While staying at the house of my sailing friend, Dorie, I picked up a two year old copy of one of her professional journals. A picture of a handsome bearded man caught my attention. Apparently he was a journalist turned screenwriter. His name is Mark Boal and like me he asked himself a rhetorical question, “Am I confident?”
Unlike Mark’s answer to this question, which was ‘no,’ I am at least somewhat confident. Mark asked himself this question during an interview with Vanessa M. Gerari for a Fall/Winter 2016 article in the Columbia Journalism Review. Mark explained his position in these words. “You hit your thirties and you go fuck it. It’s now or never.”
Considering that I am 70, I had to laugh at his youthful spirit. If an interviewer asks me if I am confident about continuing my quest to sail alone to faraway places, my honest answer is ‘well sort of.’ My confidence is a mixture of yes and no. I am certain I can afford to purchase a seaworthy sailboat. I am certain I can leave my house for a few years. I am certain I can sail.
Sailing and seamanship are different. I can make a boat go upwind, trim for speed, tack, jibe and drop an anchor. Seasmanship requires much more than that. Am I smart enough to predict counter currents, weather and foreign aids to navigation? Sure, I safely entered and exited harbors alone while I transitted the Bahamas, Turks and Dominican Republic. My GPS was dependable. What if it breaks and I have to rely strictly on visual navigation? Just writing about my seamanship insecurities is causing stress.
Pardon me while I take 5 deep breaths.
In through my mouth, hold a second or two, exhale slowly.
Again and again then two more iterations.
Wow, now in a more relaxed state I remember what John Marples, designer of my previously owned trimaran advised. Unhesitatingly he said, “Buy 2 or 3 portable hand held GPS units for back up.” Sounds like a simple solution (as long as the batteries stay charged).
Speculation about the myriad of wrongful possibilities leads to prevention planning. What better place to plan than here inside my 24-foot land yacht, outfitted by my beloved Ronald O, which his family generously left for me. So it is that my indomitable spirit proclaims it is now or never.
(PS, that is BEAR in the picture. He is my land yacht companion gifted to me from Colorado friend, Norine. He certainly looks better than a selfie of me at this hour of the morning).