I will tell you of three cruising "failure" stories.
The first one I was told....
When we arrived at the Royal Hong Kong
Yacht Club in 1979, we enquired about a derelict CT56 that was tied up to one of the jettys. The story went something like this:
A couple from the US retired with the dream of cruising the world on their own sailboat and commissioned the CT56. They took delivery
of the boat in Taiwan
and prepared for the shakedown cruise
to Hong Kong
to get their sea legs. As both the husband and wife were getting on in years, they brought their grown son along to help out during the shakedown just until they felt confident enough to carry on on their own. (The impression I got from the person telling the tale was that these people were not experienced sailors in their own right).
About 2 days travel from Taiwan
, the boat's prop and rudder
became fouled in one of the many floating fishing
nets that litter the area, and as the only physically capable member
of the crew, the son went overboard
to clear things up.
He made one fatal mistake, thinking that with no sails
raised the boat was stationary. It was not. The man failed to secure himself to the boat with a lifeline, and very quickly became seperated from the yacht. He simply could not swim fast enough to catch up with the drifting boat, and the husband and wife, (unable to engage the engine
or even steer the boat around), were forced to watch their son dissappear over the horizon.
Eventually the boat was towed into Hong Kong, and the couple tied her up to the jetty, walked off with only the clothes on their backs, and never set foot on her again.
The second story is of a couple that were sailing around South Africa
in 1983, and got caught in rough weather
attempting to make the turn around Cape Agulhas.
this couple were experienced blue water
cruisers, with a tried and tested blue water
boat. When they began to have difficulty with the weather
, they contacted the South African Coast Guard (REDDING), to inform them of their position and that they would be turning back to East London. the Coast Guard dispatched a boat to watch for them "just in case", and as the boat came closer they requested that the sailors send up a signal flare to identify their exact location.
As fate would have it, the hand-held flare that they lit off was faulty and exploded in the man's hand. The situation had changed instantly form one of orderly retreat from foul weather to a real medical emergency
. The crew of the boat (man and wife) were evacuated to shore, and the boat left to the sea hove to.
Aparently some less than scrupulous savage operators heard the radio
traffic and figured that they could make some easy money
off of the boat, and set out to bring it in. In the process they dismasted and heavily damaged the boat, but got it into East London, where they immediately claimed it as salvage
To their credit, the people of East London would not stand for such abuse of a fellow sailor, (theyare a very active sailing community). The town forced the salvage
company to give the boat back, although damaged. A house was given over to the sailing couple to use while recovering form the injury and repairing the boat, and materials were generously donated to repair the hull
, and rebuild
the wodden mast
Several months later the whole town came down to the docks to send off their adopted sailing family on the continuation of their journey.
The last story is one a little closer to home....
As you can already tell by some of this post, I was fortunate enough to share in the dream of my family (parents and brother) to sail the world and enjoy the cruisong lifestyle while I was still a boy. From the age of 12 to 17 we lived and traveled on our boat throughout the South China
Sea, Indian Ocean
, and across the Atlantic.
This journey ignited in my brother and I a yearning for the same freedom and adventure that we had then. Over the years my brother and I would talk of our plans to buy this boat, or to build that boat, and take off... I even got so close I could taste the open ocean with my own boat under me, but allways something else would come up.
A few years ago I seperated from my wife, and eventually divorced, leaving her inLondon with her family while I returned to Florida
. When we were married I had let perish my dream of cruising the world again, but now that I was single
, I have yet again bought a boat, and started preparing her for the open ocean.
A couple of months ago I was talking with my brother again about my boat and my plans, and he told me that he felt that I would never go. He said that all I wanted to do was prepare, but that I lacked the conviction to actually set out on the journey.
I was shocked. How could he SAY that?
then I realized....
How sad... how sad is the man that lets his own dreams die to the extent that he cannot recognize the fire burning in his own brother's very beeing to overcome all the adversity life throws at a person and yet still cling to that same dream.
I will endure.
I will set sail for that far horizon, and I will hazard the journey.
If I am beaten, and broken, I will still continue on until I am no more.
and no matter what the outcome, I will never have failed, because I will have ridden on the back of my dream to the end.
The only true story of failure that I have written here is the last one. The story of a man's failure to cling to his dreams, for without our dreams, we are truly very sad indeed.