'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

“Unwinding” – the A to Z Challenge


A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

How long does it take a cruiser to relax?  How long do you have to be away from the “real” world (and which is “real” anyway?) before you actually arrive aboard?

I guess that must depend on the individual.

The last three years, Nicki and I have taken what we optimistically call our “Annual Summer Cruise”. Because it tends to be cool up here in Maine, “summer” only lasts about 3 weeks, and generally it’s around the end of August/beginning of September.  By then, the ocean has gotten about as warm as it’s going to (high 60’s F), and the sun is still strong enough to make for some nice daytime temperatures unless a cold front comes through.  Of course our average winds drop with the warmer water temperature, so sometimes August has basically no wind.

Sailboats need wind.

And how does all this relate to unwinding on the boat? Well, weather trumps everything.

If we’re set to head out for a couple weeks, and the weather decides to be rainy/nasty or windless, that causes a certain amount of consternation in yours truly. And consternation leads directly to frustration, which is in direct opposition to unwinding…

Now if the first two or three days of the cruise coincide with a stretch of nice weather
– warm enough to be relaxing, with enough wind that we get to actually sail the boat – then there’s a good chance that my shoulders will begin to soften and my face to relax by the third day aboard or so.

On the other hand if the first few days aren’t favorable, I might as well be back pounding nails for all the relaxing I’m able to do. I simply don’t “arrive” in cruising mode until I’ve had a chance to soak in a little good boating juju.

Which is a pity, because I waste precious time aboard with the woman I love and admire, all because mother nature isn’t meeting my expectations. Pretty dumb.


So that’s something I need to work on. Just because something isn’t “perfect” doesn’t mean it’s not good, after all.

The longest continuous time we’ve spent on a boat so far is 20 days, and unfortunately due to a bunch of unavoidable externals it took me 15 days to actually, honestly “arrive” for the experience.

I know, what was I thinking, right?  Obviously I wasn’t. One of my fellow “A to Z Challenge” bloggers at Little Cunning Plan just put up a post about anxieties, and the very real challenges that some folks face in dealing with traumatic situations.  Me, I just get in my own way by having unreasonable subconscious expectations, then blame it on the world, or my wife, or my Karma…

The next cruise is going to be longer – 8 months or so, and I’m really curious about what happens to my subconscious search for cruising perfection when I have that much time to sink into it.




Will I reach new levels of relaxation nirvana?  Will I get bored with it and want to move to Las Vegas?  Stick around and see!

So how about you? When does relaxing find you when you go off duty?


Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house, we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

11 thoughts on ““Unwinding” – the A to Z Challenge

  1. Such a thoughtful article! I have to say that the moment I’m on a boat, I’m in cruising/relax/adventure mode. No problem there. However I sometimes find myself getting so caught-up in achieving life’s next milestone that I miss out on enjoying the present moment. I’m always having to remind myself that there will always be a next milestone and while it’s good to have goals, the MOST important moment is now. Our next big milestone is to get Stormy in the water and get cruising. While I’m just dying to get on the boat and head south, I have to remind myself that our lifestyle is about health, relationships and adventure. Cruising is a means to those ends but not worth sacrificing (even if temporarily) any of those bigger priorities. As a goal-driven person it can be hard for me to think this way, but with practice I’m getting better at it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always a careful balancing act, isn’t it? I’m one who can definitely get caught up in “gotta get it done” mode, and so forget to kick back, get mellow and BREATHE!


  2. It’s just a guess, but I think you’ll find with a longer cruise planned, it’ll be easier to relax and unwind when the weather doesn’t cooperate — you won’t be losing as much. But Nat brought up a really good point. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s next and miss out on what’s happening now. Even after 15 years, I find myself doing the same — on and off the water.

    Cheers, Stephanie


    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right about the length of time available easing that subliminal feeling of “wasted time” that sometimes creeps into my subconscious. It’ll be interesting to observe myself and see how I react!


  3. I was going to say that but Stephanie beat me to it. When we had only 3 weeks for our summer cruise, every rainy day was a day I was gnashing my teeth. It also was irritating to me because we had an open cockpit and a small boat, so were pretty much stuck below with few places to really relax. With our larger boat, we enjoy being inside as much as we do being outside. We have a lot of privacy on board, something most people don’t have. We also have a hard dodger, so we can actually sit outside in the rain if we want to (if it’s warm enough). This summer we had 5 weeks. it seemed like an endless amount of time to us and the minute we stepped on board we were relaxing. We were much able to enjoy the entire cruise because we knew we didn’t have to hurry. I’ll bet you have the same experience. Thanks much for the shout out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The size of the boat is a factor for us too, though our prior boat did have a bimini the last year, which added living space on ll but the wettest days.
    Sionna, of course, has a hard dodger and awning, plus the aft cabin, so space and privacy options have expanded dramatically! Ah, August can’t come soon enough for me – except for all the work I need to accomplish first!


  5. Somehow I can’t picture you living in Las Vegas. Or can I?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful, thought-provoking post, Keith… I am not sure if I am every completely relaxed unless I am meditating and even then some days I can’t get “there” . I think it is something I need to work on too.


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