Big psychological problems for global adventurer Adrian Flanagan as he heads towards Japan 25/5/06

Global adventurer Adrian Flanagan who set sail from Honolulu on 17 May after a 10-day pitstop to carry out emergency repairs to his mast is living in constant fear commenting: “Every moment I am out here danger is my neighbour and fear is my shadow.”

Flanagan who left Falmouth on 28 October on his 11m stainless steel sloop is nearly seven months into his westabout round the world global voyage but a series of knockdowns, the most serious around Cape Horn, continues to haunt him as he makes his way east across the North Pacific.

Flanagan continued: “I worry constantly of the threats around me – will I collide with a submerged container and hole the hull? Will I stray into a whale breeding ground and excite an attack? Will a storm bring breaking waves and knock the boat down as happened twice while I made my rounding of Cape Horn? Or worse, will the boat roll?”

Pshycologically things seem to be at an all time low for Flanagan who admits he spends every moment of the day worrying even as far as how quick he could launch the liferaft, adding: “Should the worst happen, could I launch the liferafts in time, grab the panic bag, retrieve the emergency beacon and activate it properly? In Honolulu, I bought three sheathed hunting knives, items also overlooked on my final list. One, the bigger of the three is on a belt I wear constantly. One is lashed to the outside of the cockpit cuddy, the third to the forward stanchion of the Granny bars that surround the base of the mast. These blades have a single purpose – to cut the bindings of the inflatable liferaft stowed on deck amidships and the hard dinghy lashed on the foredeck. The knives give me comfort – they will save me seconds.

“Any mariner who does not fear the sea invites disaster. Now there is the additional worry over the rig – can it hold, can it take the sustained pressure of another 12,000 miles? To live with fear is a grinding, exhausting business. I listen constantly to Barrabas, even as I sleep. She speaks and I listen for any new and unfamiliar sound. I heard the tearing of steel when the mast was damaged but I could not find it until its widening extent revealed itself. I feel the movement of the boat – I can sense impending change from myriad signals – the altered rush of water against her sides, her changed attitude, variation in her roll. What I am listening for is danger – has my neighbour come to call.”

Thankfully Flanagan is taking comfort in his hurricane lamp which was included in the consignment sent out to Honolulu, he concluded: “?the lamps cast a soft, buttery glow as night falls over the ocean. The light flickers over the cabin – warm, cozy, homely.”