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Old 09-04-2008, 01:31 AM   #1
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You know, we all react in different ways to different stresses and have different strengths and weaknesses regarding our ability to deal with the the voyaging lifestyle --or any aspect of life for that matter.

Sailing about on the worlds oceans brings new and different types of stressors and potentials of disaster. We get a "new and different version" of all the normal things that can impact or harm us on land--illness, injury, weather, and crime all have different presentation when at sea. Some of the smallest, simple things become complex and can be overwhelming. Other "big risks" have to be considered and mentally "put in their place" in order for we voyagers to enjoy the lifestyle.

When someone questions our sanity for taking to the waters (what! big weather, big pirates, big risks...) I frequently find myself first trying to assure that person that all is well--If it is a close friend or family member--I may discuss how we're "prepared," and, we have the ability to "execute," and besides there's really nothing to be worried about (this last part is typically said with a flip little joke trying to assure them with the use of humor that things aren't as "risky" as they might think!) If its someone who I don't care to reassure, I must admit I go straight to the jokes.

So, reflecting, I note--

Some folks do a great job of "preparing" for potential disaster--these are those wonderful folks who have not only prepared themselves physically for a variety of challenges, they also have sound sailing and navigation knowledge, all the right things in the first-aid kit, spare parts galore, and have taken the time to learn how to do a variety of maintenance tasks on the boat. I love to see postings online from experienced cruisers of this sort--I learn a lot from them.

Other folks strengths lie in their ability to "execute." You'll never know how prepared or unprepared they really are/were. These are those people that I must say I'm awed by--cool as a cucumber they just "deal" with whatever comes their way--and with what seems to be an abundance of knowledge, skill, and grace. Whether or not they have "prepared" they just seem to come through things with flying colors and make for inspiring stories Indeed, I'm inspired by these folks.

Finally, there are those souls who may or may not be prepared and capable of good execution--but their strength is the ability to laugh and joke with good cheer and keep things in perspective for those of us who might get too serious. I love being around these folks because they bring out good things in me and truly "lighten the load" of life''s stresses.

I must say, I try to "prepare" and I wish I were a natural "execute" type. I find myself doing what I can and then mentally "deal with" all those things which my ability to handle with grace are, well, shall we say a bit...um...limited? As such, I often find myself simply trying to use my sense of humor to both (1) put risks in their place and (2) to deal with what is really happening in the moment. Things are much better when you can crack a joke and smile about them.

My husband, bless him, is one of those folks who executes many things flawlessly and with such grace. However, he's not such a preparer as I am. Together, we do OK but we do find that the thing that "keeps us going" through disasters and good times is our ability to laugh, joke, and put the "big scary things" in life into a contained box where they cannot grow into monsters.

We were once in a single-car crash...as it was going on (I was driving, btw) my husband was whooping "yee-haw" and laughing (yes, laughing) in the passenger seat as I was practically hyperventilating through the experience. When it was over, we were unhurt (though the car was damaged) and cracking jokes within minutes. In that few minutes, the stresses of the experience were gone and things didn't seem "so bad" even though we were out in the middle of nowhere with a disabled car (which was quickly fixed by David...but that's another story). Another time, we came close to disaster in a sea kayaking "adventure" in the Pacific Ocean--as a series of huge breaking waves was trying to crash us into a sea cave, David again was laughing and joking "Been nice knowing ya!" as we backpaddled furiously through the breaking waves to safety in the open ocean. Countless little sailing "oops!" have happened between the two of us and laughter has really helped us "get over" whatever may have happened--and then to do a bit more "planning" and practice a bit of that "execution" for smoother sailing

We are right now in our "prepare the boat and plan" stages of beginning our voyaging life and as such, aren't "out there" voyaging right now. I truly appreciate the wonderful posts that the good folks here make to assist others with preparation and planning; I also appreciate the good humor that some of our cruiser log members use to pull the monsters out of the closet and tame them.

Looking forward to reading more from all
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:25 AM   #2
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Just reading the title of the topic " Humor And Dealing With The Potential "stressors" Of A Voyaging Life" reveals an infinity of scenarios for which each might require different means of solving for each - it depends.

The mentioned characteristics of preparation/planning and execution need a few others for example :- Theoretical and practical knowledge, experience, organization, leading and control. Amongst those the experience of failure and subsequent learning and solution must be given a very high rank.

The most negative characteristic that accompanies and contributes to stress on the active cruiser, on the skipper and the crew is the syndrome of PROCRASTINITUS

That is to say Don't :-

Don't climb the mast to check the rigging, Don't inspect the stitching in the sails. Don't inspect the sea cocks. Don't fix that small leak in the heat exchanger. Don't filter the diesel bought from a local fisherman. Don't check the life-rafts scheduled inspection dates. Don't Check the battery water levels. Don't check the compass. Don't check the ground tackle. Don't check the weather. Don't check the expiry date of the passports. Don't inspect the life lines.

Don't teach the crew how to navigate, use the radio, start the engine, helm the boat. Don't seek medical help for an ailment that lingers on.

'Tomorrow's another day' - true, however, how many boats and their crews are lost because the big "P" ruled ? What does it cost, when a small problem is found but not taken care of?

The idioms of the sea are rich and manifold :- "well founded boat" - "ship shape" - "know the ropes" - "batten down the hatches" All these pointing to where maintenance is planned, where faults are found and fixed, where the crew are part of a team well versed and practiced. Where the "P" is absent, seldom will the well found boat founder.

Respect, each person for their skills and experience, whoever and wherever they are.

Humor! the ability to laugh out loud at one's own mistakes - to laugh with, not at others for their mistakes and to learn from them.

Enjoy the life of cruising
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:20 PM   #3
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You failed to mention to keep updated on the last Pirate update. Pirates could upset the least procastinator among us.

So P stand for more than just procrastination.

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