Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Sabbatical from our Sabbatical

Chris here... It's been an interesting week. As we've mentioned, our primary reason for visiting Albany was so that we could be part of a strategic meeting for our information technology business (D&D Consulting). We hired a local firm to assess and analyze what we do and to make recommendations, both short term and long term.

I've been worried about how D&D has been doing over the past several months. We do a lot of work with New York State government. The state budget relies heavily on tax and other income from Wall Street and tourism, and with the depressed economy we've seen significant shortfalls. As a result, the state has pretty much frozen hiring and spending, and we're just not seeing the income we used to. Add to that the fact that we decided to invest heavily into the private sector, using money we had expected to continue to receive from the state, and we've been dealt a double whammy - radically reduced income and increased expenses.

Here's the deal - we're (D&D) staying afloat (no pun intended), but in order for that to continue we need to work our butts off finding new deals and delivering more services. Who are the some of the people with the greatest interest in making this happen? You guessed it - the owners. That happens to be us, and the timing of this economic downturn unfortunately coincides with the middle of our cruise. So, for the sake of all of our employees, their families and others who depend on D&D for an income (us included), we're taking a leave of absence from our cruise.

I have an incredible group of people that I'm honored to work with. They know how important this cruise is to us. Our kids have already started crying about the fact that they won't be able to spend so much time with us. I'm very hopeful that we can get things moving in the right direction before October. Whether or not that happens is mostly in the hands of the people who I work with, and whether or not they truly understand the urgency of this matter. The economy is going to keep sliding, and if we don't get ahead of it we'll be going in the same direction. Right now we've had an opportunity to fix things put before us, and I know we can do it if we apply ourselves. I'm reminded of the big red button in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - "Don't Panic". We're fortunate that we're not at the point where we have to lay people off or take any drastic measures, but we could easily get there and I'm committed to making sure that doesn't happen. Hence, our return.

Logistically, this could be interesting. Pelican is currently in Oriental, NC, 480nm as the crow flies, but significantly farther as the boat sails. We need to start working sooner rather than later. We feel we have three options: 1) Sail the boat to Albany and find a marina that we can live aboard at; 2) Put the boat on the hard in NC and find an apartment in Albany; 3) Bring the boat to Baltimore or thereabouts and buy a lot of Southwest tickets. Number three would be kind of difficult since, at times, both Kristen and I need to be in Albany - what would we do with the kids? I really don't like the idea of #2 - it seems too permanent. That leaves us with option #1, but there's the whole time factor. Anyway, Kristen and I will be discussing this and looking at our options over the next couple of days.

In the meantime, we need to drum up a few million dollars in sales. In all seriousness, if anyone knows any mid to large companies (250+ users) who need IT services in networking, information security, systems (server, storage, virtualization, OS), data center development, etc., please send them my way. We also are high level resellers of various products, including Cisco, Juniper, Check Point, F5, EMC, VMWare, Q1Labs, 8e6 and many others. We are a very talented woman owned IT firm with excellent references and a great team, and we need your help to get us cruising again! Once again, our website is We also own the domain name "" if you know anyone interested in leasing it.

We'll keep you up to date. Obviously a lot will be happening over the next few weeks, and any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated. By the way, we'll only accept help we earn.


Nica said...

Chris - the apartment option sounds permanent, but what about a short-term lease of 3 months or so? Could actually work out cheaper in a lot of ways. I'd guess there are more than a few people who would jump at the chance to rent you a small place.

We have rented our house to tenants (fully furnished) but do not leave for our cruise until early October. In the meanwhile, the 4 of us are in a 1 bedroom apartment a couple of miles from our old neighborhood. Kids will start school in about 3 weeks, and I will take over homeschooling when we are on the boat.

Good luck. Life is all about being flexible, and you are showing your kids a great example. Hope to see you out there!

s/v Calypso

Cidnie said...

I'm sorry to hear you are having to readjust your plans but it sounds as if you are putting a positive spin on things, which is the best anyone can do. Hopefully, business will pick up and you can get back out there soon.

Anonymous said...

Chris...sorry to hear of the end of your cruising for a bit but it sounds like you are doing the right thing for both the family and all those who depend on the business.

Just a thought...but Norfolk might be a better place than Baltimore to keep Pelican as the winterization is simple and there is no need to haul the boat and the marinas are cheaper. Southwest and others fly in there and the airport is small and close at hand.

Good luck with the decision making!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

I've been following your blog, off and on from the beginning. I am also a sailnetter, and have commented on a few of your posts/request for help. I'm sorry to hear that your cruise will have to be suspended, for a while anyway.

I believe that this downturn has affected the technology segment particularly hard. I was laid off from a Channel Sales position in the software industry in November.(In retrospect, I should have called upon D&D!) I know of at least 5 other people in the same situation. Because of this mis-fortune, I've (again) put my boat buying plans on hold, am trying to hang tight, pay the mortgage, get my kids through school, remain upbeat, and hope things improve SOON!

Please be glad for the time that you and your family have had (10 months), and realize that you are not alone in feeling the pinch... And if you are looking for a presence in the Eastern Massachusetts/Rhode Island market, contact me directly.

Regards and fair winds,