Sunday, September 6, 2015

This Is No Vacation

The month of August was one of the busiest month's of my life. I'm amazed by the diversity of tasks that need to be completed to set off on a voyage like ours. I've blogged about the boat projects and mentioned Renee's equally arduous house projects, but those are just the main events. Orbiting around them are all the satellite tasks, like figuring out health insurance that works overseas and is Obamacare compliant to avoid penalties, getting boat insurance that allows us to visit countries not favorable to some underwriters, purchasing all the spare parts and miscellaneous gear to be properly equipped for the trip, picking the right communications gear and setting it up, making sure we have complete charts and cruising guides for where we're sailing, arranging for mail forwarding, deciding what to store and what to get rid of from home...and more, on top of "normal" life activities.'s definitely not a vacation.

I don't thinks this trip is going to feel like a vacation very often. With only two of us, when we're sailing we'll be highly engaged with keeping the boat safely heading in the right direction without crashing into something, with only snippets of sleep between watches. I expect we'll have a pretty long list of loose ends to tie up and projects that we still want to get done on the boat to keep us busy when we're at anchor. Plus, we will either be doing preventative maintenance so that stuff doesn't break or be fixing the stuff that does. I have heard some people define cruising as "fixing your boat in exotic places".

So, if it's not a vacation, why are we doing this? Well, primarily because it is an adventure. It's stepping out into unknown territory (for us) where we need to be totally self-reliant, a physical, mental and emotional challenge. It's a learning experience, in many different ways, at many different levels. It's a bonding experience (or perhaps the opposite?) for our relationship.

So far, despite the hard work and stress, I'm finding the experience to be a relief from the boredom of the routine, a healthier, less sedentary lifestyle, and a welcome re-emegence into my love for designing things and the process of turning ideas into useful things. Yep, I'm a engineer geek tweaker at heart (among other things.)

One of my sailing heroes is Webb Chiles. He writes, "People who know of me at all probably do so as a sailor; but I have always thought of myself as an artist, and I believe that the artist’s defining responsibility is to go to the edge of human experience and send back reports." Compared to what Webb has done, sailing-wise, Renee and I are taking a pleasant cruise on a luxury yacht. But for us, it will often be going to the edge of our human experience and so maybe this trip we're taking is a form of artistic expression, at least for me. Regardless, it definitely doesn't feel like a vacation now and I'm pretty sure it will only feel like one in the future on rare occasions.

A few side points: Good progress on the watermaker. It's not piped, wired or tested yet, but I'm happy with how it fits and looks in the starboard bow. Check out my custom made bracket for the gages.  Somehow I drank the case of Lagunitas IPA I had on the boat last month. Time to replenish, but in the interest of maintain my recently arrived at healthy low weight, I'm buying replacements in the tiny bottle size.