You know Boatman, one reason I'm such a jerk is because my mother's mother was a highschool english
teacher who equated spelling and grammer with moral character.
She once corrected, in red ink, a thank-you letter I sent her.
Well, I gave mean old b***h got both barreles. I was only 9 years old! I'm mildly dyslexic, (or is it lysdexlic?) but then again, so was Einstein.
Charles Manson too, so watch it.
So I did some research
at my grammar school
library (this was long before the internet
, word processors, my juvenile delinquency, or spell check) and copied an article about a bunch of famous people with poor grammar, and I annoted and circled the important passages for her.
In red ink.
Then I mailed it to her using a USPS "Love" stamp for postage.
She never marked up any more of my thank-you notes aft that. Then again, she never gave me any gifts aft that either....
and no, "aft" was not a typo.
Drunk old harpy.... She was NOT the saint of a grandmother who taught me to sail.
That grandma left me 1/2 million dollars when she passed away at age 98. My father's mother was sweet, and king and loving and supportive. She always asked me the same thing at the end of every phone
"Do you have another boat yet, Billy?"
"No grandma, not yet. But I will some day, I promise"
Followed by me all the usual BS excuses about how I didnt have the time, or the money
, or the....whatever. It was 20 years between junking my POS Coronado, and purchasing
Nomad, and one of my greatest regrets is that she didnt live to see me finally get my priorities straight.
...and dont get me started on Tristan Jones (not his real name) who lied about pretty much everything in his books
, including his birthplace (not Tristan De Cunha) meeting the pope, flying his boat to the moon, and banging the king of the lost
city of El Dorado's daughter on the foredeck of his bilge
keeler on top of Anapurana.
Talk about Blarney!
He was a bastard, abandoned by his whore mother, and raised in orphanages. His first honest job was wiskey smuggling, then he joined the British Navy
, taught himself how to sail and write, and then, in mid-life, decided he was fed up with conventionality, and especially the mainstream sailing world's obession with record
setting and racing
, so he decided to mock it by setting a "Vertical sailing record"
- a record
he made up himself.
He thought downwind sailing was for wimps, so he deliberately beat into howling gales in small boats for thousands of miles through red sea war-zones, dust storms, hurricanes, and flying bullets, if he is to be believed - which he probably isnt.
He is entertaining to read, and claimed to be the only person to ever transit the Panama Canal
, completely under sail in a small boat. Without an engine
. He claims he did this by lying to various Panamanian officials then sneaking and blustering his was through the canal from the Carribean to the Pacific on his own hot-air.
In short, he's another hero of mine.
Glad you are all enjoying the show - and perhaps re-thinking what is really required to travel the world under sail.
Because from what I can tell, the single
biggest requirement is a huge set of balls, not a huge boat.
This was summed up for me one lazy summer evening when I was out carousing, half drunk, with a couple buddies here in MDR. I was with a well known local rigger, delivery skipper
, and racer
, who ran into an old (70 yrs plus) client, who immediately started arguing with him about how he had failed to show up for a rigging survey
on his clients boat (The old guy was a USGS Captain
hired by some rich moke to skipper
had also served in the Manhattan Beach Fire department for 20 years, and had retired early to sail offshore
as foredeck crew. He claimed to have done 14 transpacs, 5 Fasnets, and numerous deliveries and races to and from Mexico
in his sailing career.
So my freind tells him about my boat, moored right outside the bar, and my cruising plans.
...and the old man takes a drink from his glass, walks to the window, sees my boat, and walks back up to the bar, looks me straight in the eye, with a look I'll never forget, and says:
"So young man - you want to see the world in that boat?"
"Well then listen to me very carefully, because there is just one thing you need to do to that boat"
...and then his eyed narrowed, and he said...
"ARE YOU LISTENING????"
He was standing up now, poking me in the chest...
"YES - what do I have to do???"
"CAST OFF YOUNG MAN. DO YOU HEAR ME?! CAST OFF!!!"
He was nearly shouting, and, let me tell you - I was stunned.
"Nothing else matters - just GO!" He continued.
...and there was this shock of recognition in me, that cut right through the afternoon's six-pack numbness. The shock that comes when you realize some great truth.
Nothing else matters -JUST CAST OFF.
"right - got it."
I knew then that the time had come. I'd been making excuses and delaying my departure for a variety of reasons, all of them utter bullshit.
So I resigned my my teaching positions.
I sold my home.
And I cleaned out my storage
My new passport arrived last week.
We imagine our boats or thier state of preparation are what hold us back, but its just the opposite - boats are magic carpets - capable of delivering us to extraroidinary new experiences.
And deep down inside, we all know it.