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Some lessons learnt

Posted by on September 22, 2011

I have been thinking today of the lessons learnt from our trip, and thought I should write them down. Where better than the blog?

Lesson 1. Keep it fun.
Obvious if you have kids, but just as important for us grown-up’s too. If it isn’t fun, or if you can’t look back on the trip and find something fun about it, then cruising is going to get old pretty quickly. Making light of tough situations, while acknowledging that they are tough is not cheating, and neither is congratulating yourself on minor achievements. It all helps to keep it fun. Liss took it upon herself to keep everyone’s spirits up when things were getting bit tense during the rounding of Cape Pillar, and I appreciated it; it kept it fun.

We set limits; we decided that we wouldn’t go out if the swell and sea were going to be over 3 meters… not because we couldn’t handle it, and certainly ERIK could, but because its no fun sailing in those conditions and managing kids at the same time… you have to keep it fun.

Lesson 2. Put stuff away.
Two rough legs, the one to Port Arthur and the other from Port Arthur, had stuff falling down or rolling around below. It’s too late to do something about it in the middle of the lurching, so do it right before you depart. My seriously solid torch made a seriously decent dent in the woodwork when it launched itself from its spot up above the chart table. the sugar jar lost its lid. some bits and pieces forgotten about on top of the instrument box went to roll around on the floor. Finding ways to put stuff away so that they can still be grabbed in hurry with ease will be a challenge, but it needs to be done.

Lesson 3. Have everything you need to fix anything onboard, on the boat and usable.
We’ll be leaving the boat for three or four weeks to her own devices while we stay at my Dad’s place and fly to Victoria later this month. That’s pretty much the longest time we have left her since moving aboard 5 years ago. To make sure she’ll be okay, I decided to finally fit that float switch for the bilge pump so I could leave it on automatic for the duration. My Dad came out to help me and bemoaned that fact that we could have achieved the result much quicker if he’d bought a cordless drill. We could have used a decent work light in the bilge too. But, and this is a biggie for me, we did the job with everything on board. The butane powered soldering iron, BBQ lighter for the heat shirk, two speed hand-drill to drive the fasteners; these all could have been replaced with power tools. Yes, the job would have been quicker, but there’s no 240v power out on the mooring. You really need to be able to fix everything yourself and have the tools on hand to do it.

Lesson 4. Don’t schedule. No, I mean it, really, don’t do it.
We had a thing Liss had organized 8 months ago. She was keen to be in Dunalley before the weekend so that we could either attend or reasonably sort things out if we couldn’t. I didn’t mind the early start from Fortescue, and although the tide would have been later the following day, the weather forecast wasn’t that good. Without the need to be back I think we would have enjoyed Canoe Bay for another 3 or 4 days; we had food and water and the anchorage was delightful. But we decided to push on… and while it all worked out okay, we shouldn’t have let ourselves be pushed by a schedule. If you want to be somewhere on time, take a plane.

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