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).
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…