Cruising up the East Coast

This past month a friend asked me to move his sailboat from Beaufort North Carolina to Clinton Connecticut. I immediately began to plan my voyage, assemble my crew, and gather my supplies. I knew from past voyages if the conditions where ideal the trip would take 10 days. I also knew several factors could extend the trip by weeks or even months. Weather was the biggest unknown and would ultimately determine what course I would take; motoring inland through the canals and bays of the Intracoastal Waterway or offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

Weather conditions and the resulting route and schedule would have an impact on fuel consumption, food and water availability and use, and sleeping and duty schedules. I had to develop contingency plans for a spectrum of possible scenarios. I asked a retired fisherman and tugboat Captain to join me on the trip to ensure there was an experienced sailor at the helm at all times. Two other friends volunteered to come along to fill in as deck hands. They had little or no offshore experience, but they were skilled in other areas and were able and willing. In the weeks leading up to our planned departure I prepared a variety of meals which I vacuumed packed and froze. I filled my sea-bag with shorts and tank tops and foul weather gear. I prepared a “ditch bag” with a spare radio, binoculars, GPS, compass, and hand tools. I was now ready to meet a variety of possible challenges I could encounter on my trip.

My crew and I departed Beaufort on schedule under fair skies. Over the next several days we covered more water than I anticipated. The weather remained favorable and we were able to head offshore and sail from Virginia to New York Harbor a half a day ahead of schedule. Our early arrival required a slight adjustment to our course and speed. The route through New York to Long Island Sound would bring us through Hell Gate on the East River, where the current can reach 5 knots. The boat had a hull speed of 6 knots, so I needed to time our arrival with the incoming tide, and event that only occurred every 12 hours. Our timing was perfect. However, as we approached the Verrazano Bridge our tachometer failed followed by the failure of the autopilot and depth sounder. While I navigated the river Captain Marty took steps to conserve our remaining battery power and investigate the problem. He discovered the fault and the remainder of our midnight run through New York City was incredible. We anchored in Long Island that night and continued into Connecticut waters the following day. We finished our trip within the allotted time and budget while meeting our goal of delivering the boat and crew safely to Clinton Harbor.

My trip was not unlike many of my projects; it had a defined beginning and end, a scope, budget, and schedule. My job as a project manager and as the Captain was to meet those goals. My career in construction management has helped me develop the ability to visualize the progression of a project and prepare for planned and unplanned events. I believe the key to the success of any project is to have a team of individuals that performs at a professional and highly skilled level both individually and as a group. In order to perform at this level they must have the equipment, tools, training, and motivation to do so. My job as a construction manager, and recently as a Captain, was to provide those resources.

What is a Project?

The skills needed to be an effective and successful construction manager are the same skills needed to plan any project including sailing a boat, building a garden, hosting a party, or completing a college course.

Thank you Rolf Premier, Michael Jensen, and Captain Marty Stillufsen for your contribution to the success of our latest project.

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