Undoubtedly, some of our more avid followers will feel that we have abandoned them in recent months. The passerby will have moved on to other ponderings. The curious will have forgotten our mission altogether.
For many years, I have worked to produce fragments of the greater intention behind Movement Sailing. Those works have shown me glimpses of the vast possibilities moored deeply in the art and lore of traditional sail. Each piece of this archaic puzzle comes briefly into focus, revealing the elaborate cuts and shadows of a puzzle all its own.
In an environment as ancient as the sea, inspiration is abundant and the resulting artforms and creative potential are infinite. In ten years of wandering and pondering, I have forgotten more ideas than I could possibly count. Indeed, some of those were pipe dreams, fleeting inspirations, or preeminently doomed failures. Others have fallen gracefully into place from the moment of their conception. I have tried to maintain integrity throughout this process of creative expression. Once dedicated to a project, it has always been of paramount importance and a question of my honor to carry that work to its completion.
It is my sincere feeling that I failed in that effort with my production of the written series, "In Search of the Promised Land." When I began the series, I was preparing to relinquish command of the 56' Nova Scotia Schooner, Niki S. My beloved, soon-to-be wife, Allie and I were making to purchase a small schooner in the Central Aegean, and endeavor to rebuild her in preparation for our own voyages.
Long have I bent to the will of others. So much of my experience at sea has been defined by the dreams of wealthy clients whose ideas, though affinite to mine, were not my own. As Sterling Hayden so eloquently writes in his book "Wanderer,"
“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”
Hardly, would I consider the last 15 years of my experience as "bankruptcy of life." The choices I made were all relevant to the process of my continued lessons on earth and to my progress as a student of the human condition. And yet somehow, I feel deeply that this education can only progress through the abandonment of the comforts I have created. I know that if I am to fulfill my own ragged potential, the path forward is untended by assurances of a monthly salary and an unlimited budget for vessel repairs. The Vessel and expenses must belong to me. Only then, can the adventure itself be my own.
And so it came to be, with the help of my (now) Wife and eternal muse, Allison, that we decided it right to buy our own vessel, and endeavor to write our own story. "In Search of the Promised Land" was intended to preclude that story and provide a context for its existence.
The little schooner we found in Greece, to which our desires were so blindly affixed, proved an impossibility for us to own and repair. And so it came to be, that we honorably discharged ourselves to our point of origin in New England and began to regroup.
Luggage laden with the burden of a failed adventure is a heavy thing, but abandoning the adventure altogether when you're already packed is some other kind of Voodoo, to which we are not accustomed.
Shortly after our presence became known in our home waters, a chance encounter with an old friend shed light on a new prospect. The 1957, 41' Concordia yawl, "Dolce" was for sale and happened to be in drydock just down the road from our house. The inspections were thorough, the negotiations swift, and all of a sudden we found ourselves chipping, scraping, sanding, and painting our very own sailing vessel.
All the while, the final chapter of "In Search of the Promised Land" lay by the wayside, half written, and awaiting a calmer time in our lives to be completed. So it is with sincere apologies for the extended delay, that we will soon be releasing the conclusion of this work. In the coming weeks, we will be re-publishing the previous chapters, leading to the end of one story, and making way for a grand new adventure.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you'll enjoy Part XV - The Promised Land.