Nov 18, 2012
I used to sail on the Pacific Ocean. That was an experience so great, that I want another sailboat, to do it all again. I just need to find the right boat this time.
Owning a sailboat was not, in many ways, a great experience, yet…it led to sailing down the coast of the Baja, Mexico, 1100 miles, from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, and up into the Sea of Cortez where I played for the winters of four years. Whales swam directly under my feet, great herons fished from my dinghy, I anchored inside a collapsed volcano, and on and on the experiences went. If there is bad then, it must be accepted and dealt with, for the good awaits.
It wasn’t that bad, it was just a tremendous amount of effort that required copious applications of money and work. The whole affair was exacerbated by the costs of attending a university two thousand miles to the north of where the boat, Oceans Arc, lay on the hard. The boat was in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, the university, in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. It was a long distance affair. I could only drive down at Christmas break and work on her for that month. For nearly two years Oceans Arc sat,neglected until I took a year sabbatical from studies to go sailing..
A boat needs almost as much care as a woman, or a child. They tend to break down in their own ways, if attention is not devoted to them in exactly the proportions required by their teetering stability, in a world that tends towards instability, by the nature of events. I learned I must attend to a hurt toe, a damaged heart, or rusted rigging, as they happen. Unfortunately, rust really does never sleep and the rigging on the sailboat became pitted, the boat became a burden, and I sold her. It was the right time, and the fellow who bought her was going to sail to Australia.
I also had a long distance love affair with a wonderful woman in Europe. That became a tragedy to mirror the relationship with my boat. I had to leave Oceans Arc, return to Canada to finish my degree, the boat sat too long, and the damage from such neglect mounted. Funny thing, that’ need to learn was the same reason, but in a different area of study, that caused the split between that lady and I. The only difference is, a boat cannot say, “You are too far away. Goodbye,” nor say it with a lovely accent.
Sailors call boats ‘her’ because we love our boats almost as much as we love our women. Men have left their women for their boats, and left their boats for their women.
A boat gives a person a sense of purpose. It leads one into adventure that is as dangerous as being on a bit of wood and fibreglass above two miles of water, as exhilarating as when she heels and the water hisses by the hull, as dull as slowly passing water, or as terrifying as traveling amongst mountains that move. The last part is often the reason people abandon their vessels for the predictability of land. Then, a person can find a boat that’s cheap because someone was scared out of their wits, and out of their boat.
When the wind brings towering waves, when the boat jumps like a drop of water on a hot skillet, her helm stiff and wanting to turn into the wind because the idiot skipper left up too much sail, when spray fills your eyes as she dives into a trough, when the sun sets and the world becomes black and the ocean doesn’t care what happens to you, people find the bottom of their fears.
I found the bottom, then realized it wasn’t so bad, or far down, after all. The wind died, the sun rose, I was afloat and wasn’t that something to go through and survive! I repaired Oceans Arc and off I went on another adventure.
I’m looking for another sailboat again, but slowly, carefully, because now I know what to look for. She’s got to be the right boat for what I want to do, and where I want to go. A boat is like a woman, and not just anything will do.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »