Be Bothered

September 5, 2022 in Maintenance, Refit, Updates - 2 Comments

When I was learning to sail my dad pointed out that when bad things happen on a boat, “it’s usually not because one thing went wrong, but because a lot of things went wrong at the same time.” So the name of the game is to mitigate multiple things going wrong at the same time.

This observation resonated with me then and proves true over and over when reading marine incident reports like the Imedi report from the Race to Mackinaw in 2018 and the recent tragedy on s/v Escape discussed in Blue Water Sailing’s article Anatomy of a Tragedy at Sea (and further discussed here at Attainable Adventure Cruising).

This is the underlying principle behind one of the main mantras aboard Felicità — be bothered. I picked this up when reading Amy McCulloch‘s thriller, Breathless,

Be bothered... a reminder to tackle small issues before they become big ones. Another female mountaineer had passed it to her, a pearl of wisdom from one climber to another. It propelled her out from under the heavy blankets and into the cool, dark night.

Felicità comes with a never ending to-do list and requires constant attention. Some days it can be exhausting and, therefore, tempting to let something go or leave it until later. When I catch myself thinking something like, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” when really I know it should be dealt with now, this mantra rattles around in my brain and is usually enough to move me to action.

To some, this might seem obvious. But the reality on the boat is that there are so many things that need attention All. Of. The. Time. It’s a constant exercise in prioritization (which makes my career as a project manager very useful) and unstoppableness.

In truth, some things can be left until tomorrow. And sometimes there’s a good argument for doing so. Things like not having the right parts, being mentally or physically taxed which could lead to mistakes, and legitimately categorizing something as ‘nice to have.’ But, we try to hold ourselves accountable by not letting laziness or apathy trick us into putting things off that should be done now.

How do we decide when to be bothered? These are the factors that tend to get us ‘out from under the blankets.’ We ask ourselves, “By not being bothered now could this situation…”

  • Turn into a safety issue?
  • Become a bigger hassle in terms of effort?
  • Result in an unnecessary and/or big charge on the credit card?

Tim found a second meaning that also works. I’ll hear him utter, “be bothered,” when he is elbow deep in the engine room or digging through a storage locker looking for just the right tool. He finds that if he goes into a project knowing it’s going to bother him, it’s easier to absorb the predictable frustrations.

I’m thinking deeply about this these days because we are 55 days out from casting off our lines. We’ve been working on the boat almost non-stop for a year and, honestly, it’s getting old. We’re looking forward to having more of a balance of the fun parts of this lifestyle with the necessary reality of boat work. Things like making landfall in new places, meeting new friends, experiencing new cultures, making miles under the keel.

We’re in the home stretch now…


Felicità (nee Sea Angel) in the Sea of Cortez with her previous owner. We can’t wait to bring her back to these waters!

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  • Susie September 5, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    I can’t wait to hear the details about the fun parts—people, places, and cultures! It is really getting exciting for this landlubber.

  • Susie, September 6, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Perhaps “be bothered” can help me finish my house!!!

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    Meet Gretchen & Tim

    Meanwhile, over on Instagram

    Oil change day on Felicità. 🔹 The north winds finally calmed down so we have a three day window to change the oil, replace a broken hatch, change out our jib furling running rigging, and top off our provisions (aka, wine supply). 🔹 We’re hoping to head out Monday and get positioned to cross the Sea of Cortez from Muertos right behind the next Norther that blows through. 🔹 #sailing #boatprojects #oilchange #yanmar #liveabaord
    The Universe will take care of you if you let it. 🔹 It most certainly did for me when it put Hillary aboard Felicità for the days leading up to and after losing my dad. 🔹 We laughed, we cried, celebrated each sunset, swam with whale sharks, played guitar and sang beautiful(ish) harmonies, hiked, she kicked our butts in every game we played, we ate beautiful food, and toasted friendship, laughter, and Captain Steve. 🔹 We set our anchor in seven different anchorages and covered 140 nautical miles round trip. We saw whales, rays, sea lions, all kinds of seabirds, and dolphins.🔹 Shipmates don’t get much better and we miss her already. ♥️ #sailing #catalina42 #liveaboard
    Virtual memorial for Steve Buzan on Friday, January 27 at 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT 🔹 Friends and family are invited to attend to celebrate our Dad. 🔹 Zoom link details will be posted on our Facebook pages a few days prior to the service. 🔹 Details will also be in his obituary on the Darrell Howe Mortuary website in Lafayette, CO
    New post on our tracker. ⛵️⛵️ LINK IN BIO ⛵️⛵️ We’re making moves up the Sea of Cortez. 🔹 #sailinglife #sailing #catalina42 #cruisinglife #daughterswhosail
    I’m touched to the very center of my being by all the texts, calls, emails, and posts. 🔹 I feel your love and support and it makes the loss of the first man I ever loved just a little bit more bearable. 🔹Just dropping in to say I’m hanging in there. In large part due to the fact that Tim, my favorite shipmate and Chief Humor Officer aboard Felicità, is here to ply me with jokes and wine. 🔹 He was the last person to sail with dad on the Chesapeake which makes my heart swell. 🔹 And, also on the scene is my ride or die, Hillary, who is not light in the humor department herself. 🔹 My dad LOVED Hillary and she joined us on several sailing adventures. Also, fun fact… the winter after he retired, he was spending six weeks at my house in Evanston, IL and he painted her living room and dining room. Any friend of mine was a daughter of his. 😍 🔹 Another fun fact is that this song was my ringtone for dad. It is crushing to know he’ll never be on the other end of the line again.🔹 But onward we march. Stephanie and I are planning a virtual memorial… details to come. 🔹 Thank you so much for your kind words, shared memories of my dad, and all around love. 🔹 Your light is pouring in… ♥️
    Day is done…
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