Jun 142014
 

For a while now I’ve been trying to convert a planned overnight cruise into reality. Three weeks have slipped by, circumstance dictating changes to the plan. It’s not that I haven’t visited the yacht over the last three weeks, it’s just that time has not allowed for an overnighter.

Roll on this weekend, time for the planned cruise.

As is usual, I’ve been trawling WindFinder and WindGuru to forecast the best spot to anchor. They both agree. We’re in for robust W’ly to SW’ly winds this weekend as a minor front sweeps through from down south.

_forecast

The forecast doesn’t look too bad for an overnight anchorage, but chances are we’ll get more than the predicted 6-10kts overnight. That calls for an anchorage well protected from the W through to the SW. Bunny Brook looks like the best option and I’ll be putting down 2 anchors tonight!

There’s always a part of me, a part of every human I guess, that looks at the 25kt+ forecast and thinks “Let’s give this weekend a miss, that looks like cold, hard work”. Sitting here in my cosy, under-floor heated kitchen that won’t drag the anchor tonight, that won’t battle the rising frontal winds as they sweep through, I’m battling a mental block that says “Call it off, it’ll be a struggle”.

Can I handle the conditions? Yes, I think so. Can the boat? No question. Yes, it’s a little harder in restricted waters than out in the wide-open ocean. If things get out of hand, you can’t just drop sail, bang closed the hatch and sleep it out. You need to be on your toes, deal with the issues, get out of the rocky shallows. Yes, I am concerned about my anchoring [still] with this Miura. I haven’t had much joy to date. So, this will be an active sailing weekend for sure.

Thing is, if I can’t get over this mental hurdle, if I can’t deal with the wind, the anchor, the sailing on the Vaal, then I’m wasting my time with the dream. If I give up on this weekend for the fear of some hardship, then I should certainly just sell up now, cash out of yachting and not waste any further time, money and effort on moving OB back ‘home’ to Simon’s Town.

I’m fond of telling people “There’s no such thing as bad weather, it’s only bad clothing”. Now’s the weekend to prove myself a doer rather than a dreamer. The yacht is prepared and able, the cold-weather clothing is there. It’s just the skipper that needs to step up.

_BunnyBrook I think, for this time of the year, with this front, we’ll have some wind during the night. Forecast says 6, gusting 10, but that could easily be a couple of points higher. Bunnybrook has always been a good anchorage and with the forecast looks to be secure for an overnighter. Plan tonight is to set the CQR in about 5-6m with plenty of dragging room to the east. Then, I’ll be taking the dusty Danforth out of storage and rowing that out slightly SW of the main anchor. If that doesn’t hold us overnight then it may really be time to cash in the sailing chips?

By now I guess you would have concluded [and rightly so] that it’s not so much the boat handling, the larger-than-normal winds, the sailing, that has me in this mental place. It’ the nagging uncertainty that I’ve forgotten how to anchor, to stay put overnight. All I know for sure is, the all-chain, CQR route has not worked for this boat since I came into her life. Tonight it’s “try something else” or why would you expect anything different?

Lest I fill myself with regret, I’m packing up and heading out. Hope I get back to give an update here.

—ooOOoo—

The awesomeness that was sailing this weekend defies description. Beautiful and steady 18-20kt breezes on Saturday dealt up a 16nm sail around the island, finishing up in Bunnybrook at around 16h00

OB Sailing 15-20kt

The boat performed flawlessly, averaging 5kt and topping out at 7, all with a reef in the main and the corresponding rolls in the genny. Speechless.

But, no weekend on the water is without it’s challenges. Only this time, they came from very unexpected quarters. Besides the usual cuts and abrasions that seem to appear on the sailors fingers and hands without explanation, two incidents from unexpected quarters …..

As we were rounding the north of the Island, close-hauled, a big puff had the autohelm working hard to correct. Suddenly, bam, the attachment to the tiller sheared off. Nothing but hand-steering from this point on.

Second incident occured the next morning as we were weighing anchor for the return voyage. As promised, I’d set two anchors but still had a restless night, up every two hours to check on position and weather. Up just before dawn, the morning cuppa down, I hoisted the main and then hauled in the CQR and 30m of chain. Then I discovered my error, the boat now sailing downwind, snagged on the Danforth trailing somewhere astern. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the boat turned head to wind and so, in a last ditch attempt to avoid disaster, I quickly transferred the rode to the stern and winched the boat back to the anchor using the cockpit winches.

This time the wind was light enough to let me get away with it!

Note to self: When next setting 2 anchors, haul the first in before setting the main.

Second note to self: get over this ‘use the CQR’ thing. The Danforth is the way to go!

