• close family • small boat • big world •

An Imperfect Plan is Better Than No Plan At All

October 25, 2013

by Paula

BEFORE: At the marina in Deale, MD
AFTER: At anchor in Smith Creek
Sometimes things don't go quite according to plan.   And sometimes that's because the plan wasn't quite right to begin with.  But an imperfect plan is better than no plan at all.

When we finally overcame the inertia of everyday life and decided to go cruising as a family, time was short.  It was a tall order to find & purchase the right boat, ready & sell our house, create a homeschooling curriculum, transition our work lives, pack & move most of our belongings to storage, and prepare our boat for voyaging, all in about a year.

Spelled out it seems nothing less than crazy, but we felt confident that we could do anything to make our dream of getting out there happen.  Okay... maybe we couldn't quite do it in the time frame we had envisioned.  But the ability to roll with the circumstances and make the most of our situation has been a great lesson in itself.  And the rewards of finally shoving off was made all the sweeter.

One delay in the timing was the sale of our home.  It was not snapped up quickly, as we had hoped, since the hot DC housing market cooled just as we put it up for sale.  The transition from land to full-time life on Day Star did not

happen until early September.  While it was frustrating to keep our house pristine for two months, we appreciated the additional time for making preparations.  We were disappointed that our time to cruise was diminished, but we cherished the extended opportunities to spend with friends and family and to sail the Chesapeake during the summer.

Our major delay was readying Day Star for cruising.  She is in outstanding condition, but some
Greg makes his way down after success!
modifications have been necessary.  And, it seems, nothing on a boat happens quickly or easily.  Take the changing of a light bulb, mentioned in an earlier post by Nicole.  In a house, that task would take about two minutes.  For us, it took a bit longer... by about a week.  This light bulb was at the top of the mast, so it would take hauling someone up to change it.  We realized that our bosun's chair was too large to accommodate any of us, so we had to create a harness using rope.  We hauled Nicole up the mast, and she easily removed the top cover, only to discover that it was unclear as to how to remove the casing that would reveal the bulb.  Down came Nicole, and up went Greg.  He, too, couldn't budge the casing, so down came Greg.  The next day we took a trip to the marine hardware store to find the same type of fixture and investigate its operation.  A dead end -- our was a discontinued model.  We also decided the harness was too uncomfortable, so we spent some time online researching alternative designs.  Then we took a trip to the store to buy webbing to replace the rope for our new harness.  Then the rain started -- for five days straight.  Call us picky, but we prefer a sunny day for hanging at the top of a 60-foot pole doing electrical work.  Finally, with the arrival of clear skies, Greg went back up.  With the removal of some caulking and a bit of brute force he was able to remove the casing and replace the bulbs.  Meanwhile, a week had managed to slip past.

Thus, our planned one week of pre-travel preparation at the marina in Deale extended to six.  We all had our moments of frustration, but we were determined to make the best of it.  When we finally cast off the lines a week ago we were all thrilled -- maybe in a way that we would not have been with a less extended preparation.  The past week has been fantastic and it feels lie we have been gone for months; life has changed so dramatically.  We missed our planned northern leg, and have set off to make a few stops in the Chesapeake Bay before heading south on the ICW.  It's not our initial plan; it's not a perfect plan. But it's our plan, and we're happily rolling with it.