug78 Went down and walked the docks in Newport yesterday, it was beautiful out. Half dozen or so sailboats chasing each-other in the harbor, spinnakers flying on the down-wind leg. On a subsequent trip across the bridge I noticed another boat turning at the harbor exit, and thought of this post. There was good sized pod of whales that looked like they were feeding between the jetty and Yaquina head lighthouse. Must have been 10 or more there by the number of spouts, often three at a time. My wife saw 4 flukes in the 10 mins or so we watched them, she was happy. Anyway, I've gotta say I'm a tad envious as I've been boat-less for a while now.

Man.. Just realized you are in Newport bay down south, anyway it was a beautiful day up here, and wanted to share, best of luck to you
10-08-2011 10:40 PM
MikeinLA Like everyone says, just go a bit further each time. After all, like Captain Ron said, "If anything's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there". Ooops.....nevermind.

Mike
10-07-2011 07:21 PM
Faster
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
..... As least there's no next door neighbor starting a kitchen fire, overrunning their bathtub, or playing Black Sabbath at 2AM.
... hmm.. sounds like a few stories there, HS!
10-07-2011 05:42 PM
norsearayder i had a case of the horrers about 80 miles offshore doing the midnight to 6 watch on a tuna boat,dark as, sin deep in thought the wheelhouse was powered down ,just a few glows from instraments when all of a sudden deafinning roar overhead and the boat and surrounding 100 yards was lit up brighter than day..i went out onto the stern after a few seconds of shock and disbelif...it was a large cg helocopter looking for a mayday boat.i gave a huge wave and they roared off doing 20 mile square grids.i watched the lights for a long time..it made me feel good...my epirb by my side...someone will come to help you when you need help......on another story that i wont get into here as of 1967 there was still at least one genuine sea monster patroling the waters of the northeast[i have the pictures on my boat so if you see MAGIC out there swing by for a drink and no i wont loan out the pics thats all there is left because the smithsonian wouldnt pony up any money
10-07-2011 05:37 PM
SailBerkeley Newportnewbie, The best way to reduce that anxiety of the Open Water is to creep out slightly farther with each sail. Over time your mind will build confidence and you'll feel more relaxed heading out into the open water.
10-07-2011 03:26 PM
hellosailor This is why kids need to be taught science, even quantun science, when they are young.

Your feet are composed of mainly empty space between the atoms. The floor is composed similarly of mainly empty space between the atoms. Yet somehow, when you get out of bed in the morning and put your feet on the floor, you usually stand up on the floor, and very rarely sink into those empty spaces and ozze down into the floor.

The atttractions, the repulses, the forces, all count for more than the illusion of a solid floor and solid feet. You've got a solid boat, bouyancy, lots of water....shouldn't be an issue.

When I started sailing my mother asked me how could I go to sleep in such a little boat in the middle of the ocean. I said it is easier than sleeping at home.

At home, there are garbage trucks, aircraft overhead, car horns, noisy neighbors, kitchen fires, the rare shooting, and I've got to ignore all that as well as wrong numbers on the phone and doorbell and doors slamming down the hall.

On the boat? If it is floating, no probelm. If it is leaking, simple choice of can I stop the leak of can't I? If I can stop the leak, I go back to sleep. If I can't stop the leak, simple choice again, do I abandon ship or not?

Everything is so much simpler on a boat. So much LESS to worry about.

Sure, I might drown. As least there's no next door neighbor starting a kitchen fire, overruning their bathtub, or playing Black Sabbath at 2AM.
10-07-2011 02:41 PM
NewportNewbie THANKS guys! I have actually been out of the harbor to the first buoy, maybe 1/4 mile or so from the harbor entrance...well because of the heavy motorboat traffic and the way the harbor is shaped, the entrance/exit is always pretty choppy. I was with the wife the other day and she was all for heading out...I think she just says that so I don't feel apprehensive, but we were headed out and I LOOKED at some sailboats coming in and was watching their bows dive under the waves in the chop...and I turned around....I enjoy the harbor sails, and I do that singlehanded most days, I just want to get out of the harbor and sail comfortably up and down the coast...also to Catalina if I can before the Santa Ana winds hit....
10-07-2011 02:13 PM
AdamLein
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcherBowman View Post
he couldn't stop thinking about how six inches of hull was all that separated him from fathoms of ocean.
He would have thanked his lucky stars if he only knew how thin hulls would get
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