Trusting Your Instincts


April 13, 2015

Saving the day with gut feelings.

Every now and then we get the opportunity to look back on a day and see that our instincts were spot on.

Over the past four or five days I’ve been assembling Wilber getting things in order to begin this Journey to the Florida Keys. In my minds eye I constantly review the many aspects of risk in order to try and be prepared for when things do go awry, and you can be sure they will at some point.

I look at the way the hulls are lashed to the crossbeams and imagine how they will wear over time, then imagine how to mitigate that wear as much as possible. The same goes standing rigging, the stuff that holds up the mast and sail spars. I look at how the boat sits in the water, as this design relies on the trim of the boat keeping the fine forefoot of the bow solidly in the water to provide resistance to sideways slipping when sailing, lateral resistance, and where to move things around as water and food gets consumed to keep that trim.

It’s not a constant worry as much as small snippets of thought as the building process rolls along. Some have mentioned that I think to much about this and should leave a bit more up to fate, today however that way of thinking about what if has saved me from a rather wet and uncomfortable start to this journey.

You see, today everything was ready to go with the boat loaded and waiting, the only issue was waking this morning with the light wind blowing from precisely the direction I need to sail. As the morning progressed the wind would increase slightly and then fade a bit, but still from due east, bad for where I wanted to go. I could have gone anyway and slowly tacked my way to weather but it would have been painfully slow.

So, I stood at the porch railing here in Pirates Cove, looked at the quiet waters inside the little bayou and thought, ‘don’t push it, sit back and relax for a day or so and see how the weather develops’.

And then a few rain squalls came through and that ratified my decision for me. Not only would the day have painfully slow, as evidenced by a couple of boats laboring in the light fluky airs but it would have been wet now as well.

As the day progressed and the evening fell, so did more rain and in a fairly solid fashion, to the point of the weather service issuing a flood warning. And just now in these post midnight hours a tremendous thunder storm has rolled through with ground shaking, blindingly bright lightning strikes, the sort that make you cringe and feel very, very small and the grounds here at Pirates Cove, Alabama a momentary ankle deep lake of water.

Laying here after the thunder, lightning and the deluge of rain has passed and I’m thinking of my decision to not leave today because of a gut feeling; it was a good instinct and I’m glad I listened. Oh I know there will be days on the journey where this will happen again and I’ll just have to tough it out, but for now I’m happy to be in my dry warm bed in the Marshmallow Van next to Casey, and the fact that trusting my instincts kept me out of this storm is icing on the cake


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