Saturday, 14 May 2016

Deep breathing and Green Tea Time

I had a mild anxiety attack a few days ago.  I did something I really shouldn’t have.  I looked at the calendar.  In two weeks, we’ll be “on hold” waiting for a weather window to cross the 360 miles of the Bay of Biscay from Brittany to La Coruna, Spain.  Two weeks?!  But we’ve only had ONE shakedown cruise!  And with everything else we have to take care of, we’ve only got one more 2-day test cruise planned before Mareda goes to the boatyard for a few cosmetic touch-ups.  This means we’ll head across one of the roughest patches of water in the Atlantic without having ever left the confines of our own bay this season. 

Last week's beaching in Sauzon.  Not very useful for a Biscay crossing, but fun.
Okay… deep breathing and green tea time.  (And if you haven’t already done so, you can check out Little Cunning Plan’s A to Z blog challenge from sailing psycho-analyst Melissa, focusing on anxiety from a sailing perspective.)  Reality check:  We sailed Mareda almost 1500 nautical miles last year in some rough areas and came through it all with only good memories.  We’ve already done 2 Biscay crossings in an older and smaller boat, just the two of us, with no reliable auto-pilot and hand-steering around the clock. This time, we’ll have 1 or 2 crew members along for the ride and the boat is fully loaded with new electronics and a strong auto-pilot.  Our previous crossings were only 2 days / 1 night. This time we’ll have 3-4 days and at least 3 nights, but again, we’ve got good experienced crew this time, too.


Two thoughts now keep me from sliding back into a new anxiety attack:  1) No one can force us to go if we’re really not ready.  How simple was that???   And 2) as strange as it sounds, I’m trying to appreciate these anxious moments.  How often do you choose to do something outside your comfort zone?  I was thinking about our possible post-sailing projects: biking across Europe or cruising the canals of Europe. While they are interesting and worthy goals, they don’t send my heart racing. There’s just not much adventure or “unknown” involved.  Maybe this Biscay crossing is the last time in my life I’ll choose to do something that scares me a little bit.  That’s worth savoring, as odd as it may sound.      

7 comments:

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job of managing your anxiety and seeing it as something positive. I'm sure the crossing will go great!

Sailing Mareda said...

I'm also telling myself that it's not anxiety, it's excitement ! (sometimes works for a few minutes !)

Hubert said...

excellent thinking and way of managing anxiety! I am sure lots of positive experiences can be found outside the comfort zone, and "forcing" oneself to get there can be very rewarding. Enjoy your trip! ;-)

S.V. CAMBRIA said...

Appreciating those anxious moments . . . I've never thought about it like that, but I like the point of view.

Cheers,
Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

Sailing Mareda said...

Thanks Hubert and Stephanie. I'm sure the crossing will go well and I'll feel silly afterwards for having worried about it !

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Thanks for the shout out! There is a fine line between excitement and anxiety and it seems you've found it. If you want a little more of that green tea effect , try theanine. It's extracted from green tea, but it looks like you've got this. I know you'll be relieved to get started and stop waiting.
I am dead jealous of your ability to let that boat sit on the mud like that. It would save a ton of money to be able to do that rather than get hauled out for a bottom job around here.

Sailing Mareda said...

I'll have to look for the theanine in our pharmacy here. Of course one of the problems with green tea at sea is that it's also a mild diuretic and frequent trips to the loo in a rolling boat is never fun !

The ability to beach the boat is great for short interventions like checking everything, changing an anode, or a quick cleaning, but in most places, the environmental laws only allow a soft sponge cleaning - no power washing, no chemicals, no scraping. Still, it's a great option...