Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On Deadline

The chart table of Galactic yesterday.

It's November 20th here in the Antipodes.  We have one month until the last day of classes at Albuera Street Primary School, which will mark the end of this long season at the dock for Galactic.

Our plan is to set out to Port Davey, the jewel of Tasmania, the day after Elias finishes school.  And after Port Davey we'll be setting off across the Tasman Sea for New Zealand.  So that means that we're on deadline.  All of the improvements that we've planned for Galactic will either have to be done in the next month, or wait until another season.

I've been very gratified to meet sailors who have been at it much longer than we have who nonetheless find themselves in a complete scramble to get ready for each season.  That's certainly the situation that we're in; a very simple bit of extrapolation shows that the pace at which we have been crossing jobs off of our list will be inadequate for finishing them all before Port Davey.

I think this perennial scramble to get ready just speaks to the impossibility of boats.  Especially if you've got a few other demands on your time, like raising a family, and earning a living, and enjoying the places that you sail to, and finding a bit of time to write about it all - keeping up with the the boat in the remaining time becomes too big an ask.  And so one of the tricks of the sailing life is realizing that your boat will never be completely ready, and you'll have to learn to recognize when things are ready enough, and just go sailing.

I think, too, that preparing the boat for a long trip, and then making that trip, draws on two very different sets of characteristics.  Right now, in prep mode, I have to channel my Inner Meticulous Engineer.  Later on, when we're heading out for New Zealand, or Vanuatu after that, I'll have to channel my Inner Wild-Haired Poet, that Bernard Moitessier part of my personality that revels in the vastness, and freedom, of the open ocean.

To successfully sail across oceans, you've got to be mentally ambidextrous, able to draw on each of those sets of characteristics.  The marinas of the world are full of engineering types who never managed to cut the docklines and head out over blue water.  And the waterfront bars of the world are full of poet types who never learned to tie a bowline, or bleed the air out of a fuel line.



  1. so true mike! it makes me wonder if we will cut some lines sometime somewhere somehow...
    cheers from a-low, paul

    1. hmmm... I guess I'd put you in the wild-haired poet category? But as I recall, you had your own personal meticulous engineer to help you get going from San Francisco!