Sailing the Santa Barbara Channel – Plan b …. or was it C?

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Our SPOT device recorded our trip last weekend.

The track was not what we’d intended for the journey. We’d planned to spend night 1 in Smugglers (which we did) and then go to Scorpion for hiking and kayaking the next morning, then spend another night in an anchorage farther to the west.

We were underway from Smugglers fairly early. OK, it was 1000 before the anchor was stowed, but we had no place to be. Rounding Pt. San Pedro we noticed a pretty heavy chop and argued among ourselves if this was a potato patch (my analysis) or some serious wind.

It was serious wind and the crew elected to jump on it and ditch the kayaking/hiking plan. It was a strong westerly and backed to WSW. The chart plotter showed our vector straight into Santa Barbara. Most of the crew had never been there, and we churned ahead with the intention of anchoring in the “seasonal anchorage” depicted on the chart.

The wind was brisk all the way and natives skimmed the whitecaps coming out to greet us on their kite-driven boards. They called to us in their native tongue “Yipee,” they cried.

Where were we, we wondered, 1950?

We approached the anchorage. Winds were over 20 and not forecast to abate until after midnight, winds that put us on a lee shore.

Now we had to pick between Plan d, Plan e and Plan f.

Plan d was to disregard the lee shore issue. After all, a dozen boats were already anchored there. It must be safe.

Plan e was go back to Santa Cruz, probably Smugglers because of the building winds.

Plan f was a straight shot home.

A lee shore certainly wouldn’t work for us no matter how many captains had elected to drop the hook there. The next days’s forecast was for light winds, so sailing home from Smugglers would be less than thrilling. On to Plan f -  a straight shot home.

Gotta be flexible, right?

But mere flexibility may be too rigid. We’re working on becoming  fluid.



Living the Dream in the Channel Islands

Capt. Dan aboard Sancerre

Capt. Dan aboard Sancerre

I’ve been accused of that – living the dream. The first couple of times I heard that I was living the dream, I just smiled and demurred.

Not living the dream, not. Or so I thought at the time.

Just because I love to sail, love to be on the ocean, love to hang out with my pals and tell sea stories and the fact that I do that for a living – that still didn’t add up to living the dream.

Now I’ve started to analyze and strategize to figure out how one goes about living the dream. It seemed essential that you had to have a dream, but now I think articulating what the dream is may be the death of it.

One of my sailing colleagues is constantly cited for LTD – living the dream. He sails for a living, is based in the Caribbean, has his own boat, works when he wants to and gets out of Dodge with the approach of hurricane season. Those are the dreamy things. On the other hand, he has to have a charter every week of sailing season, he does all of the cooking, cleaning, boat maintenance, sails the boat, teaches other people to sail and, during most waking hours, has to wear a smile and frequently must treat with fools.

He does everything, not because he loves that, but to keep costs down and to have enough left at the end of the Caribbean sailing season to live frugally until he returns.

I look at his life and say, not my dream. Now it may be a damned fine life, but it’s not my dream. On the third hand, it may be a dandy way to make a living even if it isn’t the dream.

Most of the people who cop to LTD are retired. Nothing left to prove but a lot left to see and do. They’ve usually got enough money to live comfortably, so the dream doesn’t have to spin off huge profits. Some have goals, like visiting all of the national parks, some use the time to develop or exercise talents they couldn’t focus on when making a living took precedence.

Living the dream comes down to being content with what you have, where you live and who you are. When I decided to live the dream, I determined that I didn’t need more, I needed to pare down. Consequently:

I no longer have a fiscal goal other than to lose money more slowly.

I have no boss.

I have no employees.

I have a schedule, but I’m learning to manage that rather than let it manage me.

I’m heading to the islands tomorrow with three friends for three days. The weather forecast is perfect. There are whales out there, but we’ll only see them if they come to us. We’ll eat what we want, sleep whenever, kayak and hike as the feeling moves us. Sounds pretty much like a dream life to me.