03 October 2012
This month's Raft Up is about fear - is there anything that we fear about our lifestyle and how do we address those problems.
When I first met Andy he informed me that he wanted to buy a yacht and sail it around the world one day. That sounded like a pretty good proposition to me and one that I was readily prepared to go along with. In time we bought the boat, kitted her out, retired and got our finances in order. My ignorance at this time meant that I didn't really have any fears: I was used to leaving my family and only seeing them once or twice per year and I'd always been fairly self-reliant. My trust in Andy was (and still is) complete, he wouldn't ever put me in a dangerous position so what was there to be scared of?
I soon discovered that I got a bit apprehensive when the boat heels over to one side or if the sails start to flog violently but that's all manageable and not really a problem.
Our scariest time came when travelling up the west coast of the Peloponnese in Greece in August 2010. We were about five miles offshore sailing along on a beautiful sunny day, making about 4 knots and enjoying the cooling breeze. There was a thunderstorm over the land that we watched track up the coastline. We were heading to Katakolon which is situated on a hook of land. As we got nearer to Katakolon Andy noticed a squall heading our way and managed to furl the headsail in. Before we had a chance to tackle the main we were engulfed in the storm. Luckily Andy had managed to let the mainsheet go so we were depowered. The storm seemed relentless with hail stones the size of golf balls raining down on us and blocking our cockpit drains (they're big - almost 2" across). The wind was coming from all around us, when the lightening hit the water about 10 metres from us I shouted '**** this' and retreated below decks leaving Andy to keep us safe - what a coward! Suddenly all was calm and we jumped up to drop the main and assess any damage. Before we turned head to wind the whole thing started up again and we both retreated under the spray hood for protection from the ice. Eventually it all quietened down and we were able to get the main sail down and clear the cockpit of ice. Amazingly the only damage was a slight rip to the sail bag which was easily repaired. Our nerves in tatters we motored the rest of the way to Katakolon, anchored in 2.5 metres (we draw 2.7 metres) in a nice muddy bottom and dropped about 50 metres of chain - we didn't want to go anywhere for a while! Once we calmed down we chatted to others that were in the anchorage and saw photographs of the storm start to twist as it hit the hook of land at Katakolon, it then headed straight out to sea and us.
Since then we've had very few scary episodes. We've learnt that Norna can put up with a lot at sea and will keep us safe as long as we look after her, very reassuring. Maybe we're a bit naive but we consider that we're probably safer here at sea than we would be on the roads of the UK doing the daily commute.
Neither of us are natural worriers so our worries about our families are tempered by the fact that we both know that they are pleased that we are doing what we want to do whilst we are young and healthy enough to enjoy it. Whilst we are in Europe the UK is only a maximum of a four hour flight away. That will change once we go further afield and we will lose the security of knowing that we can always get home within a few hours if necessary. However, we consider that we should live our lives for us and not for others and luckily for us our families think the same way.
To see others' takes on 'fear' click on the links below:
1st October - Dana: svnorthfork.blogspot.com
2nd Behan: sv-totem.blogspot.com
4th Stacey: http://sv-bellavita.blogspot.com
5th Tammy: ploddingINparadise.blogspot.com
6th Ean; morejoyeverwhere.com
7th Lynn; sailcelebration.blogspot.com
8th Diane: www.maiaaboard.blogspot.com
10th Jaye; lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com
11th Verena; pacificsailors.com
12th Toast; http://toastsfloats.com
15th Dana; svnorthfork.blogspot.com