Curious dreamer AND practical realist

In my last post – On Becoming a Skipper, there are two adjacent branches of the mindmap: ‘curious dreamer’ and ‘realist’. I have put a key against each one, because I think they are both important. 

You might say: “What! A dreamer and a realist? There’s a crew problem before you start.” Well, yes, there could be, but we are talking about one person – you, the skipper, plus a great deal of common sense. 

The practical realist keeps his/her feet firmly on deck and practices the art of the possible – here – now. The realist says, “This is the problem, these are the current resources available – (time, crew, experience, money). This is the solution, Let’s get on with it.”

The curious dreamer says, “What if. . .?” The dreamer uses his/her imagination and creates a wider framework for the realist to work in. The dreamer in you stretches the boundaries, expands the horizon, looks beyond the present and explores the possibilities. The realist in you expresses the solutions in current time. You need a realist when caught in a gale on a lee shore – although if he had listened to the curious dreamer he might have been able to avoid it in the first place.  

The realist will say, ”Your great-grandfather was an example of a practical man. Look how he coped with that storm.”

The next morning it moderated a bit when we soon got and entered the Bay of Biscay, when the wind shifted around to the South West and blew very heavy and we had to heave to. We found her a miserable sea boat. She would not come up and take the seas end on, but merely fall off and allow the seas to roll over her in the trough of the sea. We smashed away a good deal of the lee bulwarks to try and relieve her. After two or three days the wind veered to the North West, still blowing very heavy, when we had to get her on the other tack and smash away more bulwarks. (here)

The dreamer would say, “But he was a dreamer too. Look how things opened up for him because he signed on for that trip to Shanghai. He saw there were possibilities that would come out of the voyage and he took the opportunities when they came to him. Surely, he was both a dreamer and a realist. The two work together.

He went and told the Captain, when I was called aft and explained to the Captain that I had served 4 years at sea mostly in the Bristol Channel. When I was appointed pilot. We worked down the north shore to the Nash when the wind went a little more to the north, and the next morning we was going between Lundy Island and Hartland Point. We had a fine time down passed the Scilly Islands. The Captain was very pleased with my pilotage and thanked me very much. He hoped to repay me before we parted, which he did by lending me books and instruments and learning me navigation, that, within a fortnight of terminating the voyage, I went in at Plymouth and passed my first examination! (here)

So what of this blog? The realist will tell you, “This is not sailing. This is talking-about-sailing. It’s not the real thing at all.” The dreamer will say, “Ah, yes. But look how the framework changes. Every time I step on board I have a better understanding of what I am doing and a greater excitement in carrying it out. There are possibilities here that I have a mere inkling of, and, if the past nine months are anything to go by, many more that I no nothing about out about yet.”

Yesterday we went to the theatre in Plymouth. On the way we stopped to check Blue Mistress was secure. At 1700 on a Saturday evening in August in one of the crowded anchorages of Devon, in the drizzle and wind, only one boat was away from its moorings. This summer is for the curious dreamers. The practical realists are pacing up and down in frustration.