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Discussion Starter #21
ianjoub, I honestly thought your first post was a joke. I didn't imagine someone in this community could be so crass. You've insulted people beyond reason and have shown your own insecurities portrayed by your incessant need to justify yourself. We're all just folk here, all equals. You're not doing your countrymen well by conforming to a stereotype.

In a way I appreciate your demeanour. We need people like you in this word to make the rest of us look better. So on behalf of everyone else, we appreciate your sacrifice.

Now, please stop cluttering up this thread which is important to me. I'm not going to bother justifying myself to you - I've already spent more thought on you than my time is worth.

As for the rest of us, let's just stop feeding this troll.


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Anyway, now that that's over with. Thanks for the replies everyone! I'm never single handling it - my wife is usually on the tiller and I'm on the lines. We're both sufficiently intuitive people and keep a weather eye on, er, the weather.

On one of our training sails on another boat we did run aground (neither of us were at the helm), so that's a cause of some fear, but as Arcb sated, I am indeed more worried about something breaking on the boat causing a cascading problem.

Most of the suggestions have a similar theme - as chef2sail said, Success breeds confidence. I've got all the safety equipment, life raft, and radios. I'll just keep on keepin' on. Glad to know I'm not alone in this thought.

Thanks all! I appreciate it!
 

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1968 Columbia 50
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Trevor,
If someone is not at least a little bit nervous about something happening, sometime, then I would say that they're overconfident. If you plan for something to go sideways, then you have a plan to follow. Sometimes things will just happen, usually they are minor and you're just left praying that nobody saw you.

For example: the first time I went out with a friend of mine, on his new to him boat in a new to us area. There was a very narrow, and poorly marked 20' wide dredged channel through some marsh(read cement block, w/ bleach bottle buoys), we ran aground doing 2 knots, about 30' from two guys who were eating sandwiches while fishing in the shallows. They just sat there, and watched. We got ourselves off before they finished their sandwiches, they never stopped chewing..all was fine, but egos were bruised. We shook it off and had a great sail, all was forgotten, except we learned which buoy, ahem, bottle, was a little off.
 

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bell ringer
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I get nervous about going into a new place lots of times. IT is normally a combination of the chart making it look hairy, ActiveCaptain warnings, or stuff about it in a guide book. So I spend the trip looking at it over and over and get all wond up. The thing is that once I get to the place it has always turned out to be a non event. But I don’t know if the reason is that it wasn’t a big deal or whether it was because I was really prepared mentally to deal with it.
 

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It sounds to me like the OP is more worried about the machine (the boat) than his ability. Is the boat fully found? This IMHO is a rational concern. Engine failure, rigging failure, etc. How do you get over it?

First prioritize. The only things that have to work are:

1. No leaks, the boat cannot sink.
2. Rudder, so you can go where you want to go.
3. Standing rigging so it doesn't fall on your head.
4. Running rigging and sails so you can make the wind move it.
5. Motor so you can get into tight slips with no or unfavorable winds and currents.

Everything else is comfort. A head can be a bucket, pressure water can be a bucket, you can eat cold food, refrigerate with ice, sing rather than listen to your entertainment system, etc.

So make sure 1-5 is sound. If you doubt your own ability to assess these systems, get someone to help you. Then beat the boat up. If you are comfortable in 15-20, go out in 20-30 and tie in a reef. Stress the thing to prove to yourself it ain't gonna break.

When a boat is new to me, we've owned 5 over too many years, I start out conservative. New or used. I've had all kinds of things break at bad times. We are conservative as all get out when it come to insuring the 5 items above are solid.

I think early on, with a new to you boat, and things are breaking at a high rate, it's hard to get confident in the machine. Don't feel bad....I think it's rational. Clean up the priority systems and keep pushing the envelope...your worries will fade away.
 

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Chastened
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As a submariner, I have been brainwashed into having a very critical attitude towards maintenance, inspections and monitoring.
I'm constantly checking rigging, lifelines, hull penetrations (shaft, seacocks, through-hulls). The slightest amount of water in the bilge makes me grind my teeth.
I watch my engine gauges like a hawk when motoring. I check the bilge regularly while cruising. I listen for any cycling of the bilge pump and the shower sump.

I'm nervous when I set out for the first sail of the season. I begin to relax after making rounds of the boat and finding everything working properly.
I'm nervous when darkness falls. I usually relax about 30 min. to an hour after full darkness when I realize that the keel isn't just going to fall off because the sun set.
I'm nervous for an hour or two when I cross the boundary into the Atlantic. I manage to relax once I convince myself that the mast could just as easily fall down while inside the Chesapeake.

Capecodda is right about prioritizing. I also have that mindset. I think I'll call it "Capecodda's hierarchy of needs." :)

Anyway, a total lack of fear keeps you ignorant to your environment and will lead to complacency and eventually, some sort of casualty.
Too much fear can be just as detrimental. It can force you to freeze during a critical moment or affect your judgement in other, negative ways, not to mention sucking the joy out of sailing.

