Facing fears: yes, it’s scary at times
February 3, 2020

It suddenly gets to me. 12000m of water below our boat. 12km! More than 1000km behind us, but even more in front of us. I. AM. SO. SCARED. SOS.

The wind picks up, and waves throw us around. It’s almost impossible to do things, going to the toilet and making tea are the two main activities that we undertake. I want to share my fears with Jur. I’m afraid that he will be scared too, and then what?! Will we freak out together? After a little while, I decide to talk about it. Luckily, as always, we help each other out. Yes, it is scary and unpleasant at times. The reward will only be bigger. We prepped the boat and ourselves the best we could, and we have many backup options and communication channels. Getting into a car really is more dangerous than our undertaking, statistically speaking…

That might be true… But it feels different. We have to look after ourselves. There is no police or hospital nearby. There is no guarantee on this boat, we made so much of it ourselves so we have to trust ourselves. Nowadays, it’s so easy to rely upon others; experts or companies. It’s so un2020-like to fully rely on yourself and your partner!

The best guarantee of this amazing boat, is obviously the journey that we made with her thusfar. She showed what she’s worth, and she’s very capable! Yndeleau will probably outshine us, and we’re very happy about that 😉

We really learn to live in the now. That is all that matters, and it requires your full attention. It also helps to keep feelings of fear to a minimum. My mom shared a short video some time ago, I do not have access to the source or original text at the moment, but the main message is powerful to me. It goes something like this: You never have to worry. What do you worry about? Can you do something about it? Then do it, and you don’t have to worry. Can’t you do something about it? Well, then you don’t have to worry either. This is a bit simplified of course, but it makes sense. We deal with the problems that arise at the moment. Bad weather for example. Predictions help us prepare, but very often, the prediction is not accurate.

Last night, the wind kept picking up. I was a bit scared to reef in the dark. We already set one reef, to be prepared. But as the wind picked up more than expected, I layed in bed and worried about being on deck, with stormy wind, when should we reef, should we do that at all, so many things could go wrong… My mind was going crazy. When we finally decided to reef, I was shaking like crazy bút I wasn’t really scared because we just did it.

After a few scary moments, I decided to sit down and think about how I (succesfully) can deal with fear. These 3 tactics work for me:
1. When you feel scared, acknowledge it. With a neutral face 😉 So in my mind, I try to say “hi fear, I see you” instead of “omg fear wtf are you doing here?! You shouldn’t be here. This is all wrong, this shows that I can’t do it”. When you try to push it away, it gets even stronger. Think: pink elephant (Google if that doesn’t ring a bell)
2. Listen to your fear: what does it say? Try to be precise, the unravelling already helps to calm down somehow. For example: my fear would feel like “being all alone on this massive, deep water with stormy weather, what if something goes wrong?”. Some of the fears I can already eliminate by just making them more concrete: are we alone? Yes, more than ever. But there are still boats close by, and more important: we have amazing communication methods. Plus, our location is known by many. So that’s actually not so scary anymore. Massive, deep water-fears: I have never been a fan of going into unclear water. So here I am, fully surrounded by it. But we are safe and dry in our boat, and a boat hardly ever sinks. Even when people abandon boats, these are often found afloat years later. We wear our lifevests all day and night, and we use our safetylines almost all the time as well. So the chance of me getting into this water is really, really small. Stormy-weather fears: yes it can get
really rough. We already had 8bft, but it all went fine. Our confidence in this boat grows by the minute. It’s very unlike that we would experience something like a tornado, so generally speaking: we can cope. It might get really intense and unpleasant, but it won’t last forever. We have a sea anchor in case of really heavy weather to keep us more stable.
3. Use it as a scenario-practise. This might sound contra-productive; thinking about it even more, but for me it helps. Just go through the entire scary event and the steps you would take. Doing this helps me to gain confidence. Even in the very unlikely event of this scary thing happening, I know what to do. Also, by focussing on the mental challenge of the scenario-steps, my mind steps out of the fear-loop. Are you ever scared? What do you do when you’re confronted with fears?

Suus

*I wrote this blog in the first week that we left. I was a bit SCARED to post it 😉 since I didn’t want to frighten you guys back home. But I’m happy to share with you that I haven’t had such fears since then. And also, I always remember: this too shall pass!*

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

7 Comments

  1. Monique

    wat fijn om dit te lezen, en dapper dat je het opschrijft! Heel erg herkenbaar ook. Wij willen over een aantal jaren hetzelfde gaan doen met ons schip, een type dat zelfs wordt aanbevolen voor de Ocean Globe Race en is ontworpen om de omstandigheden rond Kaap Hoorn aan te kunnen. Dus aan het schip zal het niet liggen.. Maar ook ik heb dus deze angsten. En ben bang voor dieptes. En wat als het mis gaat… Deze zomer hebben we voor het eerst meegedaan met een rally naar Frankrijk, en voor mij was dit de eerste grote tocht over zee. Vooraf waren er een aantal dingen waar ik bang voor was: onweer, heel harde wind, hoge golven, groot verkeer en mist. Alles is daadwerkelijk voorbij gekomen, en hoewel ik het af en toe best spannend vond bleek ook bij mij dat ik er best mee om kon gaan. Goed te lezen dat dit ook bij jullie het geval is en dat het goed gaat! Ik heb zelf altijd dit in m’n hoofd: ‘the best way to get over your fears is to face them. Succes de komende tijd, en geniet er ook zeker van! Behouden vaart!

  2. noud

    zó herkenbaar

  3. Ingrid Steneker

    Best spannend allemaal, I can imagine😜 Maar zo te lezen kunnen jullie het handelen! Good luck and a save trip⛵️☀️💨🌧🌈✨⚡️

  4. Astrid

    Suus, het gaat zoals het gaat in jullie best effort!
    Alle voorbereidingen doe gedaan moeten worden doen jullie zoals ik lees.
    Angst benoemen en ermee dealen lucht al op.
    Ik hoop dat wanneer ik door schrijf het rustiger is geworden op zee en jullie weer de teugels een beetje kunnen laten vieren en uiteraard te genieten. Zet m op!

  5. Eline

    Mooi, inspirerend verhaal Suus!

  6. Joost Vriesman

    Zo herkenbaar! En ook heel mooi en kwetsbaar verwoord. Fair winds de laatste week en stay safe!!

  7. Hans Van berkel

    Vertrouw op je eigen kunnen en elimineer elk stukje. En bouw daardoor terug naar te overzien stukjes. Blijf communiceren. Jullie zijn toppers en velen volgen jullie. Fijn om te lezen en vooral hoe open jullie communiceren. Take care en pas goed op elkaar.

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