Why you have to be individualistic at sea…

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 12 Aug 2012 08:55
Think of this scenario, there is high pressure, 25 degrees centigrades, a nice breeze and it's Sunday.
When sailing from Isle of White to Poole, there are boats everywhere. Actually, the most dangerous thing that can happen is that you crash into another vessel. The VHF radio is full of communication about a Red kayak that has a problem, a motor boat that has stranded by the Needles etc etc.
This is a scenario a lot of us have experienced when sailing during vacation or a weekend.
There is a feeling that never occurred to me before, that we take for granted; – there is no doubt that everything is OK.

Next scene. We are looking for a weather window when the wind is going our way, a very rare situation in the English waters since the prevailing wind is westerly (for those that not sail, a prevailing wind is one that blows 80-90% of the time and the direction given is where it comes from, if we want to go west, we need east, north or south, maybe southwest or northwest if not to hard)
So we are looking at weather maps every day and finally there is a window that maybe lasts for 48 hours, that window opens at 3am in the morning. We check the tidal streams etc and come to the conclusion it is worth starting at 4.30 in the morning.
If it is rain or sun does not matter, it is about getting there with as much comfort as we can get.
At four the alarm clock goes off, it is before sunrise, the air feels cold and damp. We dress in the same underwear we use in the winter, long stockings etc. Start cooking porridge so there is ready made for the kids when they wake up etc.
Last check with the latest weather. Anchor goes up and the sound cuts holes in the silent atmosphere around us. The bay is sleeping.
We shoot off, and as we leave the bay the comfort is gone, steep waves start pounding on us and we know we have four hours of this before we can go a better direction past the next point. As you start to get used to the situation, you look around. There is nobody out there! The wind is right, according to the forecast, everything is right. The boat is doing great, the clouds are huge, but we know this is how it will be since we are using a front build up to get the right wind. So there you are, starting do wonder, is everything REALLY OK?

Why is that?

I was thinking in my loneliness as we where moving forward this grey day. Why am I wondering if the descition to go this morning is right?
Because I'm a social animal. I'm not used to do things without looking around. At least not when sailing. I think that goes for many of us, without thinking about it, we do stuff because everybody else is doing it.
If we realize there is nobody else on the ice we start to wonder if it is strong enough.

Getting to harbor after a day all on you own, looking back and realizing all descitions where right, without confirmation of other boats doing the same is a grande feeling.

Ellinor and I discussed this the other day, that to make something that not everybody else is doing needs a loose screw in your head.
And as we take descitions without confirmation you unscrew this screw a little bit more each time.