Monday, April 07, 2014

Objective Assessment – to Sail, or not to Sail

At the moment I have no desire for being on the water. I can't understand why. Somehow I seem to have lost my confidence, and for the first time in my life I am not excited about the prospect of adventurous solo sailing, or even sailing with others. I know that I am not as strong as I used to be, and I do not have stamina for long distance sailing. Last year I had two close squeaks when things could have gone terribly wrong, perhaps with the loss of my life, and I haven’t fully recovered from those experiences.

Maybe I shall regain my self-confidence, and my enthusiasm will return, but I have to acknowledge there will come a time when I may have to hang up my boots and accept that I can no longer do things I used. Perhaps I have reached that point regards to sailing.

If I decide to give up, I shall not be sad, because I have happy memories, and I know that I have lived well. I have been blessed with good fortune by a loving God.


Strengths and Weaknesses


Positive – I am reasonably fit for my age. I can walk well, and I’m able to move around inside the boat, but not easily.

Negative – I am unable to do hard physical exercise for long. My back is not strong, and it can be painful and debilitating.  I easily succumb to cold on account of Raynaud’s phenomenon, and I suffer from cramps.


Positive - I’m more contented when not under stress. I like relaxing, and I appreciate moments set aside for spiritual contemplation. I have a desire to be less selfish and more helpful. I value people and I enjoy harmonious relationships with family and friends. I gain satisfaction by doing things well.

Negative - I am less able to concentrate for long periods, and I am less decisive and more apprehensive. I am no longer stimulated by demanding challenges, and I have lost my appetite for adventure. I prefer avoiding adrenalin moments, and I am less inclined to take risks.

Will and Desire

I was surprised to find that I have lost my enthusiasm for long coastal passages, and I was even more surprised that currently I have no desire for getting out on the water! I’m trying to convince myself that perhaps my mindset will change, and that my self-confidence will return.


Safety is paramount. I do not want to expose myself to situations that could threaten life and limb; furthermore, because I’m not as fit, strong and agile as I was, I feel I am unable to totally rely on being self-sufficient as in the past. The last thing I want is to find myself in a mayday scenario where I have to be rescued.

Enjoyment and Pleasure

Why sail, if not for enjoyment and pleasure? If I am not enjoying sailing, does it make sense to continue? Obviously, the answer is, ‘No’.

Emotions and Feelings

I could get very emotional about stopping an activity that has given me much pleasure and satisfaction throughout my life, but a welter of self-pity would be destructive. My feelings and emotions are better controlled by objective reasoning and positive thinking.


While I’m undecided about giving up sailing altogether, I have ‘Minnow’ in her boathouse. She is the able one who is capable of meeting many challenges when helmed by an experienced and competent skipper – one who has the will and desire for adventure. Just now, I lack that will and desire.


Bursledon Blogger said...

Bill, I recognise some of your thoughts and feelings, with a small child safely and risk avoidance became increasing our focus and with that the prospect of offshore sailing less appealing and exciting, pottering around the solent equally became uninspiring and more often a chore avoiding the crowds, the motorboats and the more gung ho sailors. That said i still find great pleasure just pottering around, be that rowing, or working a small sailing dinghy up the river on a summer evening -don't give up just yet Max

Brian said...

As you know Bill, I have had to go through a similar process, it is not easy and I still have not managed to let go completely. You are again applying attention to detail and thoroughness to the task, so you will arrive at a solution in just the same way you arrived so safely at so many ports in the past.
We seem to start small, get bigger and bigger boats, and then smaller and smaller as we age. Hence the huge popularity of Scows around here. Your lovely and lively grandchildren are going to continue to bring you huge amounts of pleasure, just as mine do. You have enormous sailing skills to pass on, so it could be fun selecting a new craft to do that. The Scows or your local Duck Punts might just fit the Bill. Please forgive my pun.
Brian, Keyhavenpotterer to some.

the_real_jaykay said...

Hi Bill

I have been reading your Blog for a little while since I found the Paradox design and the Paradox builders group on Yahoo; your website has provided a wealth of information and answered many questions.

I am very sorry to read that you are having sailing doubts at the moment.

I am a small craft marine surveyor based in Essex and considering building my own Paradox. I would very like to perhaps meet you and have a look at Minnow to decide if she is the right craft type for me.

