I was told when I was young that there was an old proverb that went something like, “It is easier to swim downstream than fight the current.” Now I’m not exactly sure why it took some genius thousands of years ago to pass down this little nugget of wisdom to us poor rubes when it seems like such knowledge is inherent, but it must have struck a cord because it was told to me by someone that told it to them and so on all the way back to Genius Zero who informed all the world that less work is easier!
However, perhaps there is something to be said for this master craftsman of knowledge. After all, Dani and I are champing at the bit to get underway right now. The only problem is that the weather is crap and we don’t want to go… Well, I don’t want to go. You see Dani, after having been driven to bed and then made to wait around 10 days is ready. Ready isn’t the right word. She is practically upping the anchor chain herself, battening down the hatches, and generally gets this dreamy look in her eye as if she were under way again.
Of course, No. Just no. We’re not leaving. Not yet. Because I like to think of myself as a smart fellow, wise and all that, and I’ve learned from the little proverb that it is in fact easier to wait for good weather. Now it may be somewhat debatable as to if this makes me wise or not. In fact, my little attempt at wisdom could end with my throat cut as Dani takes extreme measures to shut me up and escape Isla Mujeres that she feels is cursed. (They named it the Woman island, what did you expect?)
Really, the problem is that that we are both ready to go and the weather is PLEASANT, it just isn’t right. I know that is hard to grasp. Dani and I had a fight over it. If she doesn’t understand it, how can I expect others to? I figured I’d toss around some of my way of thinking to all you guys back in cubicles and houses to show you what you have to be thinking about all the time out here in paradise.
TECHNICAL: First, lets talk about Sundowner. She is an old design that doesn’t do well heading into the wind and beating (but what boat does). We’ve found that she can reasonably sail 50 degrees off the wind but in adverse conditions with wind/waves/current she can only do about 60 degrees.
I know a lot of racing sailors just cringed. It’s reality on an old cruising boat that weighs 20k+ lbs.
Now… Lets look at the weather forecast upon which Dani has helpfully put a little boat with 45 degree angles.
Notice how those wind arrows are pointing suspiciously in that little “no go” sailing angle in front of the boat? That means it’s going to be a horrible horrible beat. Beating is when you head into the wind instead of going downstream, or basically, when you violate the proverb. It’s wet snotty and uncomfortable.
So I made the final decision to “wait for better weather.” Now this evoked great wailing and gnashing of teeth from the crew aboard Sundowner. Cries rang out of “what if the weather never changes!?” and other such terms of despair and pleading. When I first made the call, we had checked the 10 day forecast here in Isla Mujeres and every single day had the same wind direction. Luckily though, days later something new appeared…
So here we continue to sit, awaiting our little weather window to head south about 350 miles. Not beating. Not taking waves over the bow. Not doing crazy tacks that get us no where and not burning diesel. It’s cheaper and more comfortable this way, the only downside is the proverbial delay and ritual “waiting for the window”. It might be downright pleasant if I didn’t have to lock Dani in the v-berth at night out of mortal fear she’d slip the anchor on me.
We are still neophyte cruisers, but I say unto thee others who look to us as they plan their own dreams. The proverb is strong and stupidly simple but incredibly hard to obey. Such is wisdom. Prepare yourselves for sitting on your hands when you don’t want to. It’s tough out here in paradise.