This whole thread is why I keep coming back to Sailnet ...
I'm 63 ... much of my 'youth' engaged in adrenalin type activities ... mostly revolving around sportscars motorcycles and cessnas ... with little physical harm (17 stitches under my eye from college hockey and one medevac)
I married late in life (40) ... and while raising my daughter (mostly on my own for the last 10 years) ... slowed down (although I did have a slight fling with skydiving around 50) ... noticed even my driving habits became 'defensive' (not a bad thing at all ...) as my reflexes are not what they used to be ...
about 2 years ago ... decided it was now or never if I was ever going to satisfy my desire to learn to learn to sail ...
took the plunge and bought an old Cal 28 flushdeck (in retrospect probably not the best decision for learning to sail ... but has served me well ... spending alot of time on her) ... and acquired a Ranger 23 (much better suited for my experience level) ...
I've found my 'fear of heights' which has been a constant in my life ... extends to heavy heeling (might have been exasperated when I flipped a laser holding too long onto a sheet when tacking in a learn to sail class) ... although the more time I sail ... the more confident I feel (last Wednesday night beer can race ... we were heeling 22 degrees on a long beam reach ... and the feeling was one of near nirvana ...)
I've also found that 'fear' of being overwhelmed ... in a new environment on the water ... not sure of exactly what to do ... (although in reality never in a situation where there was real reason ... always with someone very experienced ... and never in any real danger ... just pushing the envelope abit more than I was ready for at the time)
Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald
Excellent thread! It's not often I read a long thread like this from start to finish - but it's probably because it's too cold here to do anything else and besides it's interesting.
One thing I did not see mentioned: Panic.
Many sailors can be frightened of a situation which seems overwhelming. But fear can be overcome. It's usually when a frightening situation occurs and the sailors - most likely the Captain - on the boat do not have the education and / or the experience to cope with it that panic steps in and takes over. When panic occurs, wrong decisions are made - or none at all, and the situation quickly deteriorates. This is often when injuries or deaths occur.
The more training and experience a boater has, the less likely he is going to panic. This is why I have always been an advocate of boater education - through whatever capable source is available: USCG Aux.; US Power Squadron; experienced and capable friends. This all helps.
And second - taking baby steps first. Challenge yourself - but a little at a time - until you are comfortable with that challenge. And then up the ante some. Buying your first boat and heading out on the ocean is nothing short of foolhardy. But people do it. Some survive, foolish but lucky. The rest receive their Darwin Award.
So emblazon a big sign somewhere on your boat - in large comfortable letters:
great commentary ... and one I take to heart ...
I sometimes wish that I had started this adventure 50 years ago ... but then ... I wouldn't have it all now here to enjoy as I do
perhaps I still have the time ... to challenge myself and learn sufficiently ... in order to cruise ... perhaps not ... but I do know that this is something that will keep me young ... and alive in so many ways ... for years to come