Ed. note: Scott and Mary Flanders landed in Brazil on October 19, 2006. The following article on the factors that motivated the Flanderses to undertake their adventure was written by Scott en route to Brazil from the Canary Islands.
Start out with baby steps
Crossing an ocean by any small private yacht, power or sail, involves a wide range of preparatory measures from making sure the boat is in top order, stocking enough spare parts, getting personal issue (like bill paying) sorted out, and ensuring a solid means of communicating with the outside world is in place. The details are quite extensive but when the lists of the lists are completely checked off, leave during the seasonal weather window and all should be well. You will have stretches of great weather, bounce a bit, be happy to make landfall, be happy to ship out, and before you know it you will have arrived at your destination. When you arrive cannot matter. This is very important: never have a schedule for something as complex as weather and ocean currents over as many days and miles as is required by a crossing.
There comes a time when you get to the point of needing to address those specific issues. For the crew of Egret, it was over a year-and-a-half period from early 2005 until end of summer ’06. And we were very successful in the planning stage of our trip. But before you can even begin to think about plans and preparations, you must start with a first step – a realization that adventure by water is a dream you’d like achieve. Once you’ve “caught the bug” you simply need to get yourself on a boat and start accumulating hours.
All boating adventures start with their first step. Ours started many years ago in small fishing boats. These hours on the water do count in your overall knowledge. We learned along the way, paid attention to details, and enjoyed the challenges of the unknown taken small steps at a time. When enough small steps are taken you increase your stride. Do you remember the first day you took the family car out alone for the first time? You were terrified, mortified and stupefied (to quote a movie line). Soon you knew you were good. Sometime after that, you actually were good. Long distance boating is exactly the same. Big responsibility, much, much less risk. All you have to do is put in the hours and pay attention to details. The Egret crew is no more special than any single reader of these lines. We do not have salt water in our veins. All we have done is what we said - put in the hours and paid attention to details. Nothing more.