It wasn’t supposed to be this way. If things had gone to plan, we’d be island hopping through the Belize islands right now slowly working our way towards the Panama Canal. But as so often is the case in the life of nomads, things happen, plans are questioned, then plans change, and eventually plans are abandoned all together. That has been the natural evolution of things for us since we left Marmaris in April. Florida was never on our itinerary in the first place, yet here we are effectively trapped for more than a month now. Our plans have changed so many times we’ve lost count, so today we take the next logical step of abandoning any solid plans in favor of winging it from now on.
The cause of our delay is not serious in the grand scheme of things. Nobody’s sick or injured, nobody got arrested (despite the Coast Guard’s brief annoyance with us), nobody got pregnant (as far as we know), the ship’s mast still stands in a vertical position. We’ve done well to avoid the major stumbling blocks that disrupt the circumnavigation hopes of many others. Our mistakes have been more mechanical in nature. We underestimated the difficulty of preparing a 20 year old boat for a circumnavigation, and we’ve consistently underestimated the time (and money) necessary to make the boat reliable and safe, which now brings us to be way behind our original schedule. Our current delay is caused by our new autopilot system being unable to steer the boat in any sort of heavy weather. We’re now repositioning the hydraulic arm to give it more leverage on the rudder and wiring up a system of electrical switches, relays, and massive cables to deliver more power to the hydraulic pump. These changes will be finished by the weekend (we hope), without them we’ll continue to get the dreaded “Rudder Response Failure” error flashing across our autopilot screens – that is the autopilot’s way of telling us “I don’t have the power to steer the boat, therefore I quit, the boat is going off course, take the wheel yourselves”.
The problem with this delay is that we’ve already arranged for a couple weeks of charity related work in Central America (about a week of sailing away from Florida) which begins on Monday. We’re doing research and due diligence there for Focusing Philanthropy and have a series of appointments set that we can’t reschedule. Our solution is to fly to Central America, complete our work there, then fly back to Tamarisk to continue the journey from Florida. Our passage through the Panama Canal will thus be delayed somewhat from our original plan, but very compatible with our new approach of abandoning so called “schedules” in favor of winging it.