"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

The readiness is all (or a note on the "reduction of variables")

>> Sunday, February 3, 2013

The readiness is all  (or a note on the ”reduction of variables”)

   You fly down to the USVI to join an old friend, the Harvey Gamage. She is a Schooner, two masts, gaff rigged, built of wood and dreams. How many hundreds (thousands?) have crossed her decks? How many sea miles under her keel?  She sits there, seeming exactly the same as she always is, ready to go. But having been here before, you know that no matter who the last captain was, there will be many, many things to do.
   Several crew members who are new to OCF are busy training up and bringing online OCF policies, teachings, and philosophies.  There is also fuel, water, food (people fuel), and other supplies to buy. The educators work hard getting things organized. After all, it’s a high school and schools need books, science gear, paper, tools…
     How to get it all done? Well, first we never do it on our own. There’s the office (Thanks Office!), the other ships in the fleet, the local suppliers. Then it’s organized chaos.  The list never gets shorter.  There’s always something to improve, one more thing to buy, more paint, more food, more filters for the generator. Figuring all this out is what we refer to as “The reduction of variables,” so that everything that can be controlled is. What about those that we cannot control? Well, that is what we train for, the unexpected, so that when it happens, (and it will), we can deal with it in a serious professional manner.
   No matter how long you have to prepare, there will always be something “wrong,” something undone, something you cannot get, and something you forget.
   So finally the students arrive and the ship is as ready as you can make her. So you raise anchor and away you go. And the ship does her best and you do yours.  No one can ask for more or hope for more.
    That is what sailing is all about. Dealing with immediate consequences and learning from them.
This is of course why we are all here: to learn from the Sea, The Ship, and our Shipmates.

   Fair winds. Captain Flansburg


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