What Marks the Starting Line?

March 26, 2022 in Sailing yarns - No Comments

If you follow us on Instagram (@gntsailing), you know that our lease in San Diego ended and we’ve officially moved our home base to our house in Wisconsin. Tim was here helping get things settled, but had to return to California/the West as he’s still working through September (please note that he practically skipped into the airport when I dropped him off — California living has made him soft). He’s now on the road for work most of the time and is couch surfing and staying aboard Felicità when he’s in San Diego.

Meanwhile, I’ve stayed in Wisconsin in order to become an official resident and to take a moment to sit still after three intense months managing the refit, packing the house, and moving across the country (all while running a business). It’s been three weeks since we pulled into our Northwoods driveway and I feel like I’m finally coming up for air.

This transition to Wisconsin marks a big moment in the evolution of this sailing lifestyle project of ours. But, is it the beginning? Or is the beginning when I return to San Diego and officially move aboard? Or, is it when we shove off for Mexico? Or was it the day we bought the boat? Or the day we got married? Or the day I declared that I wanted to do this 18 years ago? Or making my first passage and discovering that there is no place better than being offshore? Or the day Tim made his first passage and said yes to this lifestyle? Or the day we started the refit? Or finished it? It’s not clear.

I’ve been a project manager long enough to understand that “go live” is not the start of a project. A project starts when you kick it off. In this GnT Sailing project, I think “go live” is the day we slip the mooring ball in San Diego and head for Mexico. But when was our kickoff?

I suppose, our kickoff was the day in February 2021 when we declared that we were leaving for Mexico in the Fall of 2022. At that point, we established our milestones. Like in any good status report, I’ll share what we’ve accomplished:

  • Create list of must have refit projects
  • Establish refit budget and project plan
  • Create refit project plan and hire trades
  • Inform Tim’s company that he is retiring (gulp)
  • Create plan for Gretchen’s role change in her company
  • Declare to management company that we are not renewing our lease (gulp)
  • Downsize our stuff
  • Pack and move to Wisconsin

And in the spirit of a solid status report, here are the milestones still to come:

  • Tim wrap up 29 years as an electrical engineer/sales engineer (now-September)
  • Gretchen return to Felicità to officially move aboard (June 16)
  • San Diego shakedown sailing (July)
  • Rhodes 19 Nationals (August)
  • Channel Islands shakedown sailing (September)
  • Tim retire (September 30)
  • Final prep (October)
  • Shove off as part of the Baja Haha rally (October 31)

It’s not long now, which feels surreal and, frankly, a little vulnerable. In my project management life, I’ve always been struck by how hard it can be to get from 80% done to 100% done on a project. It’s at this point in a project when money is running out, all the stakeholders and onlookers are suddenly very interested, those tasks that got “kicked down the road” are getting to the point where there is no more road and no more kicking, and it’s time to deliver. The pressure feels greater and the stakes feel higher than they did at the beginning.

And the wild thing about this project is that this is all self inflicted. I think it’s the absolute “personal-ness” of this project that makes it feel so vulnerable because the reality is that it’s really only us that can stand in our way at this point. I always talk to my teams about being unstoppable and I’m drawing on that concept for myself now. It’s 218 days until go live, people. Let’s go!

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Meet Gretchen & Tim

Meanwhile, over on Instagram

Felicità and Salt Whistle arrived in Mazatlan in time for high tide and we’re safely and happily tied together at the dock. 🔹 Docking is not a favorite activity, especially when you have to drive through a narrow channel famous for being really shallow. 🔹 But this sweet little bird came and sat on the lifeline right as we made our approach to the channel and I like to think that was Captain Steve coming to tell me to relax. 🔹 He died four weeks ago today which makes me really sad. I wish I could call and tell him all about the awesome crossing we just did. 🔹#sailing #catalina42 #sailingcouple #mazatlan
It’s been a magnificent day of sailing. All the hard work we did to get the boat dialed in was for days like today. 🔹 And as if it could get any better… a simultaneous sunset off the stern and moonrise off the bow. #daysyoulivefor #catalina42 #sailing #seaofcortez #sunset #moonrise
All is well aboard the good ship Felicità. We’ve dialed back a bit to try to time our arrival to be at high tide tomorrow morning. 🔹And I’m going to work on making an early dinner. But first, some rest for me!
We’re having a great crossing to Mazatlan. Heavy winds this morning for about five hours, but we knew it was coming and had two reefs in the main and switched to the staysail with two reefs once the winds hit a sustained 24 with gusts to 29. 🔹 We’re crossing with our buddy boat, Salt Whistle, pictured here just moments ago. 🔹 We’re 60 miles from land and Starlink seems to be working like a champ. 🔹 We technically could switch to our Genoa as winds have dropped to 14. But, Tim is resting and I don’t want to get him up with the ruckus a sail change will cause. 🔹 Plus, we went so fast this morning, we’re about two hours ahead of schedule right now. So, for now we’ll poke along. 🔹 #sailing #catalina42 #catalina34 #sailingcouple
Tilly, our beloved @hydrovane , is back in service for our 30 hour sail across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. 🔹 It’s been a minute since she’s been out of the garage. I think Felicità perked up when Tilly arrived on the scene today. 🔹 We had an amazing sail today and anticipate that this next leg will also be a good one. #sailingseaofcortez #seaofcortez #sailing #catalina42 #sailingcouple #hydrovane
Headsail poled out, preventers on. Making the 45 mile run down to Cabo Frailes today. 🔹 If you read our tracker (link in bio), you know we were anchored in a rolly anchorage. Happy to report last night was calmer. We got some sleep.🔹 Life is good. 🤙 #sailing #catalina42 #sailingcouple
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