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Fighting Fears

Make the unknown known

by Nancy Erley

Back to Fears

Why talk about fear?

Because unnecessary fear holds us back from life's full pallet of possibilities.

Yet properly placed fear is a good thing.

It prompts us to prepare carefully and gives the adrenalin boost of temporary survival power in the face of danger.

So how to sort out valid fear from misplaced fear?

It is not easy when one looks into the unknown. After all, the unknown is just that not known.

Let's make it known. Knowledge and learning is an avenue to oust unnecessary fear before actually forging into the unknown.

Make it known. Knowledge builds confidence and gives a framework to sort valid perceptions from invalid.

Before my first ocean passage I didn't know what to and what not to be afraid of.

So I read all the books, especially the survival books. I listened to people who sailed across oceans. I learned everything I could about what it would be like and used that knowledge to make the boat safe. I rigged the boat strong enough to sail around Cape Horn although I planned to sail around the equator. I learned about the weather and electronics.

As the unknown became known I still was fearful of big waves and things breaking on the boat. These fears did not keep me from embarking on my adventure of a lifetime. Things did break onboard, and there were big waves on the first passage which was a rough one from Victoria BC to Hawaii.

My fears were valid, the things I feared happened.

But more importantly, I coped. As the adventure began, and as I lived it, I found myself on a remarkable inner journey of self trust .


Nancy Erley, Captain of Two World Circumnavigations

Nancy Erley led two voyages from Seattle around the world aboard her Orca 38 sailboat, Tethys.

As the skipper of an all-woman crew, Nancy fashioned a circumnavigation that should go down in the record books as one of the soundest, most seamanlike journeys in the modern cruising era. Like all competent voyages, Tethys circumnavigation was notable for its lack of disasters.”
— George Day, publisher Blue Water Sailing magazine.

In 2006 Nancy was presented with the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award sponsored by BoatUS and the National Women’s Sailing Association. The award honors a male or female who has built a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.

Nancy holds her USCG 50-ton Master of Oceans and 100-ton Master Near Coastal licenses, is an Instructor Evaluator-Ocean for the International Sail and Power Association, a ham radio operator KI7DP, and an advanced scuba diver and delivery skipper.

A life-long boater and instructor, Nancy brings a profound wealth of knowledge to the Bay Area and is a new member of the Farallone Yacht Sales team, the California dealers for Catalina Yachts, Tartan Yachts and Ranger trailerable Tugs.