To Sail or Not To Sail
by Molly Winans
You really shouldn’t go sailing today. Your cell phone’s Weatherbug app predicts sunshine and a high of 65 degrees. Accu-Weather forecasts 10 to 15 knots from the west, with gusts up to 20. The skipper’s swapping out the genoa for the slimmer “winter” jib so that the guests, Karen and Don—sailors who haven’t been on the water for a while—will be comfortable. Wow, it’s beautiful outside. The leaves are rustling, yellow and orange, with patches of red. Such beauty does not last for long. Two precious weeks, max, until the leaves drop.
But you really shouldn’t go sailing today. Deadlines are deadlines, and you’re a professional on a deadline. You’re behind schedule. Your penchant for procrastination is taxing on your teammates… and yourself. Remember the many readers who stopped by the booth during the sailboat show to say, “We love your articles!” You bask in such comments. They are your lifeblood. You don’t let yourself think about how these long days at the show will tax your brain, fill your e-mail box, and mysteriously wreck your desk.
Until three days before the November print deadline, and you receive an invitation to go sailing on one of the prettiest days of the year. Then, you remember how much work you have left to do. Sailing would be foolish. All the excuses you have, real ones. The cat’s sick. Your clothes are dirty. The most nourishing food in your refrigerator are five apples, one egg, and a half cucumber that’s on the soggy side. And you have a heap of work to do. You really shouldn’t go sailing today.
The skipper has even given you an out. “Just send a text if you decide not to go. No big deal.” He’s not short-handed. He doesn’t need you to entertain his workmate Don and his wife Karen; they don’t even know you, so they don’t care one way or the other. You should just sit your butt down at the laptop and get moving. Go. Laptop. Go. Write.
You walk out on the porch and see the lethargic cat soaking in the sunshine. You’ll feel so much better if you finish your work, go to the grocery store, go to bed at a decent hour. But then, wait a minute. Think it through. What will you feel like when the crew returns and tells you what an amazing sailing day they had? Oh, the wind, the sun, the perfect Thomas Point Lighthouse reach! Oh, the pretty leaves! How will you feel then?
You’re going sailing today. You put on the new Gill socks you bought at the sailboat show, grab a goose down vest and some full-finger gloves in case it feels like the 50s out there, and head to the marina. Don and Karen are already on the boat, looking excited as kids to get out there for their first sail on the Chesapeake Bay. They have taken sailing classes and earned ASA certification and done what many professionals do, gotten so busy with life and family and work that they put off sailing. For years. They are giddy to go sailing again.
Fall sailing days don’t get any better than this. We sail and relax under the bluest of blue skies. Eat peanuts, tell stories. When we tie up safely at the dock, and although sober, feeling a bit drunk on the sun-dazzled day, our new friends say their thank yous. Don says, “It was heaven.”
Yes, you will pay later for this afternoon procrastination technique. Isn’t a little slice of heaven worth it?
This article first appeared in the November 2012 SpinSheet Sailing Magazine.