This post is one of a short series, essentially reflections on the sailing year and other things that have happened.
Those of you that follow my blog will know that i am having an enforced break from sailing due to recently having a knee replacement. I have to admit today that i went into the whole thing very positively but also a bit optimistically. The surgeon said i would need a minimum of 8 weeks off work and as much as 12 depending on how everything progressed. I actually thought that i would need maybe a month of rest, exercise and rehab and i would be up and off sailing and doing other projects. Well as of today i am in week 8 and progress has been frustratingly slow, i haven’t sailed or indeed done any useful boat visits and our camping trip i have to admit was too much and too soon. This week i will have to see my GP about a couple of things and one of those will be the decision about when and if i go back to work. Right now i know i couldn’t spend hours and hours on my feet which is an essential part of my job.
If today’s post photographs have a slightly creek-y theme it’s because i was trying for a really painful pun about creeks (water) and creaky knees….i have however decided to spare you that pain and just say that i took a whole load of new photographs in and around Wells (Norfolk) and the surrounding creeks and shallow harbours. If you haven’t spotted them so far that is where we found the excellently named ‘Washout’ Slack Alice and Grandad which all produced a smile on my part……can you just imagine making a VHF call from Slack Alice ? For a complete tongue-in-cheek VHF call experience just imagine the conversation between a boat i knew in the Carribean (Absolutely Gorgeous) and ‘Slack Alice’ !
I did make plans for this enforced break however, my own boat is safe on her mooring and after a couple of very fuzzy weeks post-op i got down to my main plan of working through the ‘ocean’ and ‘thin water’ series of posts with a bit of sea-going navel-gazing thrown in too. The update on all of that is that we did seriously consider going down the ofshore/ocean-going boat and with that in mind went to see the Javelin half tonner. I almost went for it right away as i could see a way of producing a very capable cruising boat from what was there and the price was good enough to get the project started. The delay caused by my knee surgery gave me the space to write the whole ocean and thin water posts though and it was that process of writing which convinced me not to go that way….in fact as a worst case scenario to just stick with the little Liberty because it does such an excellent job even though it’s too small and not a great sailing boat. The further update on the Javelin is that the broker left me a message to say that her owner really-really wanted shot of her and would consider almost any offer…..the last i saw was that she was on Ebay , had been sold but the buyer was a time-waster and she was back on again. She would be a lot of boat for the couple of thousand pounds she was likely to go for although my conservative estimate was still another ten thousand or so for the full refit that she needed.
What i was hoping to do this week was 3 posts, very detailed and picture-rich posts about the 3 top picks on my boat list. As i explained in the last post that fell apart due partially to a bit of medical one-upmanship on the part of the broker who, while waiting for a knee replacement, was actually in hospital having a major heart procedure. His partner definitely wasn’t happy with the idea of me scrambling up a ladder and negotiating a greasy deck. We did however have a conversation about one of the boats : my actual top pick which is the Keyhaven Yawl. At 31 feet and ‘boxy’ i felt that would be our best compromise option for a shallow draft and long term cruising boat. The story from the broker is that the boat has been ashore and neglected for 7 years after being sold to her current owner by the same broker for £30.000. That she is now on the market for £11.000 is of course very odd. The broker has pointed out that the boat is neglected and apparently needs some work….fair enough and the boat is ply-epoxy which is the one form of boat construction that i am happy to work with. Whatever….it will have to wait until i can scoot up and down a greasy ladder !
Earlier in the post i mentioned that we have been back to Norfolk and while we were there got out and about a bit and i got more pictures for the blog. The entire area is a shallow water delight and i would really like to get a boat there just to cruise around the area on the north Norfolk coast from Brancaster to Blakeney, and of course Wells is right in the middle of that. The Liberty would be the perfect boat for that as she will float in just 18 inches and dry out level on the sand or in any of the creeks. This is the main entrance river to Wells quay with the main channel just in the background and i came down here several times to look at the kind of boats that actually live in this kind of environment and see what could be learned from them. I was mainly interested in keel configurations and how well the various boats took the bottom. The sandy bottom in that area isn’t perfectly level as you can see, and is normal, in fact there are quite large dips and ripples in the sand. I was wondering, now wondering out loud, how the Keyhaven would sit on that surface with its necasary beaching legs. The long keel i think would do well although my main concern would be one of the legs sitting in a dip or ripple as she settled. Quite often what i could see were boats in the smaller creek area upstream not settling level but taking up quite random positions : even the symmetrical bilge keelers. As have no experience whatsoever with beaching legs i have no idea how well they would work and i would hate to get a boat there only to find that i had to be alongside an expensive marina pontoon.
