The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Discomfort

Discomfort is a bad word in our society. Our houses, our cars and our public buildings shelter us so totally from the environment that we rarely feel cold or hot or wet or windblown and, unless it’s a hurricane or tsunami, the weather very seldom stops us from doing what we want when we want.

However, when sailing offshore, especially in the high latitudes, weather determines where we go and when; it affects our comfort and even our safety.

During our years of cruising, John and I have very occasionally been threatened by what would be considered heavy though not necessarily severe weather on land. Though I find this vulnerability somewhat frightening, I also find that it makes me feel part of the world around me instead of an observer just driving through.

Even though our margin of safety has only been threatened once or twice, our comfort level has been challenged quite often! At the beginning of every ocean passage John and I doubt our ability to cope with tough conditions, we crave a full night’s sleep and we wish we could just give up cruising and settle down somewhere dry and steady.

However, after this initial time of adjustment, we start to get into the routine of being at sea. Because we’ve coped with these initial negative feelings before, we have learned that they will pass and we will soon start to enjoy being out there again.

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