On labor day I went sailing on D_’s 21 foot two masted sailboat on the local reservoir. Having been reading cruising and sailing books for a couple of years by now, this was the first time ever I have actually stepped onto a boat that is bigger than a rowboat but smaller than a ferry. It was nice to connect some of the words from the books to reality and I think I got the hang of it pretty quickly—it’s much like flying or gliding—and I even got to be the skipper for a while.

Based on one four hour sail where we were beating against the wind for three hours or so and then running with the wind wing-on-wing going back for an hour over a distance that would take 5-6 hours to run by foot in total, I think I could absolutely get used to this form of travel if the activity translates well into a ~30 foot cruiser. Also, if I could mount some ship’s cannons?

First, there’s a level of skill involved, much like the difference between being a passenger and a driver. Second, there is ultimate responsibility: No time-outs. Third, and much more importantly, unlike flying or even driving, which I find much like riding an elevator or using a transporter (what, you don’t have a transporter?), there is an actual feeling of moving than I can relate to my human size and human sense of speed. I think driving and particularly flying is so fast that it is impossible to get a feeling of true distance. Hence places become merely a network of connected airports and the world becomes a large place not due to its actual size but due to the large number of different destinations one can punch into expedia or orbitz.

To compare, the nearest next city is about a 7 hours march away.

It is said that out of every ten thousand that want to go cruising, only one do so. This sounds like reasonable odds to me ;-) It certainly holds a sense of wonder to me to be able to go to Hawaii or cross the Atlantic by boat rather than sitting in a tin can like tuna fish 40,000 feet up, not like tuna fish. Imagine the freedom.

Having just passed an investment milestone, I’m now richer than ever (not very rich compared to some of you, I know), but on an absolute scale I would have the money to complete this: $50,000 for the boat, and the rest to draw $500 a month for supplies for two people. Maybe $50,000 will not be enough for a true blue water cruiser, but lets start with the Caribbean, eh? After all, it should take 5-10 years, at least, to get the required experience.

I think this also solves the problem of not having long term goals. How about this (each project taking about 10 years)

  1. Get PhD and publish a paper in an international journal (actually, I went to 25). [Done!]
  2. Become financially independent and retire early. [Done!]
  3. Sail around the world: circumnavigation.
  4. …?

Too farfetched?