—ooOOoo—

There are a lot of life-lessons to be learned from sailing. All the planning and goal-setting for the future, all the concern [worry] about what might go wrong often has us hesitant to strike out on the path. That’s a big mistake. The rewards of the journey are fantastic and the problems that crop up are never the one’s you’ve prepared for or have concerned yourself about. The challenges always crop up from the least expected quarters. No. Live your life in confidence, live it with enough buffer and capacity to deal with the issues that will crop up, but never not live it !!

100_1656_2

Mar 092014
 

No matter how well it sometimes seems to go, there’s always the odd beating awaiting us. Looking back at the 2007/2008 fiasco it’s evident that that beating was quite severe. Yet somehow, we seem to have survived. I think the more you are aligned and invested in society’s ‘normal’, the more severe the beating at times. End 2008 / beginning 2009 was a killer, especially if you were at the stage of wanting to retire and step off permanently. You would have suddenly found 25% of your perceived wealth missing. Hard to stomach!

The financial HICCUP.

The financial HICCUP.

We didn’t suffer as badly as some. We sold off most of the units for something [can’t remember what !?] just prior to 2007 and so didn’t have too much invested here by the time end 2008 rolled in. This obviously affected more than just this fund. All policies, pensions, RA’s etc – anything with an underlying stock market investment, would have fared little better.

2011 was also a dismal year for growth. It showed in the salary increases [or lack thereof] over the period 2009 to 2011 as well. Since then though things seem to be back on track.

I’m not one to monitor this kind of thing though. This is really the first time I’m doing a deep dive into this. I guess with the dream of 2024 now a looming distinct possibility the financial side of things, certainly understanding the underlying value at least, has taken on new importance. The interest in daily stock-watching is still not there. That’s not me and never will be. But to understand what there is currently and to understand the probability of if and how it will grow to an amount capable of supporting life without full-time work, that is vital study at present.

I can’t say that we are where we are today because of any personal market savvy or investment prowess. We’re probably where we are because of who we are and what we do: hard consistent work, continual focus on trying to be frugal and reduce the conversion of temptation into spending [not been too successful in this area wrt cars though]. We make up for lack of cash with back-breaking hard work. That and a little bit of luck keeps us moving in the right direction I think.

It’s worked so far so we’ll keep plugging away with the full focus on:

  • Maximise current earnings
  • Minimise current spending
  • Kill the debt down to more comfortable personal levels before
  • Increasing the savings spend

And while this is happening, live a little as well. Tomorrow may not be a rosy as today !

Feb 272014
 

It’s politically correct for corporates to encourage the sheep to document and file development plans. Designed by some back-office HR dweeb, they supposedly show you that the company is interested in you and your growth.

The standard question, both in interviews and annual reviews – “Where do you see yourself in the short to medium term?” And of course the answer, in general, is just what they want to hear, something like “I want to be the boss” or “I want to be a better sheep“. It then gets filed away in the dusty, digital archives only to be pulled out a year later and used as a measure of whether you progressed during the year or not.

At my most recent interview my half-truthful answer to the question was: “I don’t know. I just want to do my current role well“. It’s half true because I know exactly what my medium term goals are. It’s just that I don’t think they want to know.

The Goal!

While there is still life in the present:

Maximise my income,

Minimise my stress,

Live a little more,

With the ultimate goal of:

Cashing in my chips age 55 [2024 AD], living by the beach, cruising my sailboat in the bay and working a flexible 20-30hr week.

Will it be easy? No! Will it be certain? No! Will it be worthwhile? Definitely. I don’t exactly know how but I am resolved and if there is one characteristic of mine that will see this through to fruition it’s that of “I do what I say!” And so I’m putting this out there. Firstly to cement the dream in my mind and secondly to tell the world “this is how it shall be“.

No one has ever accused me of being P.C. and I’m not about to start now. So in answer to the question “What are your career goals?” I say “Roll on 2024!”

Oct 272013
 

Simple. Taking action!

Not so simple – Knowing exactly what SUCCESS means for you as an individual!

Success – the ability to take continuous small action, enduring short term pain now, for an unpredictable outcome in the future. If you want absolute clarity on the future goal and refuse to start until you do, then you will never achieve anything. Most times you have to accept the grey, know the general direction you want to go and then start walking.

And often times, the grey and fuzzy goal is far into the future. So far sometimes that it’s tempting to give up the long term and settle for the short term. The single most important destroyer of success – Immediate Gratification.

Aug 102013
 

Dreaming and planning definitely have their place in life.

But, if that’s all you ever do, then you’ll never achieve anything but …well, dreaming and planning.

That’s why it’s important to get off the couch and do. Anything, no matter how small, in the direction of your dreams, repeated enough times is what actually makes the dream materialise.

To break bad habits is a little harder. Here you don’t need to take small actions, you actually need to stop taking them and that’s actually harder to do than get off the couch. Best way I guess is to replace them with something else more positive and do that instead ?