‘It doesn’t matter so much what you decide, it’s the way you apply your decision.’
Alasdair McGregor was talking at the Olympia Adventure Show about lessons learned from his Atlantic rowing experience in 2003, when he and Andrew Vinsen were the first British crew to cross the line in Barbados.
Later, as we were having a few bevvies in the pub with the Woodvale guys (organisers of Atlantic Rowing Race), I asked him what he’d meant. ‘Just that you can’t dither. Be consistent. Make a decision based on the information you have available at the time, and stick with it. Or maybe decide a point at which you’ll review it. But don’t waste a lot of time worrying about whether it was the RIGHT decision.’
Ranulph Fiennes put it another way, in his book Beyond the Limits:
‘When you can’t make up your mind and the experts’ advice is contradictory, keep an open mind, balance all likely factors, plan for a bad scenario and go for the best compromise solution. Then, once you’ve made your decision, stick to your guns.’
Timely advice. I’d been dithering about where to live for the summer while I kit out my boat – Devon, where I’d be nearer the Woodvale people, or Brighton, where I’d be nearer London. And also dithering whether to take up an invitation to crew on a friend’s yacht, Steamy Windows, from Cape Verde to the Azores – invaluable ocean experience, but expensive to get the necessary flights. And also dithering about what laptop to use during the race – whether a ruggedised laptop was really necessary, and whether to forsake Mac for PC for compatibility reasons.
But no more deliberations. Based on the information I have right now, Brighton, Steamy Windows and PC it is. Onwards and upwards!