For every problem a plan.

Title photograph : Wells harbour foreshore, Norfolk UK.

And for every great plan a problem.

Recently when i was coming to the end of both the ocean series and shallow water series of boat posts i realised that i had to factor in thinking about the new problems i will have with boats.  In the first look at this i just thought about getting on and off boats and that was then reinforced when the boat broker over in north Wales didn’t want me running up and down ladders and onto green and greasy decks….let alone clambering around inside.  I had to smile a bit at that one when i remember going aboard the Javelin half tonner and Jackie got a photograph of me disappearing down the quarter berth to have a look at all the gubbins (technical expression) down at the back of the engine bay and under the cockpit.   Boat viewings, in my opinion, do need that level of poking into all the nasty corners and yes that would be a problem for me right now.  There were several outcomes to that series of posts, one of them is that i have to get to a certain level of balance. strength and agility to even consider doing a detailed boat viewing especially given the distance we are going to have to travel to see the boats….it really has to be a one day hit…..and also that i have to re-think many of the aspects of boat handling that i haven’t ever had to consider a problem before.


One of my current problems is the interaction between my knee surgery and long term ongoing back pain.  Today , as i write, i have done my morning circuit of around 3,500 paces and some specific knee/quad strength work…..and i have paid for that with a bout of excrutiating back spasms.  I will talk about that problem later on in the post but thinking about that kind of problem had me thinking about how it would affect some of the more physical aspects of everyday boat handling.    One thing that immediately came to mind was how to deal with anchoring just as an example.  Aboard the Liberty i have very good anchors , appropriately sized to the boat and so far i have always relied on direct manual deployment and recovery.  Even with a 7kg Manson there have been times when the anchor has been hard in the mud and taken a while to rotate out.  With the same anchor aboard the much heavier gaffer i even got to the point where i just couldn’t budge the hook manually after it had set hard.  I wrote about that earlier in the year in the post “A nice little exercise”.  Afterwards i reflected that the anchor was ‘only’ 7kg with maybe another 15 kg of rode behind it and i should have easily been able to heave that out of the bottom…of course it doesn’t work like that and it’s the weight of the boat, the force on the boat and anchor and the bury resistance that all count.  There was also the factor of trying to work on that tiny, narrow foredeck : i just couldn’t get into a good enough position to really apply muscle to the problem.  That whole problem led me to the conclusion that any larger future boat would need firstly a big working foredeck and secondly some mechanical assistance for anchoring.   Today though that’s all a bit moot because there seems to be layers and layers of problems to solve before i get anywhere near working out how to anchor or up-anchor a bigger boat.

Right now, in fact, there is an almost Maslow-esque* pyramid of problems and decisions before getting to the peak of a well sorted cruising boat anchored in clear water somewhere in southern Brittanny with it’s crew frollicking nakedly nearby !  For anyone that is now totally lost i am referring to Maslow’s model which we young nurses once had rammed down our throats and is utter BS anyway but sometimes a useful way of explaining a hierarchy of needs or , in this case, layers of decision making and problem solving.

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My overall plan is still to go off cruising with a slightly larger boat and with a target date of early summer 2020, that may seem a long way off but isn’t when you consider that i have still got to find the boat and sort it out.   If you like there is a whole load of stages before and after just finding the right boat.   At this point i’m still looking but i have narrowed the search criteria quite a bit and found a couple of boats unfortunately a long way away.  If things go well enough this month then my plan and treat at the end of the month will be to go and see both potential boats in the same area.

However that layer of problems and decisions also sits right on top of a wider base problem in that to buy and fit-out a larger boat i have to be back at work to finance the project, plus i would have to sell the boat i have now.  It isn’t obvious at the moment that i will be fit to go back to work either so that could scotch the whole deal.  Right at the base of the decisions and problems then are the 2 real and actual problems that i am working on right now.  Both are health related : the first i am calling the ‘Q’ plan and is closely linked to the Q risk that i wrote about in an earlier post. I am already working on the modifiable risks i found out about and that plan goes hand in hand with the ‘F’ plan which is the title i have given the fitness plan….essentially how to get fit enough to get back to work.   Right now i have been given 6 weeks grace by my GP before i should be back at work and i have already worked into the beginning of an escalating exercise regime and major dietary change.  Already in week 2 of the 6 week plan i am starting to push at the exercise at a very basic level : this week for example i am trying to add 500 paces per day to my daily step count.  So far, as i write todays target is 8,000 + 2 groups of sets of specific quad exercise.  Next week i may be back in the gym because i need that indoor facility to do controlled upper body work.

On the boats side i am leaning towards this kind of thing, hardly exciting, in fact a very steady boat but it would dry out easily, the space looks adequate and the deck space looks like it might work for the problems that i have talked about today.

So : specific plans and goals.

Boat and cruising plan.

I have said that i really want to be on the water and cruising in a slightly better boat in the early summer of 2020, that means finding the boat sometime this autumn or winter, at the latest next spring, getting it back to base and doing the refit next year.  If the boat does happen to be one of the 3 or so currently on the list then that means at least a delivery trip down the Irish sea and at least one trip north to prepare the boat beforehand.  It would be nice to visit the area where i started my own sailing but to be honest it needs to be a quick delivery so that i can get on and do the work down here. Once again that’s jumping ahead too fast and i am trying to avoid getting too far ahead of myself because, once again, the whole thing might not happen in that way at all.  If for example the return to work just won’t happen then it could be that i knock the whole thing on the head and leave next spring with the boat we have now, that’s why at this stage i have left that open to other factors.  My own boat is ready to go aside from putting my own gear back aboard and topping up the drinking water, an early season cross channel crossing would work in a spring northerly but equally so would a continuation of my original plan to gradually work my way around the Uk….in fact the Liberty would still be a great little boat for that.

At the end of today’s post i thought i might write about SMART goals and the method of future-planning put forward in JBP’s future authoring work.  Many will already be familiar with SMART goals so i will leave that for the next post when i intend to be laying out exactly how my health and fitness goals are planned.  I know i have talked about JBP (Jordan Petersen) quite a bit in the past, at the moment i am experiencing a fair amount of frustration with JBP and the intellectual dark web because what mainly seems to be happening, in my words, is that they all just seem to be discussing what arguments to have arguments and discussions about.  Every day i try to dip into the many youtube channels where serious discussion is taking place and all well and good….only this week i was kind of listening to one of the debates between Sam Harris and Dr Petersen and after about 10 minutes realised that what i had been thinking about was the rig on the Rossiter boat at Dickies !         However….the other side is that in my actual formulation of plans i have gone right back into JBP’s future authoring because the questions it asks of future plans are extremely relevant and very precise : for example one that keeps popping up which is the question “what would stop me achieving my plan” and right now the answer is that it is the health, fitness and work conundrum that i need to sort out before i can make any progress with the boat plan.  On the positive side what i have put in my plan is a planned treat……that if i can achieve ‘A’ on the weight loss and ‘B’ on the fitness then i can have treat X which is the Welsh boats visit.

The goal….



  1. Hi Steve. Not, I am afraid, a comment on the text, but a thumbs up for a really great header photograph – Foreshore at Wells-next-to-Sea, and with a Devon Yawl, DY16 Mary Elizabeth, in the foreground. Made my day.


  2. That Rossiter Pintail is a lovely solid, traditional-looking cruiser and is cheap! I remember you mentioning the marque last month: the “English Option” in Wales wins? Whatever happens, you at least have the Liberty to fall back on. hopefully not literally! Happy planning and implementation Steve.


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