“Knowledge is power.” Consider the number of situations and events where this could be applied. It is a familiar expression actually summarizing a series of three steps: 1. select reliable, credible sources for information, 2. consult them in a timely manner, 3. use the information to make informed decisions. Successful application of these steps to a specific life experience will cause a disturbance, for sailing ventures out of blue skies and flat seas, offer greater growth building opportunities. Just as we navigate the weather at sea, we must also navigate the weathers of life. Aligning with our mission to empower individuals to feel self confident in the face of diversity, gain the skills to “cruise,” and facilitate reflective practice we draw attention to the application of sailing to life experience. Why endure unnecessary difficulties when you have the choice to collect and use knowledge?
“Knowledge IS Power” when originating from a high-quality source. But how do you choose? We elected to evaluate each of our sources using six points to remove emotion and allow facts to surface:
source for information
level of expertise
Following this evaluation, we discontinued our subscription with one weather retrieving company. Although their sources for information were among the most well-respected in the industry (#2) and were used by experts in the field such as the ARC rally (#3), nine months of effort left us still with unresolved communication challenges (#5). We tried to remedy those challenges and called upon their patient customer support personal multiple times, but it just wasn’t getting any easier. Choosing to move on and let them go, was a bit unnerving; at least we had some system to call upon, and knew what it would provide: lots of time, energy, frustration, and every now and then, usable data.
Moving through the discomfort of change to make a choice not to renew our service left a “window of opportunity” to receive something new. With only one day until departure, our senses were open and receptive. We became aware of a company new to us, but actually introduced five months prior by sailors we respected (#2). There was an adjustment period, like with anyone new, where we learned to communicate. Exhausted from a few days of very little sleep working on other “prior to departure tasks,” I was easily frustrated and anxious. The ticking clock served as a constant reminder of the long list of items still not addressed.
…and then, it suddenly clicked: I was able to get reliable data, easily retrieved off shore, from the very best sources and ones my family had relied upon for my life-time (#5, 2)! Vetted by Volvo Race and America’s Cup crews (#3), information was updated hourly(#1), and easily communicated for a reasonable investment! We subscribed to this new source, our new Plan A for weather support,
Our first day out was rough on all fronts. Winds were 25-32 knots, seas increased to 4 meters, 12 feet, and were breaking. Connecting to our sources using the SSB radio failed as five months of living on land left me a bit rusty with use of these offshore communication modes. A tropical storm to the north increased the urgency to over come those challenges. Failure was not an option; I had to try something different to obtain recent weather information. Plan B, send and retrieve email using the SAT phone also failed due to user error. Plan C – use the SAT phone to call my selected contact who: 1. Was personally committed to my success, 2. used the most respected data in the field, 4. had a lifetime of experience reading weather, and 5. with whom I have a life-time of communication. The recommendation came, a new course was laid, and we headed more easterly.
By day two, determination led to success, and we were retrieving weather data from three different sources every 6-8 hours using the SSB, the newly subscribed to APP, and the SAT phone. The credibility of our choices for information was confirmed by checking them to existing conditions, projected reports, and against each other. The uniformity of information received correlated to our own understandings, thus validating our sources for support as we continue on this circumnavigation.
The many storms in life are no different than Tropical Cyclone Cook to our northwest,and the other rotating in the north east. Carefully selecting sources for support and pushing through the discomfort of changing any which aren’t working, opens doors to new opportunity and chances of successfully sailing between life's storms can increase.
Maturing from dependence on others whether they be sailing instructors, spiritual leaders, or teachers of one sort or another, through the self-reliance stage of independence, opens opportunities to achieve maximum effectiveness through interdependence based on thoughtful selection. Are you totally relying on yourself or have you selected reliable, credible sources to assist with your journey?
Through the vehicle of sailing, I continue to learn life’s valuable lessons.
~ Enormous gratitude to Susan Koster, Predict Wind Offshore, Sailmail, and Mother Nature for keeping us safe~