Cruising is often thought of as carefree and relaxed. There is no stress because there is no schedule! This holds true as long as you live a life with no schedule.
Sadly, a scheduleless life is usually a solitary one. How will you meet up with friends and family while cruising without a schedule? How will they know when to come somewhere to meet up? Landlubbers love their schedules, but cruisers also have them too.
Imagine that you meet another boat and you guys plan to meet again at another island in a month. You now have a schedule!
If you have a powerful diesel motor,, schedules are rather easy to follow, as you will be able to arrived at a predetermined place at a prescribed time. I met a couple once who had to leave the anchorage at 10am, arrive at another harbor by noon, and have those people in a different anchorage by 2pm to meet other friends. This schedule seemed ridiculous to us as they were planning their voyage at an average speed of 7 knots!
With their motor, they were able to stick to this schedule, but they never did get to sail on that day!
In our situation, where we don't have the luxury of a diesel motor, we are completely reliant on the wind to power us. This proves a hazard with schedules. If the wind is from the wrong direction, we will be a long time getting there. If the winds are light, we will be going slow. Basically, it is nearly impossible for us to plan to arrive anywhere at a set time because our travel time is always in limbo!
Our solution to this dilemma is to arrive somewhere, and then invite people to join us there. This allows us to get places at our own speed, and lets us rest at the destination before guests arrive. While this system works well for destinations close to us, it still poses a problem with longer term plans.
In our current situation, we are planning to cross the Atlantic after the hurricane season cools off. We hope to fly back for Christmas to spend the holidays with the family, but this would require us to be at a major port city that has an airport attached to it! While we have many months to complete this journey, it is a nagging feeling in the backs of our minds that we might miss Christmas!
This is exactly how schedules cause stress while cruising. If we could completely rid our lives of schedules, then we would also be able to reduce the stress of life considerably. Sadly, we came from land and the concept of some form of future plan keeps lingering in our minds as we seem incapable of actually freeing ourselves from the clutches of time and dates.