Trying to think of five New Year resolutions for a blog has made me realise I am fairly high up on the spectrum of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). – which is a good thing when it comes to sailing. I think a lot of good cruising sailors and racers need to have that inner urge to do things the right way. The self discipline to make sure you have prepared everything. Everything is adjusted just so, all neat and tidy, everything in it’s place.
It all starts with getting the small things right and the big things fall into place. Let’s take coiling ropes for instance. Coil them up neatly before you put them away; nice big coils, no kinks, enough turns around to prevent it from unravelling in the locker and not slamming the lid down.
I know I would not be able to accept a badly coiled piece of rope going into the locker. I would feel that if I let that go in something bad would happen, so I have to correct it and make it neat. In the landlubber world that urge would be considered slightly odd and not healthy, however, on a yacht if you let lax, shoddy coils of rope go into the cockpit locker, bad things WILL happen! You never know when you need a rope quickly, it may be dark, and it is such a relief when you pull out a perfectly coiled easy- to -undo piece of rope, put into action smoothly and professionally. In contrast if you pick up a bunch of “doodahs” a slight hitch that requires a bit of rope can result in disaster.
Every little thing I feel the urge to do helps to look after the boat, the crew and presents a good image to everyone else that the boat is cared for. Not slamming doors keeps the gelcoat in good shape, the fenders all lined up and equally spaced so that they share the load equally and don’t burst; they look neat and tidy and show that someone cares. Everything stowed in it’s place, the ensign neatly rolled, ropes tidied out of the way.
All little things that I have an obsessive compulsion to do, but which result in the protection of the boat and ultimately all who sail on her. So my resolution for 2015 is to allow and encourage my OCD urges! I don’t think I am too unusual though, as the maritime world is littered with good advice to keep you on the straight and narrow, here are a few of my favourites to live by…
“Everything ship shape and Bristol fashion.”
“Do it well, do it once.”
“If it’s not right, it’s wrong.”