With everything else going on in my life I can't believe that I actually have been thinking about this thread in a serious manner, but truth be told, I have.
At some level I completely understand the skepticism with which this is being viewed. Hang around the online sailing world long enough and you see posts inquiring about almost any lifestyle idea, and almost every idea known to man be presented in the context of boats and the sea.
And these days the word, 'Challenge' seems to get bandied about in all kinds of venues to the point that the meaning of the word itself seems a bit challenged. So, it is easy to become a bit jaded.
But as I thought about my own reaction to this thread I had a couple of thoughts. While I have come to believe that there is no single right answer to almost any sailing question, at least for me, there are some things that seem more correct than others. This is my personal take and my best well-meaning advise, so here goes.
To begin with life is short and as the Welch aphorism goes, "You are dead for a very long time". My first thought is that few of us can afford to decide to do anything for a year that does not add value to our lives. What you choose to value is up to you, but to me life is too short not to be lived as fully as each of us can posibly live our lives. If you are going to challenge yourself to do something for a year, then I would suggest that it better be something that is truly meaningful to you and which leaves you a better person at the end than when you started.
Again, speaking only for myself, the best challenges are those that are purely personal. They are driven by what is inside of you. They have little to nothing to do with proving things to others.
In that regard, if being alone for a year on a boat, without getting off the boat, has meaning to you, then it should not matter that others have spent more time alone without getting off their boat, or that you would not be setting a record, or that others think what you are doing makes no sense to them.
But to me this seems like a very narrow personal challenge and one that seemingly wastes so much of life's most valuable and irreplaceable resource, time. While it should not matter to you what I or anyone says to you about this challenge, still and all, it seems to me that a part of making a challenge worthwhile is to define it in a way that it accomplishes as much as possible.
Staying alone, in and of itself, may accomplish something for you personally, but it seems to me that to have the extreme luxury of taking a year alone, without having other goals seems wasteful. We know nothing about you. We do not know your tallents and abilities, your intellect, your personality, but it would seem that taking a year alone should result in an exploitation of who you are, producing something meaningful for the rest of your life, if not for mankind as a whole. It seems like it should be a time to learn, to grow, to create, and to emerge a better person.
Which gets me back to the question in the original post, what is the right boat?. To me the right boat, will emerge from the definition of your challenge. If you expand the definition of your challenge your right boat may change. If your goal is sedentary, to simply hermit out, then anything big enough to hold what you need to live and cheap enough to afford will work.
But I can only hope that you will expand your challenge to yourself to something broader and richer than being a seaborne hermit. The world of sailing, and the world of the sea offers an opportunity to experience the true richness of being alive in so many ways; voyaging under sail potentially offers a magic carpet that exposes you to so much of the beauty and reality of the world, and provides so much of chance to experience the wonder of mankind's diversity, so much of an opportunity to grow and truly challenge yourself, mentally, physically and for some perhaps spiritually.
But that takes a boat that is capable of voyaging, and the skills, discipline, and resourcefulness to sail her well and husband your limited resources.
Really making that happen, especially using only your own resources, is a challenge, a big challenge, but the rewards can be bigger than life itself.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 03-05-2010 at 12:14 PM.