Friday, June 8, 2012

Weak Minds and Big Cowards: How to Properly Implement A Sailing Plan

2012 06 08
Cala Taleuga, miles from Mahon, Menorca

Three boats were planning to head southeast out of Menorca, departing next day just after lunch.  This allowed for development of  a promised change in wind direction.  Planning was a struggle as we could not get wind and waves to align properly and all of us were battle hardened enough not want to put ourselves in harm's way.  Being hardened in battle teaches you to avoid battles more than anything else.
That one boat spoke mainly French did not enhance the depth of discussion but it did nothing to diminish the intensity.

That was Thursday evening.

With the rising of the sun the French boat  dinghied over for coffee and a review of the morning forecast data.  Nothing significant had developed overnight but it did look as though we would find ourselves in three metre waves for a few hours.   We confirmed our decision to leave after lunch.

Before the crew of the other boat departed our cockpit our plans were changed and we agreed it would be better to leave as soon as possible as the wind was up from the north several hours before forecast.  Since waves were still out of the south although declining, this would put us in the “Agitate” cycle of the sea for longer than if we waited but hey the wind forecast was out six hours on the wind so maybe the waves would follow suit.

We dinghied over to the third boat to discuss our latest agreement only to find that they had decided not to put out until next day.  They were Corsica bound and thought the angles were better for them if they delayed.  We bid them adieu and wished them fair winds.  A bit selfish on our parts wishing them fair winds since their winds would be our winds but no matter.  It is the thought that counts.

A half hour passed busily as we readied for a long trip at sea: laying on jacklines, securing the unsecured, taking up the outboard and dinghy.  It is SOP on Meredith that we do not travel with our dinghy out.  It is collapsed, packed and secured on deck.

As I hauled the dinghy out of the water using our spare genoa halyard the boat that wished to leave immediately dinghied over.  They had spoken to the third boat and decided that rather than leave immediately they too would like to wait until tomorrow too.

Now the reason for the last minute change of heart on departures was inspired partly by a nasty cloud formation and attendant winds that positioned itself over us.  I argued that that cloud was a localized phenomenon associated with a passing low pressure cell and that it would move out along with the low.  In my dim reckoning that meant that by noon or a bit after the day should be sunny, clear and winds should be from the North.  Lows can travel quickly in the Med.

The Budget Committee pointed out that it was Friday and any journey commenced on a Friday was sure to come to grief.

That settled it.  Everyone was waiting for Saturday.

Six minds, state of the art weather forecasting and thousands of dollars of radios, computers and modems and our final decision is made based on a centuries old superstition.

All of us seem happy with our decision.

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