S Words: 2020 Sailing Resolutions

I remember the original airing of the 1996 Saturday Night Live sketch. The one with Darrell Hammond playing Sean Connery in Celebrity Jeopardy and repeatedly mis-pronouncing the category “S Words” as “Swords”. I am not sure why it was so funny or how it made its way into the vault of inside jokes shared between me and my bestie James, but it did.

I suppose this is the reason why my sailing resolutions for 2020 make me smile.

So, here’s the thing about New Year’s resolutions. I love them. I start thinking about my annual resolutions at least a month in advance, I write them down, I contemplate them, I re-write them, I categorize them. If I am going to get a clean slate and a fresh start, I want to make the most of it.

This year, though, was a little different. Not with the process…all of that writing, contemplating, and categorizing is a hard habit to break. It was the nature of it that felt different. Maybe because it was a whole new decade and Facebook kept telling me that my friends and family couldn’t wait to leave the last decade in the dust, to discard past experiences and move forward. I considered the gravity of feeling that an entire decade was more negative than positive.

I’ve been there myself. The 1990’s and 2000’s? Collectively, I was happy to see those done and done. I learned a lot of hard lessons in those years. Cried a lot of tears. But the 2010’s? That was “MY” decade! I finished two Ironman triathlons, met the love of my life, transitioned from a company I helped build to a job that offered more travel opportunities, learned to sail, and deepened my relationships with friends and family. Is there more work to be done? Well of course. But the foundation set in the past decade has me feeling grounded and happy. Like I am at a launch point where the best is yet to come.

And naturally that brings me to the topic of sailing and resolutions.

Admittedly, sailing is a very a small part of our lives. We live in Denver, we have regular jobs, we sail only on vacation. So why does it get a whole category of resolutions? And why do they all start with “S”?

The second question was just a fluke that now amuses me because of the whole “swords” thing. But the first question is a bit more complex, and in the resolution contemplation phase, I wondered more than once why I bothered to have separate categories of resolutions. Did I really need so many?

Last year my sailing resolutions were a bit more “me” centric. Where was I going to sail, what was I going to do? Fair enough. This year, we again have some incredible trips planned to places we’ve never been. It is hard to contain my excitement about sailing in Cuba, then from Guadeloupe to Martinique, the San Juan Islands, and finally Greece. Maybe the BVI if we can swing it. There is no place I’d rather be than on a boat with Charles. It is my happy place.

But the resolutions? This year, I am feeling less self-absorbed about it all, possibly because of that sense of groundedness, that things are finally in place personally and I can explore areas a bit more external to my own experience. So, this year, those “things” I want to accomplish fall squarely in the realm of impact. Personal growth? Yeah, sure, but with the end game less for personal gain.

So here they are. My 2020 Sailing Resolution S Words:

Sustainability

Of all the resolutions, this feels the most necessary and the area that needs the most work. About four months ago I stumbled on the Instagram account of @katieboue. I think it was because we were considering a sailing trip to Cuba and she has strong ties to the area. But it was her commitment to sustainability, our national parks, and just making better choices for our earth that kept me coming back. The more I followed her the more I realized how much more I could be doing. I had considered myself pretty “earth friendly” in a re-using plastic baggies and carrying cloth bags to the grocery store kind of way. But if I am honest, I was only doing it “when convenient”. Ouch. Truth is, there is a world of information that I simply was missing because I was failing to do the research. Katie had a post at one point about whether it was ok to leave behind orange peels on a hike thinking they would easily decompose. The answer is no. I didn’t know that. And I want to know that.

So, this year, 2020, I am resolved to learning and sharing as much as I can about how I personally can live a more earth and ocean-friendly life. I want to build a better sustainability knowledgebase and share what I learn with other sailors who also care about our oceans and our world. I’ll be tapping into all of the resources I can get my hands on, including the incredible @outdooradvocacy project launched by my sustainability hero Katie in December. It’s a game changer!

Skills

As with anything, the more you do something, the better you get. Practice makes perfect.

It seems I need more practice.

My sailing confidence has grown in many areas, but in others I simply default to letting Charles handle it because he knows how. You don’t have to say it, I already know. This is lazy. It is also irresponsible. What if something happens? What if we must, heaven help us, rely on ME {gasp}?

But more than that, how in the world can I help others learn to do something I am avoiding doing myself? If one of my core goals with my website is to help pave the way for individuals interested in learning to sail, can I really do that if I am not willing to actually learn all of the things?

So, this year I am resolved to a renewed journey of learning. To step out of my sailing comfort zone and face the failure that I know is in store for me as I work toward improvement, with the hope that once I’ve figured something out, no matter how long it takes, I can break down the process in a way that might help someone else.

Safety

Safety never takes a holiday, and we have been reminded of this on more than one occasion sailing, often reflecting back on how much worse things could have been. There have been times when we just didn’t think to do certain things, or worse, we were complacent believing “we’ve sailed a lot and that never happens”. So far, we’ve been lucky. We’ve dodged a few bullets.

In 2020 I aspire to avoid learning lessons the hard way. So, Charles and I will be taking a fastidious approach to safety – both writing about and executing ways that sailors, particularly those new to sailing, can ensure they and their crew return to the marina unscathed.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I learned that from my friend Lindsay and I plan to install it as my motto. So no doubt there will be many “put your seat belt on” mom-like blogs coming your way.

Service

When I started this whole website I wanted to write, I wanted to play, I wanted to share, and I wanted to create. With the website being a bit over a year old, I find myself still wanting these things, but my deeper desire rests with the idea of serving others. What information will help people who are interested in sailing but not sure how to start? What questions can I help answer? How can I best serve the charter sailing community?

I wish I had all of the answers. I don’t. But I can say that I am trying to figure it out. We have been building search tools to help sailors have easier access to information and service providers, and we will continue to create new tools to serve this community.

In the coming months more “how to” resources and, you guessed it, skill breakdowns (see previous resolution) will be featured in the “new sailor” area of the website. We want to be a relevant resource for charter sailors. We want to serve them to the very best of our ability. So, in 2020, serving is what we’ll strive for.

And finally Sailing. Our favorite S Word. We want it to be yours too, so maybe if you haven’t already completed your resolutions, go ahead and put “Learn to Sail” right at the top.

Posted by gorilla