Fear and how it helps to gain knowledge

Fear and how it helps to gain knowledge

I recently read that Fear is caused by a lack of knowledge or not knowing. To gain knowledge you have to face your fears. When you face your fear you gain the knowledge and can hear, see and feel what you fear. After this point your fear starts to disappear because you know what it is. Having faced my fears twice in the last week - anchoring in very strong winds I gained a great deal more knowledge and knew what to expect. My level of fear of not knowing what would / could happen was therefore very much reduced because my earlier fears had given me the knowledge in how to deal with these situations.
Yesterday I blogged how peaceful it was and posed a photo from the beach.

Today is another story that tested my fear and knowledge levels a little further. I thought I would write a blow by blow (excuse the pun) account as a record of using fear to gain more knowledge and thereby lessen my own fear. It is useful to me as an aide memoir for the future and hopefully may help others when in a situation and faced with fear.

What I did not mention yesterday was the forecast for the night and today - gale to severe gale force winds from the SW to NW quadrant ! It started around 20:00 and the wind gradually rose to 20 kn. No worries. 25 kn - still not a problem. Then 30 to 35 kn and continually switching directions by around 45 Deg in the gusts. Time to have a think about “what if” scenarios. Having experienced the high winds in Palma a week or so ago I had done a bit of research and found an anchor alarm App. This I loaded on the i-pad and i-phone. Setting guard zones meant that if the anchor dragged then a I loud alarm sounds. If anyone wants the details of the APP then please ping me a message as I guess I am not allowed to advertise it here. Very good value for money. The anchor held until we were up to around 35-40 k at approximately 05:00.
Luckily I was in the cockpit and saw the boat to my port dragging backwards.
I shone my powerful steamer scarer at his cockpit to alert him but luckily he was already there taking action and gave me a wave.

I watched him drag off out to sea whilst trying to get his anchor up. After a while he succeeded and came back and anchored right behind me ! I did not think this a good idea in case I dragged.

Surely as Murphy will always take control about 5 minutes later I started to drag as the wind increased to 45.7 kn - the barometer dropped from 1,008 to 996 mb. More than last week and fear of the unknown started to set in again . This area is notorious for thick weedy patches. Whilst I had anchored in a sand patch when I dragged I came up against heavy weed. As a result the anchor would not dig back in.

Fearing I would drag back onto my neighbour who was now anchored directly behind me it was time to motor forward, untie the snubber and pull in the chain. Sure enough a massive gobbet of weed and roots on the hook.

Bear away and let the wind blow me out to sea for a mile or so whilst I cleared off the weedy mass. I was pleased I fixed the windlass problems a few days prior and now had full use of the up and down buttons at helm and foredeck. Makes doing it solo a much easier job !

I decided to stay out for a while until dawn broke and there was enough daylight to motor back in and re-anchor. Took down the riding sail because in my opinion it does more harm than good in very heavy winds that constantly change direction. One great thing with the anchor App is it can show the satellite photo of the area and I could see from this there were much better places to anchor and not where everyone always does!

Whilst out I could see 2 more boats dragging out to sea and was pleased to not be in a possible “bumper cars” (dodgems) game!

As daylight came through I motored ahead in 35 kn to where the satellite pictures clearly showed much larger sand patches. Leaving the engine on tick-over and the autopilot set to keep the nose into the wind I went forward and could see a nice big sand patch. Went back and put the engine into neutral and as soon as I was being blown back dropped the hook and 30 m chain. It held immediately. Let out more chain to 60 m - a 7/8 scope for extra safety! Quickly tied on the snubber and relaxed again.

During the process I saw a catamaran drag and drift out to sea fighting to get his anchor out the water.

The rain has started as the wind veered round gusting between 25and 35 kn.

The forecast is for gusts up to 55 kn by 15:00 then dropping off and building again for the next 2 to 3 days.

Decided to let out more chain - 80 —m - that’s a scope of 10:1. I also fitted a second octoplait snubber above the first. This is in case the first parted company; we will then be held on the second. I can then fit a 3rd if needs be and let out more chain - I carry 110 m in total.

I’m glad I did this because 15 minutes later the wind picked up to 47 kn - right on the edge of Storm Force 10. Fear, having subsided earlier started to kick in again. The wind veered round from the 270 Deg to 350 Deg. It was reassuring to see the plots on the anchor alarm and my Nav software changing as the boat moved around.

During all of this, the catamaran thatched dragged (she looked like a 13 m Wharram) decided to move over to my area. She did not anchor but motored around the Bay a few time with her small rubber dinghy flying horizontally in the wind whilst tethered to the stern of the boat! She was shortly followed by a monohull with 5/6 crew in the cockpit with full wet weather gear on! They anchored off the beach to the North of me. The Cat eventually anchored elsewhere.

The barometer started to rise back to 999 mb and by 13:00 the wind was down to 11 - 15 kn. I took the opportunity to pick the dinghy up onto the davits - I was supposed to do this before the winds hit but did not do so for some silly reason. She had survived OK tied to one of the mooring cleats, but in a storm,it is just another item that could add up into another cluster^#•*. Luckily for me,it did not.

A note on snubber lines: I used to always snub the chain with a chain hook. However, having recently experienced one dropping off the chain in large waves and reading reports that chain hooks can damage the chain links in a heavy blow I went back to the old fashioned method of a large diameter octoplait mooring line connected to the chain with a rolling hitch. Much safer and much stronger.

A note on noise : At 47 kn the wind shrieks and howls and there are a lot of other boat noises (of course the intensity depends on the boat). I tend to stay in the saloon which, on Chance Discovery, is deck level with a good 270 Deg view. Everything closed down and the double glazing shut out most of the noise. However, a good tip to lessen the fear caused by noise is to wear noise cancelling headphones and play some music that is relaxing to oneself. It is also a good idea to keep busy so as not to dwell too much on what s going on around you. Obviously keep an eye out (easy with the deck saloon on Chance Discovery) but find things to do. I made some coconut and almond chocolates, ate a hearty lunch of fresh sautéed clams and spent time writing this blog!

It is now 17:30 and the wind seems to have settled down a bit - around 15kn but the forecast says there will be more - possibly up to 55 kn. Having now raised the bar on my fear levels I hope I will be able to cope without fear if and when it comes.