shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Perfection Never Goes Sailing

February 17, 2014

I once had a critic reprimand us for sailing so simply, saying that it was pure laziness that made us not have a typical marine head, refrigerator, command center in the cockpit, and other non-sailing nonsense. The truth is, we are lazy if lazy means not wanting to have to do unnecessary work in order to enjoy life. If you enjoy working on your boat more than you enjoy sailing, that's certainly your prerogative, but you might want to stop reading right here, because I may just offend you, too.

Last week we met up with a broker friend whom we hadn't seen in a while. While we were catching up with the how-ya-been's, he told us a story that prompted this post. He recently sold a 30-year-old boat to a relatively competent sailor. At some point in his early ownership of this new/old boat, the sailor mentioned what he had bought to a friend of his who is a naval architect. Not a sailor, not a boat owner, not an adventurer. This ultra-conservative architect informed him that the fasteners used in the hull to deck joint are only rated to last 10 years, therefore, they needed replaced before he took his boat cruising. Before I get a bunch of horseshit for contradicting a naval architect, let me start by saying, maybe he's right. Maybe these fasteners are "rated" for 10 years, whatever that means. If so, then 90% of the boats out there exploring right now should have their hull to deck joint fail at any moment. Now, rather than slopping a coat of bottom paint on that baby and taking her out sailing, this poor man is going to invest countless freedom chips and waste his limited time on this earth, tearing his boat apart to replace fasteners.

We do the work that is necessary to keep Eurisko safe.

Maybe this is a worthy project; maybe if he doesn't replace all these fasteners the boat will truly fall in half in big seas. But I think I'd get a second opinion, take a look at a fastener in an easy to get to place, add some "back up" to make it easier to sleep at night, anything rather than put off pursuing a dream because one naval architect would rather you work on your boat than go sailing.

This is by no means the first such silly example we have seen. When we first bought Eurisko there was a couple at the marina where we kept our little boat who was "going cruising." We were so jealous, knowing it would be a year or so before we would be ready, sure they would beat us. Then we realized, it took him almost 2 years to install a toilet, trying to get it perfect. That's the first time we realized, perfection never goes sailing. The only "cruising" they have done in the past 13 years is hire a captain to take the boat to FL to park at their new condo.

No lazy person would ever fiberglass shut thru-hulls in order to have fewer holes in the boat.

We have a friend who was getting a boat ready to go cruising. He decided to paint the hull and make her bright and shiny. A great idea: you love your boat, you're proud of your boat, you want people to admire your boat, too. We've been known to put a pretty coat of Awl-grip on Eurisko's hull now and then, too. But what you have to remember, is that it's never the last coat, so it doesn't have to be perfect. This would-be sailor (if he ever quit working on the boat) put COUNTLESS coats of Awl-grip on the hull. The boat was beautiful, but it has never left the marina. It is now for sale and he has purchased another boat. Maybe the first one was too close to being finished and he thought he may have to actually go sailing soon.

Then there was our lucky neighbor in Grenada whose wife and several young children flew back home for a visit, leaving him alone with his sailing dream for a few weeks. Dave was so envious, pointing out all the places he'd love to go hang out for a while but with the kids you have to keep them entertained, so seclusion isn't always an option. Our neighbor gave Dave a puzzled look and said, "No, I'm not going sailing. I'm varnishing the cabin sole. I think if I keep on schedule I can have 12 coats on before they get back." Hmmm, varnish the cabin sole so a bunch of kids can destroy it when they get back, or leave it a little less than perfect and go sailing?

But this is where she shines, even if the paint is faded.

Every time I hear one of these stories I think of my grandmother. Dozens of her paintings are scattered among family members, but few of them are signed. As a young girl I used to ask her why she didn't sign any of her paintings.
"They're not done yet."
"They look done to me."
"Yes, but they're not perfect."

Paintings waiting to be perfect never get signed and boats waiting for perfection never go sailing. This isn't the last coat of varnish you'll put on the rail. (Why are you varnishing your rail anyway? It'd be just as pretty, last just as long, and be much more functional natural.) It isn't the last coat of paint you'll put on the hull. You are going to work on your boat no matter where you are, just to keep it afloat, making it pretty is sort of a bonus. So don't wait until your boat is "finished." You'll never get to sign it and if you wait for perfection, you'll never get to go sailing. Personally, I don't want to die with the prettiest boat in the marina but with no sailing memories. But then again, maybe I'm just lazy.

MONDAY we'll share some a tip on a headsail adjustment that is often forgotten or misunderstood.

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