Read editor Theo Stocker's introduction to the November 2020 issue of Yachting Monthly, out October 8

Fatalism, fear or focus. The current global pandemic continues to provide ample opportunity for parallels to sailing.

Perhaps our pastime requires more than most hobbies by way of enduring discomfort and overcoming both physical and mental challenges.

We have a choice about how we respond to these maritime afflictions.

The fatalist

The fatalist, and we’ve all sailed with one, acknowledges how little control they have over Mother Nature and how insignificant they are on the face of the ocean.

‘If I am sunk in a storm or fall overboard, then at least I’ll have gone doing what I love.’

They shun the strictures of safety impedimenta in order to fully embrace their fate.

The fearful

The fearful – we’ve all been there – watch anxiously as the wind speed climbs and the waves build and a knot of adrenaline, sea-sickness and foreboding rises in our stomachs while we wish we were anywhere but on a boat.

The focused

Then there are the focused, those whom we flatter ourselves that we may emulate.

They know that they are at the mercy of the storm.

They know, too, that instinct will tell them to be afraid.

But they also know that they are prepared, their boat is well-found, they have strategies for when to reef, and how to cope with setbacks.

Being able to think rationally and calmly when the environment around us is anything but is the hallmark of a great sailor, and this equips us to cope with the vicissitudes of life ashore, too.

Continues below…

Fortunately, Dag Pike is here in this month’s issue to explain how to predict, spot and prepare for strong winds.

Knowing which are going to be short-lived gusts for which we can just sheet out a bit, and which are going to be serious squalls requiring a proper battening down of hatches, is all important.

In the meantime, we can rest assured that however big the storm and however sustained, the current ‘blustery conditions’ won’t last forever.