“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” - Malcolm Gladwell
When we made the decision to go into Cape May after our slog down the New Jersey Coast, we were faced with a decision that was difficult to make. How does one know they are making the right decision? Is it common to make the decision and then doubt it? Or worse yet, fear the shoulda, woulda, coulda of hindsight? How do you make a good decision?
Craig and I typically weigh the pros and cons, as I’m sure that’s how most people do it. Not only do we have to think about the safety of our family, but also we have to take in to account the abilities (or lack there of) of our boat and what she may or may not be able to handle.
While resting at anchor, we were faced with waiting out high wind or confront the wind and waves in order to get around Cape May and head up the Delaware River. The treacherous trek of our 30-hour passage was very fresh in our minds and we weren’t really interested in being in uncomfortable conditions again, so soon anyway. We didn’t want to stay put until the winds died down either because we wanted to push on to Annapolis and take advantage of the good wind (from the appropriate direction) up the Delaware. And we knew we couldn’t go through the Cape May canal because our mast was too tall for the fixed bridge. We scrutinized the chart and the tide tables to figure when we needed to leave in order to have the current in our favor. We also knew that there were many shoals around Cape May and we didn’t feel comfortable dodging them in high winds and waves or in the dark.
What to do, what to do?? We looked at one another and asked “what do you want to do?” and the other said, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Have you ever been paralyzed by this situation? In the end, we felt it was safer to leave in the day light hours. Everything is better in the daytime, right? Plus, as Craig said (jokingly) a daytime rescue was better than a night time one! So we left at 8:45 in the morning slightly ahead of the changing tide to get a head start. As it turned out, the waves were only really bad near the inlet and then seemed to settle down quickly. We were able to hug the beach and make great time up the Delaware. In hindsight, it was a good decision!