Anxiety is fear of what might happen. It’s that feeling of unease you feel when you’re about to leap in; unsure of how it will turn out. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach before you step off the dock into difficult conditions.
Usually for my offshore “pick up” trips there isn’t time to feel anxious. Once I manage to find the boat and meet the crew we’re already waist deep in whatever preparations are necessary to ensure an on time departure. Sometimes boat prep ends a minute or so into our start sequence. Anxiety has never stopped me from getting a good night’s sleep as we waited for a weather window; mostly because we’re being prudent enough to wait for a weather window.
This trip is different. Because of flight considerations I arrived before the rest of the crew. I arrived to a disassembled boat filled with tools. I won’t pretend that this is an unfamiliar sight; several boats I sail on could double as a workshop if the owner tired of sailing. During less exciting sailing the crew does double duty as inexperienced yard workers; it’s a good way to learn.
This trip is different: I don’t know the workers. On the boats I sail on that the owner fills with tools I know the owner and have worked with them side by side on plenty of projects. I’ve discussed and probably been a part of all the major repairs. The workers aboard today are marine professionals but I don’t know them. It’s clear that they don’t want to know me either; my inquiries are far from welcome – merely tolerated.
This trip is different: the masterminds of the repairs won’t be onboard when we depart. This is an offshore trip and we won’t have the expertise (nor, perhaps, the tools) to re-examine any repairs that don’t work as intended.
This trip is different: the extent of the of the repair is troubling. A 1998 Hylas should not have cracked knees! Stainless steel knees glassed into the hull should last longer than the boat! The rigger and the boat manager were both as shocked as I was to hear about the failure. Everything has been rebuilt using ½ inch stainless steel plate. The other knees were inspected for similar damage and none was found. Still, I can’t help but think about how trying it would have been had we found out about the fractured knees offshore. I can’t help but speculate about other defects lurking behind the extensive brightwork.
I’ve been reading all about repairing sailboat knees. I’ll be advocating for a battery powered angle grinder in case we lose the rig. Or a hacksaw with a TON of metal cutting blades. I’ll trust my safety preparations; I’ve prepared for worse scenarios than losing the rig. Ohh, and I should probably meet the skipper and the crew…
Then I’ll try not to be too anxious to enjoy the trip. Wish me luck!
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