In the August issue of Yachting Magazine, you’ll see a feature about a grand adventure. A yachtsman named Paul Hawran is truly challenging himself. He’s taking his Outer Reef 880 Cockpit Motoryacht around Cape Horn — having already completed an Alaska shakedown cruise.
He’s unlike so many boat owners who talk a good adventure-cruising game but never go. I was reminded of this by a friend who was working on his boat after returning from his circumnavigation. A man approached him from the boat in the next slip.
“Didn’t you just get back from cruising?” the fellow boater inquired.
“Yes, I did,” my friend said.
“You know,” the guy said, “I’ve always wanted to take off and go cruising.”
My friend looked at him and said, “No, you haven’t.”
Taken aback, the fellow stammered around a bit. My friend pressed his point.
“If you really wanted to go,” he said, “you would.”
Later, my friend explained to me what he meant: “People say they want to go, but what they really want to do is talk about going. If they wanted to go, they’d find a way. You’ve got the money for that great cruising yacht and you drive a Porsche, so money can’t be the problem. And even if it was money that was holding you back, you’d find a way. I know people who’ve eaten peanut butter sandwiches for a year to save money for cruising. So it must be that some boaters are afraid to break the ties or quit the job or sell the house or something.
“But don’t hand me this old, ‘I’ve always wanted … ’ because the fact is that you just don’t want it enough.”
Marinas are filled with long-range cruisers that rarely leave the dock. Many skippers prepare their yachts for grand adventure, endlessly. They upgrade to the latest electronics. They make their yachts fully redundant. They take classes and buy cruising guides. And then they never leave. The preparation and planning for the cruise seem to be their real goals.
Adventure doesn’t need to be about cutting loose on a huge undertaking, such as a circumnavigation. You might start by taking off for a week and going as far as you want, and then leaving your boat at that point so you can return later for further adventures.
Maybe it’s just heading for a nearby island and anchoring not for one night, but instead for a week and savoring the sensation of being “far away.” Whatever it is, carpe diem.