Kindest Regards
John-Kenneth D Habbershaw

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

Hi Bill, as a new sailor I recognise your doubts as I've yet to gain the confidence that experience brings.

Maybe you need a series of smaller adventures in enclosed harbours or estuaries to get the enthusiasm back and then see how you feel.

With Minnow you don't need the hardship of the long passages as you can just trail her to the required stretch of water. There's a lot to be said for that sort of practicality. Maybe at the end of the day your taste has changed.

See it not as a negative, but as a positive. You can pick where to sail, get there quickly and easily, launch, and enjoy the sailing. Look at it as being able to enjoy and savour the good bits of sailing.

Unknown said...

Bill....having been a long time follower and fellow Paradox sailor...I must admit that I have been out of touch for a while and not able to follow along as closely as I was. When I siigned into your blog the other night I was thrilled to see you got Minnow going!!! Bravo my should be very proud!!! Great work! I was then somewhat dismayed when I read your account that things seem different for you now and that you are contemplating how your sailing will progress. My advice hit the nail on the head when you said it has to be fun, or whats the point? You MUST enjoy it. If the longer distances no longer bring you what does. It doesn't mean you are any less of a sailor. If daysailing works for you...DO IT! If sailing in the company of another, on another boat rings you joy...DO IT! If it is time for you to move on to another hobby...DO IT. You should feel very good about all you have accomplished. This is the time of life for you to enjoy. Don't feel bad about whatever your decision is man....we still love ya! Only you can make the call. Thank you for bieng such an inspiration to me and my sailing. You have afffected many more people than you would ever imagine with all your inspiring adventures! ;-)

Paradox "scout"

Unknown said...

Hello Bill, I can only echo what Sean Mulligan said.
I'm heartened to observe that as ever, you've got all your options covered.
Hopefully, once the weather warms up, you'll give it another go.
I shall continue to follow your daily bog for as long as you continue to write it, and long may that continue.

Unknown said...

Hi Bill...this might get you out of your 'fug'...I've just bought a pioneer 9 (1964) called 'tilly whim'. I am solo sailing her to the Azores in june!!! I'll be fitting her out over the next couple of months. She is a little beauty with a fare gota 2 stroke petrol inboard.
Re are but a leaf in the wind bill. Relax.

Steve Carey said...

You've been very busy over the past few months, re-fitting Minnow, Decorating, Entertaining Grand Children, Straightening up the Garden etc . . . . . . have a break of around a month and do at little as possible. I'm sure that one fine sunny morning Minnow will be calling you and you WILL respond to her at make plans for a new voyage.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Bill - it's your call ultimately, and only you can decide, but basically you have all the signs of having (temporarily) lost your mojo... :o) As Steve Carey says, rest, recuperate, do something different for a while, and one day you'll get the small voice niggling in the back of your mind..... My only advise would be don't sell Minnow just yet, and do try to get down to the West Country for that race start even if with no boat... it's amazing how infectious enthusiasm can be, and an event like that is going to deliver in spades...

William Serjeant said...


I am listening.

Than you.


William Serjeant said...


Letting go is hard, but quite often necessary.

New things crop up, such as your magnificent bikes.


William Serjeant said...


You will be very welcome to have a look at 'Minnow'.

Pease get in touch via: barnacleid at yahoo dot co dot uk


William Serjeant said...


Thank you.

I am considering the option you suggest. I recognize 'Minnow' is a trailer sailer. At the heart of the matter is my disposition - how I think and feel.


William Serjeant said...


Thank you for your touching words.

Ellen MacArthur's guiding mantra is 'Just do it!' It has taken her a long way.

I wish I could be so decisive.

The answer for me is that I can do what I can do, but only if the desire is there.


William Serjeant said...


A bout of good weather can very motivating.


William Serjeant said...


That's a fillet of good news about your planned trip to the Azores with 'Tilly Whim'.

Is there any way I can follow your log?


William Serjeant said...


I am taking a break, as you suggest.

Perhaps after a month or so I shall see things differently.

Like I've said before, 'There's always a new hope for tomorrow.'


William Serjeant said...


I made a big mistake selling 'Faith', but there is a difference now with 'Minnow'. I'm considerably older and weaker and I have lost my self-belief and desire.

I'll try to take hold of what you say about getting to Plymouth. The medicine of enthusiasm may rekindle a flame.