A few days ago I did something special. Something I have been thinking about doing before we even bought our 25 ton, 47 foot ketch.
I went sailing, by myself.
In our posts, I think we have shared some of our anxiety about handling this boat in and around docks, other boats and the usual crunchy bits that comprise an important part of the cruiser’s world. We have had some anxious moments and even done some damage to Galapagos as we have worked to sort out the complexities of launching and landing a boat that is bigger by far than anything we have piloted in the past.
That anxiety had festered, grown and created tensions within each of us and between us that threatened to rob the joy that our little cunning plan represents. Melissa and I have invested so much into manifesting a future that is premised on not being ruled by fear. Being open to the joy and curious wonder of our world is how we hope to live the rest of our lives.
And so, after a few hours of tinkering with the new solar panels on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, I started the engine, slipped the lines and left our marina. The wind was only about six knots and out of sheer laziness, I used only the headsail for a few hours on Commencement bay. It wasn’t terribly different than taking our sweet Cal 34 out on the bay as I had done dozens of times before. With only the headsail, we made about four knots but it was a glorious four knots that gave me a sense of mastery over this ship that had been lacking.
Later that afternoon, I brought our little ship back to her slip. There was an opposing current and a little crosswind but the procedure was not much different than our Cal; more free board and you can’t shove this boat around as easily. I was pleased when one of the marina employees, working nearby, jumped when he suddenly saw Galapagos sidled into her slip. He ran over to help cleat her off and said, “Your boat is so quiet! I didn’t hear you pull in!”
Docking a boat should entail some level of anxiety. A little stress keeps you on your toes and that is never bad when dealing with the vagaries of wind, current and a full keeled boat. But the distance between a healthy awareness and paralyzing fear can be surprisingly short for many of us. Marking that distance and not being ruled by fear is something we have to learn and re-learn throughout our lives. Every time we leave the dock.