When Clint and I purchased our catamaran, we began the proverbial “Five Year Plan.” Wannabe cruisers feverishly prepare to leave land behind and sail over the horizon. Those five years may become six, seven, or maybe even ten but eventually the horizon nears. Sadly, for many, the horizon never comes. Work, family obligations, health and money (or lack thereof) wreak havoc with even the best of plans. Unfortunately that’s life. Then there are the chronic planners who are in year nine of their five year plan, twice over. When speaking to them about how their plans are going you can clearly hear the drum beat “what if, what if, what if.” I can see through every excuse they throw my way. How? I’m a recovering What If-aholic and work hard every single day to stay on course.
Sure it’s a big ocean out there with thousands of things that could go wrong. You’ve taken the time to meticulously prepare your boat for the journey, educated yourself about the sailing grounds you will be cruising and have stocked the boat with as many “gadgets” you think you will need to make your journey safe and enjoyable. But it’s the“what ifs” that keeps you up at night. What if your rudder breaks in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? What if you get hit by a huge wave, or ship or floating debris and begin to take on water or…. The “what ifs” are endless. The only “what if” the persons who just released the dock lines has ever asked themselves is, “What if I don’t do this now? Will I have any regrets.” That is now my new mantra.
This month’s Captain Fatty article really spoke to me when he wrote, “The difference between ordeal and adventure is mostly attitude. Safe offshore sailing isn’t about having nothing go wrong—but about learning how to deal with the unexpected with confidence and élan.” Fatty and his wife Carolyn have many miles under their hull with plenty of unexpected ordeals thrown their way. It’s the confidence in themselves, each other and their vessel that gets them through. But where do newbie sailors go to gain that confidence? Pam Wall has been giving boat show seminars for many years with a particular series specifically for women. Read how women’s courses help them to become more confident sailors.
The U.S. Naval Academy has its own way of instilling confidence in their incoming class. Lynn Fitzgerald shares how Plebe Summer takes the midshipmen through the rigors of calisthenics, shooting firearms, swimming, lectures, and sailing — a much welcome time for these young men and women.
This Fourth of July leave the “What ifs” behind. Live each day with no regrets.