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To Go Or Not

My long term plan to sail off into the sunset when I retire in 9 years is multi-faceted. Having been raised in an offroading family with an emphasis in long distance desert trips I’ve always been a little bit of a “boy scout”, in that we always planned for things to happen in locations where there were no (or limited) means of outside help. On a recent daysail I realized that you can actually over plan. While planning for every eventuality you can lose focus on the overall goal. This made me rethink my philosophy on “to go or not”

Deciding What’s Important

When building an outline for your plan of action you must differentiate between what is a “need” and a “want”. American society is at a high point (up to you to decide if it’s a peak) of ease and comfort. Our over-controlled lives allow for us to focus on our desires and wants, causing us to lose sight of the real requirements to survive. I’ve started to segment my spreadsheets and plans to reflect this new insight. It’s not that I’ve abandoned my original plans, but rather I’ve developed alternative plans to take into account any changes in resources available to me to achieve the original plan.

Series of compromises

One thing I’ve learned since getting into sailing is that all boats are a series of compromises. If you go with a smaller size boat for ease of handling you lose space for storage, a larger boat has many advantages but the costs go up dramatically (both purchase and dramatically), creature comforts make live nice but cost in both initial purchase price and additional support equipment (solar, batteries, etc).  So you start to evaluate each item on your checklist for its value. Is it worth the extra cost, space or work for the benefit you receive.

Risk Taking

Somewhere American society lost its adventurous spirit. When you’re looking to sail offshore there is just a certain level of risk involved. You can counteract that with safety devices, services and plans but it will never go away. You have to realistically evaluate the chance of something happening and compare it to the cost of what it would take to remove that risk.

An example, falling off the boat singlehandeling offshore is a death sentence. So coming up with plans on how to get back on the boat after falling overboard or spending money on man overboard products is pointless. Much better to focus on setting things so you can fall overboard in the first place. Things like running jacklines centerline of your boat with a short tethered harness that won’t allow your body to get to the edge of the boat are much more realistic as risk mitigation.

From the viewpoint of planning, this makes sure that you keep limited resources focused on realistic expectations.   With a long enough timeline, no one gets out alive so it’s important to focus on what you do with the time you have.

To Go Or Not

In conclusion, it’s important as part of the planning to keep your initial reason for doing something like this in focus. For me, it’s more important to explore the world, to see what’s around the next bend in the road. While I would love to do this with high-end underwater photography gear, electronic navigation, full scuba support onboard, etc the important thing is to get out in the world before I’m too old to enjoy. During a recent daysail I had to the eye-opening thought that what I really needed to get where I wanted to go was just more water and food. Realistically there are some items with the boat currently that are important, it’s more important to not lose sight of the end result.


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