Tuesday, May 18, 2021

No Ship

A ship arrived yesterday, as scheduled, but it will not be stopping in La Paz. So, from my perspective there is no ship.

I am told that another ship is scheduled to arrive on May 30.

I now have to make a decision. Do I continue waiting here and being taunted by incomplete, incorrect and last minute information regarding ships? Or do I give up and make a new plan?

I have to factor in that hurricane season is drawing near, officially beginning on June 1. My insurance excludes coverage for named tropical storms beginning July 1. One of my personal rules of sailing is, "Don't be in the wrong place at the wrong time." Being afloat in Florida or the Sea of Cortez in June would violate this rule.

My initial reaction is to give up on shipping the boat. I'm reminded of a quote (mistakenly?) attributed to Albert Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." A pattern has been established: I'm told a ship will arrive on a certain date. A few days or less prior to that date, I'm told there is no ship or the date is pushed back. I wait. And the process repeats itself.

I cannot understand why the shipping company does not either have better information to share or won't simply tell me, "Steve, we hope one day to transport your boat to La Paz, but we have no idea when and can only provide three days notice when we do know." I believe that the latter case to be the truth. If I'm right, then I would choose not to go on indefinitely. I would need to figure out how to get Intermezzo to La Paz on its own bottom. Or sell the boat.

I have considered selling the boat, but I'm not ready to do that right now, so I'm tabling that option.

So, what's involved with sailing Intermezzo to La Paz?

Here's a summary:

  1. Re-commission, fuel and provision the boat for ocean sailing.
  2. Sail north out of the insurance company's Tropical Storm Zone to a good hurricane hole.
  3. De-commission the boat, haul out and lay-up on the hard for hurricane season.
  4. Re-commission and launch the boat after hurricane season (November).
  5. Muster crew, fuel and provision the boat for ocean sailing.
  6. Sail to Panama.
  7. Leave the boat in Panama to wait for the Pacific's prevailing northerlies and Tehuantapeckers to subside (March).
  8. Muster crew, fuel and provision the boat for ocean sailing.
  9. Wait and pay for a Panama Canal transit.
  10. Sail to La Paz.
  11. De-commission, haul out and lay-up on the hard for hurricane season.

So, basically a year's worth of logistics and sailing, plus inevitable gear failure, repairs and wear-and-tear.

The decision I need to make now is to wait another two to four weeks for a ship to possibly materialize or to cut and run, committing to a year's "work" getting Intermezzo to La Paz.

I did a back of the napkin economic analysis of the two options, taking into account all the costs I could identify, travel costs to and from the boat, the cost of a month's dockage while waiting for the ship or the costs of wear-and-tear from sailing to La Paz. I also included a 20% contingency factor for difficulties and uncertainties associated with the sailing option.

It turns out that the total estimated cost for each alternative is roughly the same. However, since sailing back to La Paz is not how I would choose to spend a year of my time, I need to include the opportunity cost of that option. Even a low-ball estimate of that opportunity cost easily makes waiting longer for the ship (that may never materialize) the better choice.

So that's what I have decided to do. I will wait up to another 30 days, docking Intermezzo so that I can take a break from the boat. If the ship materializes, great. If it doesn't, I head north to find a hurricane hole and prepare myself to set sail for La Paz in November.

I hope I am avoiding the definition of insanity.