The Best Laid Plans

Perseverance, in the face of very adverse situations, being bored almost to tears or dealing with unimaginably

Where Dauntless is, lower right, where I had planned her to be now, upper left

stupid, selfish adults, has gotten me to many of my most important goals in my life: four university degrees, meteorologist, science teacher, high school principal, Dauntless and certainly crossing the Atlantic, now twice.

But it has also gotten me in trouble. Big trouble.

My life has always been about planning.  Acting spontaneously is not me.  Throughout my life, when I have acted spontaneously, the outcomes were not good.

So, it sounds simple.

Make the Plan; Do the Plan. 

And this works much of the time, but not always.  Why? Because while I’m not acting spontaneously, I end up following a not well thought out plan.  Whether career changes, job changes or route planning, I’ve sometimes followed flawed plans to the “T”.

Now, not all plans have the same consequences.  Leaving the U.S. Air Force to start my own business still baffles my mind. Yes, I was tired of the bureaucracy of the USAF, but the USAF is a model of efficiency, team work and everything else you can think of when compared to the New York City Department of Education.

So that decision, way back in 1987, ended up affecting my life for the next 20+ years.

Most recently, I had another occasion to change the plan.  Abort so to speak.

The outlines of the Pacific Ocean Plan were in place before we even crossed the Atlantic three years ago. While always subject to modification, the Plan has two primary functions:

  • It focuses my thoughts to anticipate issues and possibilities
  • It gives me the confidence to persevere, to succeed, even when I get tired, bored, etc.

It’s hard to imagine, that in the original Plan, I would be in Yeosu, South Korea in this month!

Oh well, even the best plans of mice and men, sometimes go astray.

Last year at this time, I still expected to be in the Pacific Northwest by now. One month ago, I still expected to be in Guaymas, northern Mexico this week.

Instead, Dauntless is in the wonderful, little port of Huatulco, Mexico.  Just across the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

The crossing of the Tehuantepec was a good example of when to modify the plan.

So, as I left Chiapas at 08:00, alone, because my friend, Cliff who had joined me in Costa Rica to help me get Dauntless the 450 nm to Mexico, had had to return home.  But the longest leg was now behind me and tonight next 6 weeks alone was doable, even if not my preference.

The crossing was long, 40 hours, uneventful, but also an eye opener.

Before leaving Chiapas, I had been advised my everyone, from locals to friends who had done it themselves, to stay within a few miles of the coast, just in case the winds pick up.  It would only add about 20 nm to a 240-nm trip, not that bad.

The course directly across the Gulf is 284°, while along the coast it would be about 305°, so after passing the breakwater, I made my course 300°.

I then spent the next half hour dodging pangas and fishing nets.  260 nm at 6.5 knots is 40 hours.  I immediately understood that I could not spend 40 hours dodging boats and nets.

I had been watching the weather for days, waiting for the appropriate weather window.  Since the synoptic weather pattern that caused the Tehuantepec winds was also the same that caused the Papagayo winds which I had been watching for weeks.  So, I was pretty confident that at I’d have at least 24 hours of light winds, then at the worst case, if they started to build, I’d have winds on the beam for at most 12 hours.

The Mexican coast northwest of Huatuco

Being summer, those winds would not be as strong as in winter. Just like the North Atlantic, cold air can easily produce hurricane force winds in the winter. Therefore, worst case, Dauntless and I would have to put up with 20 knot winds on the beam for half a day.  Not fun; but not dangerous either, at least not in this Kadey Krogen.

With all that in mind, within 3 miles of leaving the protection of the Chiapas, I changed course to go directly across the Tehuantepec.  Needless to say, itw as an uneventful crossing.  (Had it been eventful, you would have heard about it by now).

The Plan was to provision the boat in Huatulco and wait for a weather window to continue north. The more I waited, the more I saw my current Plan slipping away.  Finally, I realized it was time to let it go completely.  In talking to the Marina Captain and a dock neighbor who was heading south, it became clear that the next few hundred miles all the away to Acapulco, offered only one safe harbor, therefore I could not afford to stop as long as the winds and weather were favorable.

Picturing the pangas and nets off of Chiapas, I realized that my long thought out Plan was not feasible at this point.  As I looked for alternative places to winter Dauntless, they were all much more expensive, like 10x more! than my present location of Huatulco.

So here we are. Robert Burns said it best:

“The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry”

 

 

 

 

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

2 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans”

  1. Hay – it all worked out fine. You know weather better than I do,  as that was your job for 20 years. Circumstances were different, so you adapted.   You were by your self. You took the opportunity of a good weather window. Everything worked out fine.. All is well that ends well. So good job skipper. Now you can enjoy a month or two with your friends there in Viet Nam. So I hope that is all going well down there. Over here it is same stuff — super busy with work up here, nothing fun, just working & then working some more. So enjoy what your doing there while you can. keep me in the loop of any changes or if any help needed. Carry On My Friend. mike

    From: Dauntless at Sea To: alfamike8277@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2017 9:13 PM Subject: [New post] The Best Laid Plans #yiv2023329544 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2023329544 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2023329544 a.yiv2023329544primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2023329544 a.yiv2023329544primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2023329544 a.yiv2023329544primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2023329544 a.yiv2023329544primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2023329544 WordPress.com | Richard on Dauntless posted: “Perseverance, in the face of very adverse situations, being bored almost to tears or dealing with unimaginablystupid, selfish adults, has gotten me to many of my most important goals in my life: four university degrees, meteorologist, science teac” | |

  2. Along with “Make the plan; Do the plan.” is “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”, most likely said by Von Moltke, and Ike’s, “Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable” 🙂

    Later,
    Dan

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