Is Sailing Stressful?

By: Cruising Tips, Learn To Sail

What Part of a Daysail Is the Most Stressful for You?

The daysail is a common activity for every sailor. Whether you are headed to your own boat, part of a sailing club, or have a generous friend who allows you to tag along there are general stress factors that contribute to your planning process.

Our first boat was a Catalina 27. She was beautiful but as they say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Our first sailboat had a 4HP outboard that was moody. To this day, I cannot tell you what the problem was, I just know that it had a personality of its own.  I would feel the anxiety build up as I drove up to the marina. My personal yacht floating in the slip looked majestic but then I would spot that outboard. 

“Would she start today?”

“Would she start as we made our way back in?”

“What could possibly go wrong?”

My family understood that issues with a boat were part of boat ownership and that the pleasure far outweighed the pain.

We eventually upgraded but even now regardless of what boat we may be sailing, our own personal boat or a charter vessel we are always aware that issues may arise. It’s less stress these days but there will always be a lingering concern. 

We recently asked our members about the stress that they encounter when heading out for a daysail. Their responses are noted down below and they are warranted. What engages your worry reflex when heading out on a daysail?

Leaving the marina or docking

Does This Scene Stress You Out?

An overwhelming number of sailors mentioned docking as their largest concern. It seems about right when you consider the number of obstacles that are present in your immediate surroundings.  

How do you overcome the stress of docking? Practice. Practice. Practice.  Approach the marina and or slip from different angles. Check your speed. An old salt that was docked beside my boat for years would watch as we pulled in. Every single time he would say “Still too fast” no matter how slow I was approaching. He did it with a smile as he was just doing his part to remind anyone that approached to slow down. 

Take a look at Docking Made Easy videos for some tips:

Long commute to the lake/ocean?

Do You Need To Check Your Mirrors Constantly?

21% of responders to the survey found stress in the commute to the water.  Is this an issue for you?

Other boats on the water

Does traffic on the water make you nervous?  You’ll need a lookout.

“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all means available appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”  – Rule 5 from the Navigation Rules (International-Inland) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security United States Coast Guard

More eyes on the water should help alleviate your stress. Do you know the lookout rule?

The weather/wind

15% of our members consider weather/wind as an item of stress when going out for a day sail. If the weather makes you uneasy use apps such as or iNavx or Sailflow.  ASA Members are eligible for a discount on iNavX and Sailflow apps.

Take a look at Peter Isler’s webinar on Weather in the Smartphone Era for info on how to manage weather with technology.

Keeping my passengers safe

7% of responders are concerned with safety. ASA certifications focus on making sailors confident and safe in varying conditions.  Build upon your sailing education by exploring additional ASA certifications. 

Keen to get started?

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