Working the problem

I set a goal to write everyday.  Yesterday I didn’t have a blog idea, so no writing.  Appropriate perhaps, nothing to say, don’t write.  But that wasn’t really the objective.  I wanted to force myself to write, move the project along, and keep the dream alive.

We can’t rely on inspiration, we have to do the work.  Thanks Steven Pressfield. 

Ergo, work the problem!

This morning I was taking the time to look at the Venn diagram of boats that John Kretschmer likes versus those of John Neal.  Neal’s list is more comprehensive but less passionate than Kretschmer’s.

I realized one thing; I don’t know exactly what makes a good bluewater boat, or more specifically what disqualifies Baffin from going offshore.

More reading about characteristics and less about specific boats, is definitely in order.

Work the problem.

Spirit of Adventure

I attended a talk last evening by a sailor (in his 70s) who sailed with Derek Hatfield and his partner and 5 other paying guests on the Volvo Ocean 60, Spirit of Adventure.  The talk was given at the Oakville Yacht Squadron. Thanks Bill for inviting us!

They sailed for 9 days from Antigua to Nova Scotia in pretty much a straight line, reaching most of the way.

The experience was interesting, particularly the change of pace compared to traditional cruising. Limited amenities below, much bigger sails to content with, no autohelm, and only freeze dried food to eat after a few days.

I like the idea of being out on the ocean and going quickly. As a once in a lifetime it might be interesting to try.

Details about Spirit of Adventure can be found here.

A Plan

I was careful to title this post, “A Plan”, not “The Plan”.   Planning is critical, particularly with big projects. I believe this intellectually, but I do not always follow my own advice.  Even people who do not appear to plan, actually do so in a different way, prioritizing and executing on the fly.

I am finding the process a bit overwhelming and can probably come up with a huge list of things to do.  Beth Leonard’s Voyager’s Handbook might be a good place to start.  We are taking John and Amanda Neal’s cruising seminar in January, and I am sure a plan will present itself before the day is finished.

For us I think there is one primary item that needs to be addressed first. How do I know if sailing and traveling for several years, is actually something I enjoy doing?

My experience is limited to some weekend cruising on Lake Ontario.  I really enjoy that, but there is a big difference between taking a break for few days and actually living aboard for an extended period of time.

What about those multi-week offshore passages where there is no land in sight?  Throw in some adverse weather and is that something that would cause so much anxiety that I would not even be able to think straight.

So for this initial plan, I think a first step is a charter for at least a week in the Caribbean and some extended cruising on the Great Lakes.

One step at a time.


Attack Vector

Usually with any project I need some way of approaching the problem before I can get started. If the approach isn’t clear from the beginning, I tend to avoid working on the project. Even if the first hurdle is vauge or I am unsure of something, I end up delaying. Once I find a way into the problem I am off to the races. But it takes some thinking or organizing or understanding to find my way in.

I call this “working the problem”. Maybe it involves starting and redoing something. Or perhaps it means printing off something and organizing into piles until I see that there really is only a few hard parts and the rest are manageable.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Life is a journey, not a destination.

I probably believe that intellectually, but it doesn’t really help when I can’t figure out what the hell I am doing.

Bijon Voyage is a big, and I mean really big, project. I am going to need a way into the beginning, and into each of the many steps. Just trying to understand what we don’t know is a big project.

To grow as a person, and to get the most out of this adventure, I am going to have to wrestle with problems every day. Taking little steps, daily, is the only way this is going to move forward.

According to Steven Pressfield, in The War of Art,

Fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew
every day.

What’s in a Name?

Trying to come up with a name for a boat can take a while.  Sometimes we just stick with the name that came with the boat.  That is what happened with our current sailboat, Baffin.  I asked the previous owners what it meant and they didn’t know.  The boat was called Baffin  when they bought it and they thought it was bad luck to change the name.

For this adventure I wanted a name that was somewhat unique and also easy to say on the radio.  Not too long, memorable, yet something with meaning.

Because this is a voyage to Japan, I thought a Japanese name might make sense.  We are hoping to be in Japan for 2020, a year that makes me think of 20/20 eyesight.

Aha!  Eyesight, Japan, guess what the Japanese word for vision is? Bijon!