Boating Adventures | "Part II of Goals: Remembering the Buddy System" | Text and 7 Photos by Vicki Totten

Practicing "Man Overboard"
with Wilson

"I need to lose 10 pounds." Or "I really should exercise more." Do either of those sound familiar? How often have you set a loose goal only to have it disappear almost as soon as it is set? Sometimes even when the goal is important, we allow life to distract us from it, we don't identify how we intend to reach our goal, or we set ourselves up for failure by how we frame it. And while changing "I need to" to "I want to" or "I really should" to "I will" can help - it sometimes still isn't enough. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends.

If you have ever had an exercise buddy, you know how effective this can be. None of us want to leave our friend waiting for us at 7:00 a.m. because we changed our mind. What is it that gets my husband to show up at Barton Springs three mornings a week at 6:00 a.m. to swim? Knowing his friend is there waiting for him. It's the same thing that finally got me to start swimming in that same frigid body of water - having a buddy to swim with (well, that and discovering wet suit shirts to keep me from freezing to death).

And it is the thing that allowed my husband and me to finally reach a goal that had alluded us for over two years. Each year we "intended" to sail our 33' sailboat Alegria to Port Aransas and out into the open water of the Gulf. And each year we failed to reach that goal. That is, until we remembered that sometimes we just need a little help from our friends. That, and a plan.

Alegria on her voyage

By timing our trip to coincide with an offshore regatta sponsored by the Rockport Yacht Club, we committed ourselves by paying to participate as cruisers over to Port Aransas. We then took it a step further by inviting our friend Angie to drive from Austin to crew with us. And finally, when we committed to caravan with our friends Peggy and Scott who were taking their boat Seabean out to the gulf for the first time as well, there was no turning back. Even though Peggy and Scott were also fairly new boat owners, we considered them to be the more experienced sailors since they live near their boat year round, compared to our three years of part-time sailing.

Scott after our arrival in Port A

 Peggy enjoying coffee the next morning.

 Peggy and Scott's boat Seabean

By utilizing the "buddy system" to reach our goal, we were more at ease, more committed, and I am certain, had way more fun. Our journey was often accompanied by dolphins and included crossing between the ferries in Port A, passing barges the size of football fields, and rocking up and down in the rough water of the jetties on our way out to open water. In addition to tremendous amounts of joy and laughter, it was also accompanied by frequent communications between our boats, which served as a reminder to us that we were not alone in this endeavor.

Sharing the Lane with barges the size of football fields
So, while one purpose of goals is often to keep us moving forward, if we remember that goals can also be fun - especially if we include other people in our efforts to achieve them - then we are more likely to be successful in achieving them.

Celebrating afterward

And finally, while we like to think that we alone are responsible for achieving our goals, in my experience, it is always the people we include along the way, whether it is a mentor, a teacher, a friend, a family member, or a boss, that determines whether we will continue forward or give up. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat and are still working up the nerve to venture further out into the Gulf.

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