Monday, October 15, 2012

Stand Down

Hancock Creek
34 56.22 N 076 51.48 W

We're spending a couple of days visiting with our friends Jeff & Wendy and their W32 Calypso on our way to New Bern.   Jeff & Wendy are leaving for The Bahamas this weekend.   For us, the goal is different.  It's time for me to fess up on a decision we made last summer but not reported on the blog until now.

We plan to spend the winter in New Bern, NC.   Next spring, we'll put Tarwathie up on the hard for several months to let her dry out.  While she's on the hard, we'll do a bit of land cruising with a car and camping gear.  All in all, it will be roughly a one year break in our normal north-south cruising routine.   We are not, repeat not, abandoning the cruising life. We couldn't afford the non-cruising life permanently anyhow.  We're just going to take a break after 2,743 consecutive days of non-stop cruising.

The motivation of this decision came last summer up on Lake Champlain.  I grew alarmed at the frequency of mistakes, blunders, and the pile up of maintenance problems.   Some of those blunders, but not all were reported on this blog.   The trend forced me to introspect.  No single technical cause was behind all those things, nor could a tweak or bright idea solve them.   I finally decided that the common problem was that too often our heads were on land while we were on the water.  We had become complacent and overconfident.  Pilots have a similar expression about those whose heads are on the ground while they are up in the air.   The remedy for a chronic problem like that is to stand down temporarily.  

Stand down is a military term, I think.   It means stopping what you normally do and to focus on retraining of some kind.  For us, it means more of a break in routine.   We'll catch up on those maintenance projects, and we'll do some of those land-based things.  In theory, we'll return to cruising next near refreshed and hopefully renewed vigilance and caution regarding boat operations.

A side story played out this week. had the news that a marina near Brunswick, Georgia was seeking a dockmaster.   The job brought with it use of an apartment on-site.  That would fit our needs very well.  Boat projects, especially interior projects are much easier if you have someplace else to sleep.  We got to the point where we were about to rent a car and drive to Brunswick for an interview.   However, the travel expenses would have been $700 or more, so we asked more questions first.  We learned that to make it work we would have to invest in a vehicle, and furnishings for that apartment.  It didn't make sense, so we declined.

We also considered wintering at the City Dock in Charleston, SC, or further south in Florida.  New Bern fits us better.  That is it fits provided that the coming winter is not terribly cold.  I worry about the cold.   We are both adapted to perpetual warm after 7.5 years full time cruising.

What about this blog?   I know that many readers of this blog do so because they never know what new adventures that crazy Dick & Libby may have found today.  I'll do my best.  I won't write about boring things just to make a daily post, but adventures will be fewer and further between.  Perhaps I'll take a different approach and write more cruising guides and/or advice for would-be cruisers.   I'll welcome suggestions from readers as to what they would like to have me write.


  1. Dick -

    From a purely selfish aspect I, like a host of others I am sure, will greatly miss your daily musings, travel log, occasional physics lessons and overall life observations. But I can certainly understand the logic and possibly some of the thought process that went into the decision. I read your blog religiously and have learned a great deal from it as well - information that I hope will serve us when my wife and I can cast off in the not to distant future. Here's wishing you a wonderful "Stand Down" until such time as you take to the sea again. In the mean time I hope you enjoy the nomadic lifestyle on land and share it with us every chance you get -
    PS - Let me suggest the Four Corners region next Spring after it warms back up -

  2. John Schieffelin10/15/2012 6:11 PM

    Change is good! You'll have fun trying new ventures, and come back to full time cruising refreshed and eager to be on the water again. And if something else crops up that seems better than full time cruising, that's OK too.

    Enjoy and good luck.

  3. I think that you are hooked on Blogging. My guess is that you will find entertaining things to write about no matter what you and Libby are doing and that we regular readers will continue to enjoy checking in on you guys.

  4. Dick and Libby, My first thought was NOOOOOO!!!!!!! Lol! But then I thought how selfish that was. You both must need a break from life on the water.
    Pam and I appreciate the lessons on cruising but just as much we appreciate the lessons in Love you and Libby show for each other - like the way you name your posts 'Reunion!' when Libby returns from a trip. We're going to miss that.
    Thanks for blazing a trail for us as we prepare our Westsail 32 'Scudder' to do something similar. And thanks for sharing!
    Chris and Pam

  5. I totally agree with geomeyers43. I think that people who blog regularly see life just a little bit differently than most. As you know, I write a daily blog. I used to panic when we didn't do anything, and then something interesting would happen. Or, at Isle of Hope, I'd simply stand on the flybridge with my camera for an hour.

    Don't worry, Dick. Getting to know you through your blog, you'll never be at a loss for a topic.


Type your comments here.