At the moment I am still being a bum while Deb toils away straightening out the aft cabin for the soon-to-be-started rebuild. My excuse for typing and not straightening is that the aft cabin is too small for two to work in at the same time. I'm not very skilled in the straightening up department anyway. Still, planning and drawings will start pretty soon and I'll get to pitch in.
Those of you already gone probably worked this out already, but the constant pressure of the to-do list has me wondering about the transition from the life on land to that of being a sea gypsy. At first glance having the boat for several years, living on it as much as possible while getting ready to go, would seem a nice "half-step" from land to water. At second glance I'm starting to think it isn't any kind of a step at all. Kintala, and Nomad before her, were (are) mostly large work projects. At the dock living on the boat is just living in a very small cabin. We have AC power, shore is just a single step down off the deck, the anchor can't drag, and we don't do anything different because of weather. We don't navigate, communicate, or see anything we haven't seen before. Every hour sailing, coving out or rafted up (which is, I imagine, at least a tiny bit like cruising) is dwarfed by hundreds of hours of working on projects locked in the marina. We only spent one night on the hook during our Catamaran experience in Pensacola. (Sixty knot winds and 6 foot seas, sure ... anchor watch, sure ... but still only one night.) The week spent sailing around Long Island was a series of long day sails punctuated each night by a stay at a municipal pier. Only the trip with John involved several days in a row on the boat and away from a dock. (And, truth to tell, I think we have spent more days out in a row during long weekends here at the lake, than we did on Quetzal.) In these last 5+ years I have definitely turned into a boat mechanic, but I don't think I have become a sailor.
From what I have read it seems one must be both a boat mechanic and a sailor to be a successful cruiser. In that light maybe I have about half of what I need. I have to admit that, as we get closer to pulling the trigger on this thing, the half I don't have is starting to loom large. Knowing what I know now I'm still not sure I would have done anything differently. Nomad was a joy, the time spent with her out on the lake was fantastic. My girls went with us, grand kids came along, we had some small adventures and a lot of fun. I wouldn't want to have missed those times at all. And Kintala? Well, she is the Retirement Project now. We are fully committed to getting this boat out into big water and seeing what we see.
So on the one hand I'm starting to wish we had had the resources to put in a lot more blue water miles than we did, miles with people who had gone this way before, miles to show us what we need to know. On the other, well, I've sure read a lot of books written by people who, if I am honest, seem lucky to have survived. For the most part they had boats much less capable than Kintala, knew next to nothing about keeping the boat running, had little or no weather and navigation experience, and taught themselves how to sail by pushing off the dock and tugging on various ropes to see what happened. Quintessential jumping-into-the-deep-end-to-learn-how-to-swim types, they managed. I guess we will as well.