Time now to introduce the main theme of this post and the next series of posts now that i am at the end of the ocean and thin water posts until i have seen some boats and got more material to work with.
The main theme today is about using the process of thinking and writing as a tool in problem solving and a lot of what i have to say about that derives directly from watching and listening to ‘that Canadian bloke’ and working on 2 of the main exercises that he puts forward. The Canadian bloke is of course Dr Jordan Petersen who, if you haven’t come across him yet is a clinical psychologist , a tenured professor of psychology at Toronto university and nowadays a rockstar status academic whom nearly everyone in the media wants to interview …..or at least have a pop at.
I picked up on JBP’s work through a suggested channel on my youtube feed about 2 years ago just when he was suddenly becoming very controversial in his stance about speech and the mandatory use of preferred pronouns : Bill C16 in the Canadian legislature if you want to check that out. What i got into wasn’t so much that but his extraordinary series of filmed lectures in the field of personality psychology. For about a year i spent some time in JBP’s lecture hall (online) listenned to all of one years worth of the lecture series and even started working through the huge amount of literature needed to start to understand the basics of the subject.
This year JBP released 2 very useful online tools, in brief the self-authoring programme and an online personality traits test based on the Big 5 traits theory. I will briefly talk about both of those here because both are relevant to what i am writing about today. The JBP version of the Big 5 traits is based on major work done by one of his PHD students that takes the Big 5 and breaks each trait down into 2 additional factors is being cited in the academic literature as much more nuanced than the original theory and seems to be completely ‘Kosher’ science rather than BS and woo-woo. I won’t go too far into Big 5 trait theory except for a few comments here. The basic idea is that personality is measurable along a series of 5 main traits :the 5 traits being (CANOE) conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extraversion….. i will have to give an example to illustrate this. Each trait isn’t a yes/no but rather a scale which can be given a percentile number. I for example am very low on trait extraversion (about 15 %) which basically means that in a room of 100 ‘average’ people i would be the 15th most extraverted……not exactly hiding in the corner but definitely not ‘working the room’. The relevance to today’s post is that i am very high on trait openness which is tightly linked to intellect and creativity. It specifically doesn’t mean high IQ which is purely a measurement of problem solving ability across several domains but does suggest that i am at least interested in a whole load of different stuff, really appreciate art, music and litererature and am likely to be highly creative or need a creative outlet. It’s become very apparent to me that i do need a creative outlet and at the moment that is mainly served by my own blog and in the past by being a content provider on other websites….it’s one of those other websites that i will ultimately be talking about today.
Big 5 trait test link……seriously worthwhile. https://www.understandmyself.com/
Pause for gratuitous boat-porn picture…….
The second part of my JBP inspired musings today are about the other major exercise that i continue to work on and that is a combination of past and future authoring. Once again and in brief , the idea of past authoring is to write a directed autobiography using significant events from 7 life epochs and to then consider the long term effects that derive from that….sorry that’s a bit simplistic but hey ! The other version, future authoring, is all about designing a ‘better plan’ for the next stage of life. I did mine pretty fast because i felt i needed some immediate answers. It was a useful exercise except that a complete unseen got in the way of the plan and that of course was the knee replacement. Why i mention it now is because i am probably going to redo the whole thing in light of that change.
Together then those 2 things , the traits test and the self authoring have been at the centre of my non sailing life this year. The key part of the traits test hasn’t been so much a bit too much navel-gazing but to try and work out what i should be doing next. A quick explanation of that is we could see traits as ‘temperament’ simplistically and then wonder what our temperament would be best suited for doing in life. For me having a high factor (compassion) within agreeableness , although a very low degree of factor politeness coupled with high conscientiousness and stability has clearly been very effective as a nurse. What has been a complete train-wreck though is that having high creativity (trait openness) just doesn’t work in the NHS for example in my own job which is basically a production line. Mentally my job is completely under stimulating and physically uncomfortable, however what i could say is that at 60 i’m not totally ready for the scrap heap and it might be worth thinking about an entirely different job. It might be , for example, that i could find a way of using my new skills as a blogger and writer to make a small income that would support a sea based lifestyle. In an important way this is the complementary side to finding the ideal boat……essentially also designing the next ‘purpose’ outside sailing.