Where are you going? When will you be ready? When are you leaving? These questions may be the typical sailors’ interaction when they meet. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a boatyard or on the docks, it always sounds that every boat is going to leave sometimes, without a doubt, it’s just a matter of time.
This morning, a light breeze is making ripples on the St John river as I just witnessed a 45 footer slipping back into the brackish liquid. I wouldn’t even mention it if I hadn’t heard this story…
This fiberglass vessel spent the last 12 months in storage in stupidly hot and humid Florida. The guys had 4 days to clean and get the boat ready to be launched. Once in the water, they barely had time to tighten the rigging and secure the wind generator when the captain motored out for a 20NM journey. That sounds like an interesting start to their trip back to Europe.
I, personally like to spend 48 hours at the dock before going anywhere. A time I use to make sure everything is working, there is no leak, I can change the oil and filters, put the sails up, try the windlass… and make sure my crew is well rested, ready to go.
On another hand, have you ever come across those people who always have something else to do before they can leave? Take another course, upgrade this piece of electronic or change the color of the settee… Funnily enough, some of us will never be ready to leave and some will leave without being ready. So, how do you know you are ready and it’s time to go?
If we think it through the Cartesian way, there are about that many things one need to do before the vessel can safely leave. Whether you are off from the travel lift to your slip, for a day sail, or to cross the oceans, there are things that need to be done prior to starting the engine. Starting with a common base, the list lengthens depending on the journey planned. Once all the boxes are ticked, you know your boat is ready.
Now that the vessel is ready, what about the captain and crew? You could have the newest equipment, a boat in pristine condition, have filled up with water, fuel, and food, checked the tide and forecast but still not feel ready so what is it? Yup, it’s a question of feeling, the self-confidence factor. It’s all about your mindset “Do I trust myself enough to go?”
It is up to you and no one else. Remember: “you can hold somebody’s hand but you can’t walk for them”. So why wouldn’t you go? You did all the hard work, got all the way here and now it’s time to enjoy the experience, let go of the lines and sail away. Who knows how good it can feel to take that step? Leave once, twice, and that is Experience. Bottom line, it is time to practice and it will just come easier with time. Your preparation ensures your security now build up confidence. Have a growing faith in yourself.
A little stress remains, I guess just as a dancer taking the stage or a musician cracking the silence. Deep down you know you did everything in your power to create an enjoyable experience and therefore, you and your boat are ready to go. Show genuine confidence and the rest of the crew will feel safe and enjoy the ride.
Feel the magic.