2017 Atlantic Crossing, First World Problems

The boat and everything on it is all we have, it is finite.

When you set off to cross an ocean, that moment where you cast the lines off and point the bow out to sea is the moment where the boat becomes your world and every resource on board is finite.  Food, water, fuel, sails, power, toilet roll, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, teabags, batteries, clothes pegs, fish hooks, lures, fishing line, everything is finite.

Yes, we have provisioned for the expected duration of the trip and then some and in doing this we have also cast our fate to the wind.  A change in weather pattern can easily add days to a voyage, unexpected gear failure, loss of mast, sails or engine could add weeks to a trip.  Everything is finite.

The sails are up and the last sight of land is a speck on the horizon, we are on our own now, there is no nipping back to the shop for the forgotten loaf or pint of milk.  We have what we have, so we will look after what we have, we will waste as little as possible.

This reality brings a change of mindset.  Every time I brush my teeth I use less toothpaste than I would ordinarily.  I turn the tap on only twice to rinse my brush.   I use one teabag to make at least two if not three brews.  I have half a spoon of honey in my tea instead of a generous Winnie the Pooh ration.  I use a spot of washing up liquid on a sponge and do the dishes with a minimal amount of water in the sink.  I eat a handful of the small packet of Maltesers and put them away.  I do the same the next day. 

Meals are cooked according to what fruit and veg is ripening the most quickly.   The weather decides our navigation strategy, that strategy dictates how much diesel we can use for either power or propulsion.  And thus, in turn, our meal plans, food and drink rations all hinge on the weather.  Everything is finite.

I realise how simple it is, to use less, to have less, to conserve.  It is a change in mindset, it begins with a nagging knowledge that everything around you is finite.

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