My Biggest Cruising Fear

Prior to going cruising and even during the first year my biggest fear was that we were going to sink.  With my very vivid imagination, it was easy to picture our trusty Passport 37 taking on more water than we could pump out and sinking.    I even went so far as to investigate buying a HUGE pump that would be able to pump out whatever gallon per minute rate the research I did said I might possibly need.  In the long run though, I had to veto the big pump idea because I couldn’t figure out where to store it, plus it ran on gasoline and at that time the only thing we had gas for was the outboard motor.

These days, I no longer fear our boat sinking – although it could happen.  It’s comparable to your house burning because something electrical catches fire – it can happen, but it’s not something you lay awake at night and fret about.  Usually you make sure all the electrical systems are in good order and because you’ve done the maintenance or had it done by a reliable electrician, you don’t worry about the house catching fire from an electrical short.   Or you make sure you’re clear on the navigation because sinkings can happen when boats hit things … usually things that are on charts and again, entirely preventable.

Sailing Across the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas.

Sailing Across the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas.

That’s the way I think about sinking these days.  It could happen, it does happen, but it’s usually something that could have been prevented with some diligence – either making sure your seacocks are in good working order, replacing them before they need replaced, making sure the bilge pump or pumps work reliably, having bilge pump and float switch spares just in case or doublechecking the navigation.

So since I’m not worrying about sinking these days, is it all bliss living at anchor in a tropical paradise all the time?  No.  Definitely not.  Being the worry-wart that I am, but I’ve merely changed the subject!

These days I worry about weather.  Weather makes me crazy!  It never does what it’s supposed to do anywhere close to when it’s supposed to do it.  Weather is supposedly a science and as such, I’d think it would be a bit more accurate than it seems.  Otherwise, after we’ve poured for days over several different forecasts, looked at the GRIB files ourselves, tried to evaluate every little thing and paid Chris Parker to give us the forecast, why oh why do we seem to get it wrong such a high percentage of the time?

Lest you think I’m talking about serious weather, nope.  This is not about hurricanes or anything that’s likely to be a real problem, altho’ like sinking, it could happen.

The fears these days are not catastrophic, but more about comfort.    Somehow I’ve evolved from being obsessed about sinking to being paranoid about weather.   Being a sometimes Type A personality,  I like everything to be predictable and in control.  I want to spend a significant amount of time devoted to research, formulate a plan and have a good chance of knowing that plan will work.

Not with weather.  It just laughs at me.

OK, so maybe fear is more a result of things unknown and less related to actual danger.  That makes me feel better … and worse.

After owning and cruising Winterlude for 13 years and over 15,000 miles, it seems there’s something new I don’t know every day!  But I must admit, there are a lot of things I know now that I didn’t know when we started.   And since I’m naturally curious, I learn something almost every day I’m on the boat!   So I guess I need to get serious about studying about weather!


  1. I can totally relate, we’ve been living aboard for 4 months now and haven’t left the dock yet and i’ve abandoned ship 3 times. Usually when the boat makes an unfamiliar sound, like the first time the we refilled the water tank and the pump made this horrible groaning noise (apparently this was because of air in the system) or when the galley sink started to empty really slow and almost stopped, Ben said something was blocking the seacock and I became convinced we were sinking. And the marine head still terrifies me, i’m not sure i’m ever going to be comfortable using it.

    • It does get easier — just like when you first move into a new house and every little noise startles you and keeps you awake fretting at night.

      I’m still that way when I hear something unfamiliar — and it does still happen even after years and 11,000 miles, but it’s MUCH less stressful. Most things I recognize and automatically discard. I remember the first time we refilled our water tanks – they make this horrendous sonic boom just before they get full — I guess it’s the extra air expelling or maybe the metal tank flexing, I don’t know, but I was sure the boat was flooding… nope, and now we use it as an indicator that the tank’s are getting full, not alarming at all. HANG IN THERE! Just like anything in life, if it’s worth doing and has the potential to be magnificent, it requires some hard work and more than a bit of stress (at least for me!). But the up side … is indescribable and definitely not caught in photos…

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