Just enough is a blessing
Quantity, distance, speed, depth, wind — aboard a boat the list of things to be measured, accounted and considered is long, if not innumerable. The goal, almost always, is to have just enough. My Rule of Just Enough is to never lack but certainly not to have an excess.
An exception to My Rule of Just Enough, is depth. Just enough water under the keel can be nerve-wracking, if not foolhardy. When sailing, I can’t have too much water under the keel. Too-much-is-not-a good-thing comes into play again when you take the boat to anchor and illustrates a second rule, Having too much of one thing often leads to not having enough of another. So, a too-deep anchorage leads to a need for more rode, more rode leads to more weight to pull back onto the boat, which leads to a need for more aspirin.
Too much heel and every loose item in my cabin flies from its proper place and settles on the low side of the boat: clattering, crashing and banging with each tack. This not only breaks things, offends the crew and passengers, but it affects efficiency. Spilling air from the tops of sails while the contents of the boat migrate to the low side is not a situation to be sought after.
The sweet spot — the perfect balance of wind (which can’t be adjusted) and sail (which can be adjusted) — is the goal. More wind calls for less sail, but there is certainly a point of too much wind. No sailor would hope for sixty knots. That would be excessive. Excess at sea is to be avoided.
The inclinometer, knotmeter, the barometer and the anemometer all measure what sailors hope will be just enough.
Too much weight, too big a wave, too cranky a skipper, too quick a period, too much yawl … If the words “too much” come to mind, the situation must be mediated. If there is no cure, the situation must be endured.
Even when provisioning, careful thought is given to having just enough to feed an ever-hungry crew. Tiny and often inefficient refrigerators force considering the problem of having too much to store while assuring there is enough to eat.
In life ashore, the concept of too much is lost with our constant striving to gain ever more. We yearn for a home with too much space so we can store too much stuff. We strive for a three car garage to protect our cars with too much power that guzzle too much gas. We eat too many calories then complain that we ourselves are too big.
Pondering the excess of my land-based lifestyle on this Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for the lesson I learned aboard a boat. The gift of knowing when I have just enough is what I am thankful for.