MAKING BAD THINGS INTO BETTER THINGS WHILE SAILING ON
THE OCEAN OF YOUR DREAMS
When we started sailing around
the world, we had no experience in offshore sailing or heavy
weather. By the time we had sailed half way across the Pacific,
we still had never sailed in conditions that were exceptionally
arduous or challenging. We were unproven and the behavior of
our yacht in adverse conditions was unknown.
When we left Bora Bora in
French Polynesia, we sailed five hundred miles to an atoll in
the Cook Islands called Suvarov. This atoll is unique because
only one family lives on it. The approach to Suvarov is
hazardous; if you miss the entrance to the atoll, you hit the
reef and wreck your yacht.
As you approach Suvarov, you
canít see the actual reef. You only see a wrecked vessel
rusting away on top of the reef warning you of its presence.
Inside this atoll, there are hundreds of large coral formations
called coral heads that dot the lagoon and lie just below the
Suvarov has been compared to a
Venus Fly Trap. The lagoon looks inviting, but itís extremely
hazardous in unsettled weather. Once inside the lagoon, you
pick a spot to anchor among the coral heads. If your anchor
holds, and the wind doesnít shift, thereís no problem. If your
anchor drags, or if the wind changes direction, your yacht may
hit a coral head. In the daytime, you can see the coral heads,
and a wind shift isnít a problem. At night, thereís no way to
tell the location of the coral, and if your anchor drags, you
may hit the reef and lose your boat.
The weather was unsettled as we
approached Suvarov. We knew conditions in the lagoon would be
marginal because the winds were blowing at about twenty five
knots. Nevertheless, we decided to enter the lagoon in order to
rendezvous with cruising friends anchored there.
We found the pass through the
reef and carefully sailed among the coral heads inside the
lagoon until we arrived at Anchorage Island. Once inside it
became clear that conditions were marginal.
We put down a big anchor and
hoped for the best. Fortunately, our anchor held through the
night. By the next morning, conditions had deteriorated
further, and we decided we should exit the atoll before things
became totally unmanageable. Many boats have been lost on
Suvarov, and we didnít want to become another statistic.
The bad news was that
conditions outside the atoll were also rough. We got underway
in the morning when the light was good enough to be able to pick
our way through the coral heads. As we headed out, we passed a
large commercial fishing trawler coming in for shelter.
Conditions were rough, and they decided to come in for a rest.
Later we heard the trawler dragged their anchor and hit a
cruising yacht anchored inside the atoll.
We cleared the reef and turned
west for a five hundred mile sail to Samoa. The winds were
gusting thirty five to forty five knots. We decided this was
our opportunity to learn how our yacht would behave in marginal
sailing conditions. We ran before large seas for three days
under modest amounts of sail, and let the autopilot do all the
steering. Although it was a rough ride, the yacht handled the
high winds and seas without a problem.
through this experience with more confidence in ourselves and in
our yacht. Our experience in the lagoon at Suvarov could have
turned into a disaster. The sail from Suvarov to Samoa could
have been a three day nightmare. Both of these experiences
could be classified as potentially bad ones. Nevertheless, we
learned from them and turned them to our advantage. We made
them into something better.
Zero Tolerance To
Negative Thinking : Good-by Depression - Hello Positive Mind
David J Abbott M.D.
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Real Power: Maxing Out On God's Love.com
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No Negative Thinking.com
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