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post #31 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Every season, I go through some fear of things breaking. When the first stiff wind lays your boat over, I don't know how you can help but wonder about all the forces involved.

I don't like the feeling. So I reef early, especially in the spring.

I watch the engine more closely in the spring until I'm confident things are the way they should be.

I look for slight changes, creeping around chain plates, sudden slack in the rigging.

I check the bilge more frequently in the spring.

Pretty soon decks are awash, the boat(thanks to a reef) feels good and solid, and I feel all the parts that hold a sailboat together in a stiff wind, are strong.

But a little fear is good. I wouldn't go anywhere with someone who didn't have it.

I'd sail with you.
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post #32 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Friends often asked if I got nervous flying the plane. My response is I get butterflies in my stomach each and every time and the moment I stop getting them I will stop flying. As has been stated here by most, a little nervousness heightens awareness. Planning and preparation help alleviate issues but there is nothing wrong with running a few "what if" scenarios through your head as situations change. Experience helps those exercises become second nature and one less thing to be nervous about. I think you're on the right track.

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post #33 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Originally Posted by Snorri View Post
It depends on how many people are there to see my mistakes
A long, long, long time ago I stopped caring what others thought about whatever I did on/with my boat. It was liberating!
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"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
ďBelieve me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.Ē ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #34 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
I didn't notice you were in Western Newfoundland. Big boy cruising grounds. It makes the comments about sailing a 53 foot boat in South Florida bit funny, at least to me. I spent about a month hiking at Grosse Morne a bunch of years back, it's a pretty unforgiving coast line. A bit like sailing on the moon compared to south Florida.
Well said Arcb. I was going to mention something like this as well. Newfoundland sailing is already, by default, pretty serious stuff. One note though, I think Conception Bay is on the east side of The Rock. Iím on the west, just south of Gros Morne. Thatís why Iíd love advice from YOU Trevor.

Excellent advice from almost everyone here. My view is that if you are asking the questions, then youíve already got a good handle on the issues. Sailing these waters should never be done lightly. Invest in your skills, and in the soundness of your vessel. Be aware of the weather and the boat situation. Watch and listen for changes. Donít blindly follow a plan or schedule if things change. And most importantly, move at your (and your wifeís) own pace.

Hope we can cross wakes sometime soonish.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #35 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

BS aside, I think that anyone who is a thinking sailor approaches going out sailing with at least a small amount of trepidation and a larger amount of caution. I have sailed for a very long time and owned my current boat for 16 years. Yet despite the confidence which comes from sailing a familiar boat in a familiar place, I am always aware that unexpected things can happen out there. As someone like you with structural engineering in my background, I cannot help but be aware of the high forces in a sail boat and cannot help but think about potential weak links in the system. But it is that awareness that hopefully prevents me from letting hubris set in, and which also hopefully prevents me from doing something that is stupid enough to damage the boat or get me killed.

This discussion about courage is a strange one. To me there is nothing courageous about being fearless. To me, that is a mental deficit. To me, real courage is having a well reasoned fear, and yet, putting that fear aside, and doing that thing that you fear most in a cautious and calculated way.

Oddly, for me, my moments of greatest fears are just before the crap hits the fan but I can see what is about to happen. During any really bad stuff, I am so focused on what is happening, there is no time for fear. Being able to articulate your fears as you have, can help clarify what you are feeling. This process of putting fears into words often allows you to break down your concerns into smaller parts, then think ahead and be able to take the kinds of step by step actions that minimize the risks.

You are doing the right things, treating the dangers of the sport with a proper respect, talking with people who have been through this before so that you can learn from their experiences, and going out there and continuing to learn and grow. As long as the fear does not prevent you from enjoying being out there, its all good.

