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Old 06-05-2019, 08:30   #1
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Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

People often come to cruising with a plan to sail around the world, or to visit all the must-see sights of an area. Some have plans and schedules and goals and objectives. Many make detailed financial plans and budgets. They plan for retirement, for healthcare, for the end of cruising.

Obviously we all make plans. Im not suggesting its wrong or anything. Clearly some level of planning is always necessary. Its just that I dont tend to plan a lot. Or rather, the plans I make tend to be written in sand.

Just curious how others approach this.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:35   #2
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

I have general 6 month type. Like right now it’s go to New Orleans. But I don’t have plan to be there in any time frame or any real plan as to steps to get there.

This time last year I was in north Florida and people would ask my plan. It was go north to Maine and get a lobster roll. Took 3+ months to get that lobster roll.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:36   #3
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

Interesting observation, Mike.


Since folks are all different, some folks could be considered OCD and others uncaring about any details.


One constant for me and trusted, experienced friends: talk about where you've been, not what you're gonna (maybe, ha!) do.


Except when it comes to repairs.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:31   #4
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

Sailing to a schedule stinks.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:36   #5
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

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... One constant for me and trusted, experienced friends: talk about where you've been, not what you're gonna (maybe, ha!) do.
Good advise. That way you can avoid the I thought you said you were going to do this comments

People are definitely in different location son the OCE spectrum. I wonder whether the typical cruiser tends to be higher or lower than the norm. I can see arguments for both tendencies.

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I have general 6 month type. Like right now its go to New Orleans. But I dont have plan to be there in any time frame or any real plan as to steps to get there.

This time last year I was in north Florida and people would ask my plan. It was go north to Maine and get a lobster roll. Took 3+ months to get that lobster roll.


Very similar here. We have a general seasonal plan, but it can and does change with the wind. Our current seasonal plan is to explore more of the west and north side of Newfoundland, possibly up to Labrador. Were thinking of relocating to a new home port this season, but its all pretty loose. And like last season, we might just sail 15 miles and anchor. Who know
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:50   #6
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

The seasonal issues of cyclone/hurricane season forces plans even for those that want to be foot loose and fancy free. We pretty much have a 1 year looking forward plan that deals with cyclone season and where we'd like to go. I'd say we've stuck to that plan maybe 80% of the time over the last 8 or 9 years. We have not stuck to any of our greater than 1 year cruising plans. Something always comes up.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:52   #7
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

We have no plan, and we stick to it!
Currently in Spain...
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:53   #8
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

I've found that the more I plan, the more the Universe laughs.

Back East we planned to be in Boston for the 4th of July to watch the USS Constitution sail (or just be turned around for the the year). A sail of about 250 miles, piece of cake. We left each year, and each year life got in the way, breakdowns, family crises - one year my husband left his wallet home and we didn't discover it until we were in Martha's Vineyard and had to turn around and go back. This went on for 6 years.

Now we want to go to Alaska. We thought we'd fix this old boat up and cast off. Hah! First an almost total refit, drained the bank accounts, had to lie low to build them up again, set off last year and poof! found that the old windlass was seriously undersized for this boat and the 35 year old refrigeration was going to kill us. Back to civilization and more money, more time, more, more, more.

Now we stand poised to try again. Only one thing is different. Now we say that we are sailing "north" and we will turn around when we run out of summer, money or fun. I'm so tired of not reaching my destination that I'm refusing to have a destination now.

I'll let you know how it works.....
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:53   #9
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

I have goals not plans for destinations. I started with a goal of seeing the South Pacific, I may make it, or maybe not. Id like to, but its apparent the better half wont make the crossing with me, or maybe said a better way, maybe its best I take crew or a pro delivery Capt with me

Finances is where in my opinion you need a plan
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:07   #10
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

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I've found that the more I plan, the more the Universe laughs.

This.



I'm a great one for lists, spreadsheets and plans. None of them survive contact with the enemy.


I've learned to do my plans as exercises but not to stress out when they don't happen that way or try to force it to work. I never speak my long term plans out loud so I can change them if needed.



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Old 06-05-2019, 10:15   #11
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Just curious how others approach this.
Usually have about 16 plans.

But treated as no more than vague guesses what the future might hold. Danger with plans is you might actually try to stick to them. So no. No need really imho, usually obvious day to day/week to week what to do.

Though saying that it can be motivational to pretend you have a plan which you'll stick to.

Prime example, in Cape Verde solo a while ago getting set to go to Carib, couple boats com into the anchorage "we're off to Brazil tomorrow, wanna come?"
What a fun 6 months that was!
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:17   #12
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

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...I'm so tired of not reaching my destination that I'm refusing to have a destination now.

Now our destination is somewhere beyond where the dock lines reach.

We learned our lesson when we rented out our house and gave up our slip and went cruising after nearly fifty years of sailing. Our plan was to spend a year in Mexico and then decided where we wanted to go next, maybe across the pacific or if we didnt like cruising we would go back home. Just before we left Sand Diego we learned about the Mexican Government impounding foreign yachts for perceived tax violations. We decided not to go until they straightened that out. Instead we gunk holed up the California coast and Channel Islands stopping everywhere one can drop the Hook, pick up a mooring or get a slip. We enjoyed that so much for an entire year that we continued doing it again for the next year and the next. Family issues and my knee surgery brought back home temporarily.

So now our destination is beyond the dock lines. Hopefully we will go out again soon but our focus will be on the discovery of joy and wonder around us in each place we visit.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:01   #13
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

Hey Mike, good thread. You've got me thinking about how cruising plans can change in the blink of an eye and how we adjust. Just happened to us. But there are other forms of planning when it comes to cruising and living aboard.

My 86-yr-old mom is fading fast. I am very, very relieved we planned ahead and made trailerability a requirement for our new boat, as we are now trailering up north to be on a big lake close to Mom. My only point is that, planning ahead in terms of "which boat?" can be worthwhile in unexpected ways.


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Old 06-05-2019, 12:30   #14
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

Thanks for the interesting responses folks. It is a very broad question that can be looked at in so many different ways and at so many different levels.

Planning is necessary, otherwise wed never get out of bed. As sailors and cruisers we constantly plan for seasons, weather, tides or even daylight. We plan our anchorages. We plan our provisioning, and where/how to resupply.

We all have to plan at some level. But I do see a spectrum of planning, or planners. Some of us can live with few definite plans. Others seem to require a clearly defined schedule. Most of us are somewhere in between.

Sometimes plans make life easier. Sometimes they get in the way of living. I tend to do some big-picture planning, but leave the details to however the wind is blowing.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:35   #15
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Re: Plan? No Plan? A plan written on beach sand?

No need to write plan out.

"THE PLAN": Go North in the Spring, Go South in the Fall.

Even I can remember that!
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