Whats Luck got to do with it?

“You two are so lucky to be doing this.”

We heard that comment often when we were getting prepared to go, while we were out there and when we returned. Luck indeed had a role to play but there’s a saying about luck that I hold dear,

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Get a Boat

We purchased our boat in October 2015 and shipped it from Ohio to Newfoundland. Our intent was to get her ready and spend the next summer exploring areas of Newfoundland we had not ventured into before. It would give us time to get to know Ingomar and allow Filbert an opportunity to get his sea legs back.

All the while, we dreamed of blue water sailing and constantly read about how others were doing it. We planned on doing it too, but we had a long-term plan, probably a 5-year plan. Then we bought a whiteboard.


There’s another saying I like,

“Ink it, don’t think it.”

Along with our whiteboard we bought a calendar and one weekend, over several bottles of wine, we hatched a plan. On our whiteboard, we listed the big goals, and on the calendar we listed deadlines. We spent the entire weekend mapping out a long-term plan to get to a point where we could leave. Still five years out.

There were many things to tick off but that weekend the wheels were set in motion, mainly in our minds but more importantly in our actions. What we didn’t fully realize was that we were getting ready to go long-term sailing, sooner than later.

Spring plans

Come springtime we were in the water early. Keen to get to know our new boat, we spent a good month in cold temps, breaking ice off the lines in James Cove, teaching Filbert to tread carefully on the icy deck and eagerly welcoming the suns warmth on cool, clear mornings. We also spent many magical evenings cocooned in our cabin stirring up dreams of adventure.

Ingomar proved to be a great boat and the more we sailed her the more we loved her. We planned a trip to Notre Dame Bay, devising a plan to spend the major part of summer on the boat.

A cold morning in James Cove, NL – May, 2016

Opportunity knocks

As chance would have it an opportunity came out of the blue. In early June, I saw a window open and that’s when the light came in. On a whim, I offered our house up for rent, not thinking too much would come of it. Two days later the company called to say that someone was interested in viewing our house. On Monday I called Al to ask him if he’d be interested in showing our place. On Wednesday we showed it, and 10 days later we signed a rental agreement. 1 month later we gave our notices at work and on July 29 we headed south.

When we told some of our cruiser friends how long we had to get ready for our trip, many were shocked. But really, this didn’t happen in 8 weeks. Our overnight opportunity wasn’t created overnight, it was years in the making. In reality it would not have been possible if we had not worked towards our goal, constantly and consciously.  We had dedicated many years to realizing our dream – we’d taught ourselves to sail, gone through 4 boats, moved and relocated often, all with one purpose in mind – to go sailing full time.

But more importantly, we had consciously committed to a goal. When the option to go opened up, we knew three things,

  • our boat was sound,
  • we were both ready and
  • Filbert was a sailor cat


And that is luck. You really can make your own. It takes commitment and determination but if you want something bad enough, then you just have to start working towards it. Make a list, buy a whiteboard, open that window.

You won’t be sorry.

June 10, 2016 – Here’s to luck, opportunity and preparation

Author: tess

We, Al my husband, Filbert my cat and I, sailed our 37-foot Tartan to the Caribbean from Newfoundland in 2016-2017. We documented it on our blog, greatbigsail.com Today I continue to write about sailing, improve my photography skills, practice graphic design and dream about sailing.

6 thoughts on “Whats Luck got to do with it?”

  1. I only just got around to reading your latest post.
    It only makes sense, that planning takes years, then the preparation part, holy moly. Well done.
    Your crew made it look like a walk in the park.
    I’m just so thankful that you made a safe return. We all enjoyed your blog, including your spectacular photos.

    1. Well thanks but it was a walk in the park, from my perspective. When you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t seem hard or boring, and maybe that’s why it worked out so well. Everything fell into place. Or the universe was unfolding as it should (I love that one) 🤩

  2. 👍

    I may be back in Caribbean in February. I believe 100% in making your own future? Safe journey, fair winds….

    1. Hi Lorraine, Lucky you 😊. I see Toodle-oo and friends are currently in Dominica helping them rebuild. Enjoy the sun and nice to here from you!

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