OSN Practice Management Section Editor John B. Pinto has launched "Voyage to EHR," a new project sponsored by Compulink Business Systems and Ocular Surgery News. This project will culminate in John's month-long solo sail from San Diego to Honolulu aboard the 24-foot Aurelia starting May 6. John's practice management blogs will resume in July.
John's voyage is meant to raise awareness of the similar "expedition" surgeons undertake when converting to electronic health records and will also support the work of the Hawaiian Eye Foundation. To learn more about the foundation's work and to make a donation supporting its eye care and surgical training services throughout the Pacific, please go to www.hawaiianeyefoundation.org.
One question often asked of those who cross oceans (especially solo sailors) is, "What do you do with all of your free time?" Surprisingly, there isn't a lot of free time, especially when you are sailing alone. Sleep takes up the largest single part of the day (and night). Because you have to keep a vigilant watch for shipping traffic — even mid-ocean — most solo sailors adopt a napping system.
Because of the earth's curvature, a ship converging on a collision course with Aurelia is not visible until just 30 minutes or so before an imminent collision. That means the prudent sailor can take a 25-minute "power nap," wake briefly to scan the horizon, and then go back to sleep. Studies have shown that for most individuals a series of these napping intervals, while not perfect, are an acceptable replacement for an orthodox 8 hours. For me, it takes a bit more than 8 hours of this to feel reasonably refreshed. But that still leaves about 15 waking hours a day.
A large part of this is spent managing the boat. This includes:
- Speed optimization (Are the sails tuned for as much speed as possible in the current conditions?)
- Navigation and weather checks (Are we still on course? Are we skirting storm systems to the extent possible?)
- Safety checks (Is the bilge dry? Are the batteries topped off? Are the navigation lights on?)
- Checking for wear and tear (Pulleys and lines can disintegrate in an amazingly short period of time.)
- Communication (These blogs will continue throughout the voyage.)
This still leaves hours and hours of free time. Favorite shipboard pastimes are reading, listening to and making music (ukulele tunes are Aurelia's favorite), sitting up on the foredeck feeling Aurelia rise to each wave and looking for wildlife. The first time I sailed to Hawaii, there were seabirds daily, along with whales, dolphins, sharks, flying fish and one unfortunate mahi-mahi, whose über-fresh sushi I still remember fondly.
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