Knowing When It’s Time for a Bigger Boat

The author gets a feel for what she hopes will soon be her new boat

“Keep it simple, sailor,” was always our mantra. Aboard our 1985 Niagara 35, Plaintiff’s Rest, my partner, Phillip, and I didn’t have heat, AC, a hot-water heater, generator, watermaker or bow thruster, which meant we also didn’t have to absorb the costs and time required to maintain these kinds of complicated systems. Over the course of seven years, Plaintiff’s Rest’s simplicity also allowed us to learn her every nut, bolt and quirk, until we could fix pretty much any problem ourselves. Sounds perfect, right? Well, we recently sold her and bought a newer, more costly, harder-to-handle and far more complex boat. In short, we ditched our previous simplicity and went for broke. Go on, ask me: Why would we change tacks this way?

The answer: we found ourselves in a header. That old racing wisdom to tack on a header rings as true in life as it does in sailing. Things are always changing. The seasoned sailor must constantly monitor the conditions, consider their impact on her current course and adjust as needed. When you’re sailing upwind and the wind shifts toward your bow—a header—it will force you onto a heading farther away from your ultimate destination. When you come about, you change course to the tack that’s been lifted, so that you are once again on the most direct path to your end goal. Is it guaranteed the new wind direction will hold and your tack will prove to have been the right thing to do in the long run? Never. That’s all part of the fun of pitting your skills and senses against the constantly changing conditions to make them carry you to your end goal. Am I still only talking about sailing here? Or is this starting to sound like something a bit more general?

Read more on Sail Magazine

Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.