Otra Vida is a project about living communally, intelligently, and consciously – an experiment in how to live together. The project is on a sailboat, so we sail together, often in very beautiful places. It is important that you are committed to living communally and openly, and ideally you already have some community experience. If you are looking for sea miles, a tourist travel experience, a vacation, or a mainstream normative environment, please choose another boat.
Community and Hierarchy
We work together on board as a non-hierarchical micro-community, with decisions discussed openly with peaceful respect between us, and agreed by consensus. There will naturally be different levels of information about some subjects – difference in level of information implies only difference in level of information, not hierarchy.
The single exception to this approach is when there is a significant risk to ourselves or to the boat. In that instance I reserve the right to take control and direct activities, and would appreciate your diligent cooperation in such a circumstance. In ten years and 50,000 nautical miles of cruising this situation has occurred twice, and I hope it will not occur again.
Atmosphere, Consent and Respect
The atmosphere on Otra Vida is the atmosphere that we co-create. I prefer the atmosphere to be free, open, loving, light, respectful and supportive. We should all feel safe and supported, and be able to express ourselves openly without fear. When issues arise we discuss them openly as a group and resolve them together, often using a talking stick circle.
In practical terms this means communication is expected to be done with kindness, boundaries are respected, and consent is explicit.
If you engage in personal or sexual harassment, unwanted or inappropriate physical contact, create an atmosphere of hostility, engage in any form of violence, or persistently cause offence, you will be removed from the boat.
Health – Physical and Mental
You should be in reasonable physical condition, able and willing to help with raising and lowering sails, rowing the dinghy, lifting things into and out of the dinghy including jerry cans of water and fuel (20kg/45lbs), moving around the boat when it is heeled at an angle, etc. You do not need to be an athlete or a bodybuilder, but you should be comfortable carrying out physical tasks with reasonable energy.
If you have any allergies, are diabetic, or have ever had a seizure, you must let me know. Any other conditions that might affect your ability to stand watch or may require assistance from others must also be fully and openly disclosed.
You should be enthusiastic about the idea of deep community, and have a cheerful, positive and open approach to life. We all have occasional bad days, and that is understood as normal – the atmosphere on board is caring and supportive, and we help each other through those bad days. However, if you have mental health issues such as clinical depression, deep social anxiety, or significant cognitive impairment (Daily Mail, Fox News, conspiracy theories, alt-right, etc) then Otra Vida is not the boat for you.
This is not about lacking compassion. If you have a broken arm or other physical health issues I feel for you, and you need to heal them before coming onto the boat. The same is true for mental health issues.
Sailing plans are made in good faith, but they are not a fixed schedule.
Weather is an obvious factor which can and does cause schedules to change. Beyond weather considerations, if a place is particularly enjoyable it is possible we will decide to stay there longer, and we will probably decide to leave an unattractive place sooner. Plans further in the future, obviously, have greater potential for change.
I will make reasonable efforts for the boat to be in a place where arrival or leaving is practical. This may not be the originally planned place, and may involve some additional travel on your part. If additional travel is required it will normally be fairly modest. Changes will not be made gratuitously, and will always be discussed communally.
Assuming there is sufficient space on board you are welcome to bring friends / lovers aboard for short periods of time, i.e. a few days. It is preferable that you let the rest of us know this in advance, but it is understood and respected that sometimes it is necessarily a spontaneous decision. Within reasonable limits, during the time they are on board we should treat them as our guests, i.e. offering them food and drinks, a place to sleep, etc.