Tuesday, July 24, 2018


by Ray Jason

There are hundreds of harbors scattered around our wet, lush planet with dozens of ocean-ready sailboats anchored in them. Nearby there are marinas with additional blue-water cruising boats ready to cast off their dock-lines and head out. So how do you transition from being a sailor who admires my Sea Gypsy Tribe concept, to starting a tribe of your own? Here are some helpful suggestions.

  1. Right click on the “Escape of the Sea Gypsy Tribe” essay title. Copy it, and send it to other sailing friends who might also appreciate my ideas. If they find it appealing, then make sure they read the other essays that flesh out the strategy more fully. They are linked in the fourth paragraph to make it easy for everyone. You could also print them out and hand deliver them to any good prospects.
  2. Once you find that you have the crews from about six boats intrigued by the SGT prospect, then it is time to meet in person aboard one of your boats and start discussing it face to face. Those first six boats will probably realize that they have other cruising friends who might be interested. I recommend a final vessel count of about twelve boats. More than this can lead to personality conflict issues.
  3. Once you have several boats genuinely committed to the Sea Gypsy Tribe concept, it is time to begin your preparations in earnest. Choose a name for your tribe that combines a famous sailor and a sea animal. For example, the name of my group is The Slocum/Pelican Tribe. Contact me and I will let you know if your prospective name has already been chosen somewhere else in the world. And when you give me your approximate location (for example Phuket, Thailand) I will let you know which Tribes are nearest to you. My email address is seagypsyphilosopher@gmail.com.
  4. Get your basics in order. Keep your diesel, water, propane and gasoline tanks nearly full all of the time. Have your food pantries topped off with long-life dry goods, so that in an emergency you only have to buy perishables like veggies and fruits. Make sure that your sails and rigging are always in shipshape condition and that your radios and navigation tools are functioning properly. Keep your boat’s bottom clean.
  5. Select a waypoint that is at least 35 miles offshore. I recommend setting it on a beam reach out from your normal location. Keep it simple and not with too many digits. For example 9 degrees 30 minutes North and 81 degrees 30 minutes West. The 35 mile distance is for pirate prevention. Most open boats with large outboards do not have more than 20 miles range with their normal fuel tanks. Stay inconspicuous and don’t leave your harbor as a flotilla. Go out separately and meet at the waypoint. There is an old Navy adage that goes like this, “Loose lips sink ships.” Keep your Tribe secret for both safety and camaraderie.
  6. Don’t assemble your Tribe passively. In other words, don’t procrastinate and assume that if things suddenly get ugly you will be able to make preparations at the last minute and then sail away from the mayhem. I went through many hurricanes in Key West. Once the situation became dangerous, the grocery store shelves would be empty in an hour and good luck trying to find gasoline or diesel fuel.
  7. The best approach is to encourage and monitor each other as you get your Tribe prepared. Once a boat believes it is ready, the other Tribal members should come aboard and evaluate their readiness. Since each vessel will receive the same inspection, nobody has to worry about their feelings being hurt. Constructive criticism is helpful not harmful. The goal is to meld yourselves into a rugged but flexible survival alliance.
  8. While you are getting your basic preparations accomplished, you should also be discovering what specialized talents you have among your Tribe. Was anyone a nurse or an EMT? How many can still do celestial navigation? There will be no GPS in certain types of cataclysms. Do you have anyone who is skilled with firearms? Can somebody sew canvas and repair sails? Who is a great fisherman? Might anyone know basic naval flotilla tactics that could be used with your boats. Part of being a survival unit might entail being a solid fighting unit.
  9. The Precautionary Principle must be applied. Only truly seaworthy and sea-ready boats can be allowed to join. Someone who cannot get their vessel properly prepared, must not jeopardize the well-being and safety of the Tribe.
  10. Leadership should evolve organically. Centuries of maritime history have proven that ships cannot be run by committee. Each vessel will need a Captain and the fleet will need a Commodore. During your Tribal preparations those most suited for these responsibilities will probably emerge organically. As a longtime professional Captain, my approach was always to seek the input of my crew. But knowing that I had the responsibility and the liability, I would make the final decision. It was often what the crew suggested. Given the severity of the situation should you have to sail away, I doubt that leadership squabbles will be a serious problem.

Finally, in the near future, I will share with you my ideas for a Sea Gypsy Tribal Code. Similar to Bushido, or The Way of the Samurai, it will outline some foundational principles that will help our Tribes to be a vital and positive force in whatever world emerges - from whatever event transpires.