Thursday, October 16, 2008

5:30 AM Jitters

It is 5:30 AM and I am awake again, wondering what sort of madness this trip is.


My anxiety level is pretty high these days. I am in the last week of preparations for the trip, and I feel pretty good about the state of the boat and crew. There are a few areas where the preparation is a little weak, but overall I think it is quite good. At a cocktail party last night, one experienced yachtsman commented that when he went, they were not nearly as prepared as we seemed to be. So where is the anxiety coming from?


One possible source is fear of the danger. Last weekend, we joined my cousin Barbara and her husband Walter for dinner in Niantic. Gathered around her table was a group of sailors, both recreational and professional that probably totaled 150+ years of experience in 5 persons. One of them, Peter, had gone to Bermuda in the 70s and encountered a storm with sustained winds over 100 knots. Peter told us that their boat had pitchpoled at night and partially flooded.


He painted the picture as follows: the boat went end-over-end and began to flood quickly because they forgot to latch a lazerette and it came open. The cook FREAKED out, and went into hysterics. The lights went out, then flickered back to dim, just like the German U-boat movies. When the boat slowly righted itself, there was knee deep water down below. He thought “So this is what it is like”. Then he checked on the helmsman who he thought was probably lost, but who wa still there at the wheel. He proceeded to tell me about all of the things that can go flying around and encouraged me to go on a campaign to prepare he boat for rollover.


I have done that to some extent. I put padeyes around the engine compartment and the stove to lash them down, and put small lines around all of the settee backs, so that they can be lashed shut. I have to add some padeyes in the cockpit.


Another possibility is fear of being away from home for that long, and fear of the financial implications of the trip. These are much more real. But Dana will be down 4 times, and I will be back at least once, so that probably isn’t it. As long as we don’;t suffer any major calamities, we can afford it, but it is a splurge.


And is it anxiety or just excitement? Is this feeling that much different from what you felt Christmas morning as a child, but felt with the sensibilities of an adult? Don’t tell the crew about this.


Whatever. I have a pair of davits to mount today.