The right amount of fear (or caution, if you prefer) keeps you aware of what's going on around you, causes you to be introspective and think about your actions and decisions but still allows you to function at a high level.
 

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The feeling of being nervous is an instinct created by evolution. In excess, it can be paralyzing, but a little will increase your adrenaline, which in turn increases alertness. It's driven by being prepared for something you can't anticipate.

So, if unclear anticipation is the problem, let's focus on risk management. First, it's well known that the boat is much more capable than it's crew. Abandon vessels are frequently found floating, long after the evacuation.

Good risk management requires you to identify the risks, then understand what you would do. You're not going to die, if you have proper RM plans. Period. So, what are the risks? Falling out of the boat?...... tether in, wear a PLB and/or VHF radio. Boat leaks?...... stock up on leak mitigation, plugs, stay afloat, soft plugs, even a pillow under your foot will slow about any leak enough for the bilge pump to keep up. How about an inability to maneuver, such as motor issues, broken rudder or rigging?...... get a $150/yr towboat insurance policy.

It's all about identifying the risks that are causing your anxiety and have a plan. Then go out and sail. You'll likely find this saying is very true........ worrying is just paying interest on a debt you don't owe.
 

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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.

In terms of docking, I think you've got yourself a pretty tough little boat there. Even if you totally lose control and smash into a piling or something, I wouldn't expect a lot of damage.

I've been trying to think what makes me the most nervous. I would say getting caught out in damaging weather and dismasting. Mostly if I start to get concerned I have three main tools in my tool box; reef often and reef early and seek shelter.

Like mentioned above, there are things worth worrying about on a boat that size: a big hole in the bottom from a keel or engine issue, fire, getting dashed on a rocky shore by waves and things that maybe aren't that big of a deal, like messing up a docking or the odd accidental gybe. I think after you make a few mistakes, you will have more confidence.
 

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Land lubber
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So wait, let me get this straight, IanJoub ("landlubber"?!?), whenever I get nervous taking my 38-foot boat solo on the Pacific, hundreds of miles offshore, I should grow a set, too? I guess this means that neutered males and females are the only ones who ever feel a bit twitchy at times? Call it what you will, but a little nervousness about any new activity or when in a new environment is just a healthy counterbalance to our (often inflated) egos and it certainly doesn't require growing some dangly appendage :kiss
I would ask "what are you nervous about"? If you can identify the issues and address them in your own mind, you should no longer be nervous. I would suggest that it is best to identify ones fears/concerns and address them before setting off. That is what manning up/ growing a pair is.
 

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ianjoub, I honestly thought your first post was a joke. I didn't imagine someone in this community could be so crass. You've insulted people beyond reason and have shown your own insecurities portrayed by your incessant need to justify yourself. We're all just folk here, all equals. You're not doing your countrymen well by conforming to a stereotype.

In a way I appreciate your demeanour. We need people like you in this word to make the rest of us look better. So on behalf of everyone else, we appreciate your sacrifice.

Now, please stop cluttering up this thread which is important to me. I'm not going to bother justifying myself to you - I've already spent more thought on you than my time is worth.

As for the rest of us, let's just stop feeding this troll.


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Anyway, now that that's over with. Thanks for the replies everyone! I'm never single handling it - my wife is usually on the tiller and I'm on the lines. We're both sufficiently intuitive people and keep a weather eye on, er, the weather.

On one of our training sails on another boat we did run aground (neither of us were at the helm), so that's a cause of some fear, but as Arcb sated, I am indeed more worried about something breaking on the boat causing a cascading problem.

Most of the suggestions have a similar theme - as chef2sail said, Success breeds confidence. I've got all the safety equipment, life raft, and radios. I'll just keep on keepin' on. Glad to know I'm not alone in this thought.

Thanks all! I appreciate it!
Good for you Trevor,

I think you have the right attitude. Lots of good advice from others here. Even the most seasoned sailors in here started out as newbies or inexperienced once.

Keep pushing your envelope. That will breed confidence. We all have had mishaps. Things break. It’s part of boat ownership. When you own a boat and put all the effort and time into fixing her up it sucks, but it happens.

Do what you feel is comfortable for you and your wife. You also want the experience to have fun . Only you know what those limits are.

I found that patience with myself and her were most important. After all this activity s shared and I bet you want this to continue.

Once in a while if you can go on another boat, or join in racing in your area, you’ll see how others handle every day sailing and also more challenging situations. That can be a great learning experience.

As far as the aberrant poster here, it takes all kinds to make a village. Never get in a pissing contest with a skunk.
 
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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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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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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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Old soul
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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. I’m on the west, just south of Gros Morne. That’s why I’d love advice from YOU Trevor.

Excellent advice from almost everyone here. My view is that if you are asking the questions, then you’ve 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. Don’t blindly follow a plan or schedule if things change. And most importantly, move at your (and your wife’s) own pace.

Hope we can cross wakes sometime soonish.
 

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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.

Jeff
 

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...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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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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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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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,

Gary :cool:
 
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