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post #36 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Originally Posted by ianjoub View Post
...You, on the other hand, might want to go to Wal Mart and buy a pillow to chew on.
LOL. I have over the years observed a direct correlation between chest-beating, gay-baiting, REAL MANLINESS and often-secret pillow-chewing. There are, of course, counter-examples. Well, probably. I can't think of one.
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post #37 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Originally Posted by Snorri View Post
It depends on how many people are there to see my mistakes
Sometimes watching people dock or anchor or moor is highly entertaining. Sometimes you're the entertainment...

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post #38 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

I don't get nervous, but in the back of my mind... what would I do in the middle of the harbor if the engine crapped out and it was windy and only a few tens of boats to careen into. I have a remote cockpit switch for the windlass and it's shallow so I don't need a lot of scope and the holding is fine, Newport is another story however.

My concern is being in control of my boat... and keeping it away from other boats and hard things. Last season my steering decided not to work when I was about to approach the town dock for fuel or water.

I was under AP going down the channel and switched over to manual steering to come along side.... but turning the helm did nothing. YIKES. I had to think fast and dropped the RPM to idle and tried to re engage the AP... which is mechanically engaged to the rudder post with a teleflex cable that pulls a pin into an alignment slot. So if the AP was not disengaged in center helm I have to turn the helm while I pull the teleflex to engage it. I could not turn the rubber with the helm so I had "hunt" for the right spot with the course knob. The course was essentially down the middle to the narrow channel... so once the pin engaged I would be going past the dock...

And this is what happened. Now I had to turn the boat 180 and drive it over to my mooring 3/4 mile on the far side of the mooring field and pick up the mooring steering with the AP. I was lucky and got it on the second pass. That could have been a real disaster but it was nothing. I took the binnacle apart and had to re place / re install 4 bolts. Fixed. Dodged a few bullets there.

Lessons learned... check all major systems... engine... steering before going anywhere.
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Last edited by SanderO; 12-24-2017 at 09:51 AM.
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post #39 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

Trevor, it sounds like you are not a 'tool guy'. Like you were not raised around tools and machines and never got a feel-in-the-butt for when things were going to break, and when they'd be good enough. And not having that by-the-butt feel for things, you look at them rationally and that of course means you worry because you've got no basis to trust them.

The only way you can or will ever stop worrying most of the time, is by gaining experience and trust in the boat, in your skills, in whatever is involved. You can learn to trust your skills better and faster if you take some formal sailing lessons including some racing and some bareboat prep. Yes, it costs money. By the hour, it is cheaper than psychiatry though.

And then, I'd suggest getting out there on OPBs (Other Peoples' Boats) any way you can, and that includes offering to be rail meat on racing boats when you think you have no interest in racing. You get to see and learn what everyone and everything else is doing, and that's another great way to build confidence.

Every time I have stretched the boundaries of my comfort--usually unintended and without much choice--the result has been allowing me to be comfortable going forward because after the first time "Yeah, I've done this before".

And as has been said, we're all gonna die sometime. You try to learn the right way to do things, you try to avoid the really foolish things, and the odds are neither the boat nor the ocean will kill you right now.
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post #40 of 218 Old 12-22-2017
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Re: How nervous are you?

I've never been nervous about venturing out on a boat, or anything else for that matter. Maybe it's because I've been on boats since I was just 5 years old, and began running a boat by myself at age 12. Of course, many of my oldest friends will tell you with some degree of certainty that I'm a bit insane in some of the things I have done during my 77 years on planet Earth. I always figured a little insanity went a long way.

If you are a first time boater, a bit of apprehension is not unusual. And, it is a good thing, now that I think about it. You are responsible for the safety of yourself and others who are also enjoying the same waterway, or boat with you.

As for the boat being too big for a first time boater, NAH! My first sailboat, which I handled singlehanded, was a 27 Catalina with a hank on jib and tiller. It was a bit challenging at first, but in a few hours, I managed to figure out how to sail the damned thing without killing myself or wrecking the boat. Sailing ain't rocket science. It's just common sense, for the most part.

Enjoy that boat,

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