Un­charted Wa­ters

You can or­ga­nize your next cruise by delv­ing into ev­ery lit­tle de­tail prior to de­par­ture, or you can sim­ply wing it. But is there a third op­tion?

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Capt. Bill Pike

Among boaters, there are Type A and Type B peo­ple. But the best cruis­ers are a heathly mix of the two, or Type C.

Iguess if you asked a mod­ern psy­chol­o­gist whether you can rea­son­ably di­vide the hu­man race into two ba­sic per­son­al­ity types, A and B, he’d prob­a­bly an­swer, “Yup.” And if the guy hap­pened to be ob­sessed with boats, I’d guess he’d most likely go on to ad­mit, if pressed, that these per­son­al­ity types in­flu­ence the way most of us get ready for our next cruise—whether we go the Type A route, fea­tur­ing, of course, lots of re­search and prep work be­fore­hand, or opt for the Type B thing, which will prob­a­bly en­tail lit­tle more than a ro­man­tic vi­sion of an in­trigu­ing des­ti­na­tion as pre­lude, ac­com­pa­nied by a bur­geon­ing sense of ad­ven­ture and a full fuel tank.

The cat­e­gory I’d file my­self un­der? Hm­mmm … Now, that is a tricky ques­tion.

Con­sider, for just a sec, the cruise I am presently lin­ing up for later this sum­mer on board the ol’ Betty Jane II. At this very mo­ment, my sched­uled de­par­ture is well over two months off, but al­ready, I’ve got cour­ses for the whole she­bang laid out, as well as mileages, way­points and an­chor­ages. I did all this stuff only a cou­ple of morn­ings ago, while kicked back in the Eames chair in my of­fice, with a cup of hot cof­fee at the ready and a mouse-driven cur­sor roam­ing around the Rose Point Coastal Ex­plorer nav pro­gram I’ve got loaded on my lap­top. Arm­chair elec­tronic cruis­ing at its finest.

More­over, I’ve al­ready made ma­rina and other reser­va­tions. Got ’em lined up like droll pel­i­cans sit­ting on a rail­ing, with names, dates and phone num­bers listed on the out­side of a manila folder I’ve ded­i­cated to the jaunt and ap­pro­pri­ately la­beled with a Sharpie. This way, to han­dle ar­range­ments for any given evening, all I have to do is haul out the folder, scan the ex­te­rior and call ahead with my cell­phone.

The cell­phone, by the way, is my cho­sen form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with mari­nas these days. I seem to get a bet­ter, faster re­sponse than with VHF. Maybe—and I could be to­tally wrong about this—it’s eas­ier for a busy soul at a ma­rina to tem­po­rar­ily ig­nore a ra­dio at half vol­ume than it is to ig­nore a smart­phone that’s rockin’ and bop­pin’ in hand or pocket.

And fi­nally, on top of ev­ery­thing else, I’ve al­ready spent quite a bit of time and money on get­ting Betty ready for the trip. Her fuel fil­ter el­e­ments (both se­condary and pri­mary) are clean as a whis­tle and backed up with plenty of ex­tras. Her shaft log is prop­erly packed, ad­justed and ready to boo­gie. Her elec­tron­ics are func­tion­ing smoothly (in­clud­ing the lat­est ad­di­tion—a new Garmin GPS 742xs plot­ter com­plete with a Sir­iusXM Weather pack­age) and the rest of her sys­tems, from san­i­tary to elec­tri­cal, are, as far as I can tell, per­co­lat­ing along nicely. Does all this re­search and prep work, the depth of which I’ve only hinted at here, qual­ify me for Type A sta­tus? Heck, I hope not. Some years ago, I joined a very good friend of mine, a Type A guy, on a Type A cruise he’d been pre­med­i­tat­ing for months. The first part was nice—I en­joyed my­self—but then some­thing hap­pened, a mishap that set us back time-wise. My good buddy in­stantly mor­phed into Capt. Ahab and be­gan con­stantly be­moan­ing our fate while ma­ni­a­cally boost­ing run­ning times in the vain hope of get­ting back on his clip­board-driven sched­ule. Nice be­came not-so-nice in a hurry.

What I learned from this was sim­ple. Sure, ap­ply­ing the Type A mind­set to your next cruise is prob­a­bly ad­vis­able, even nec­es­sary, in some cases. But don’t for­get to slosh into the mix a cou­ple of Type B ad­den­dums, the most crit­i­cal of the lot be­ing the in­clu­sion of some free time, so you and your crew can have an off-script ad­ven­ture or two along the way. You might even call such a dou­ble-dip deal, “Type C,” al­though I’m not sure what a boat-lovin’ psy­chol­o­gist would have to say about that.

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