Yesterday, I was reminded just how easy it is to forget the really important things when your eyes are glued to a computer screen.
I’d spent most of the day answering emails and preparing for our upcoming trip to the January Toronto and Chicago Boat shows and making notes for ‘important things I should be doing.’ I’d hardly glanced out the window at the sparkling blue water, the puffy clouds floating across a warm sky. I was actually a bit annoyed when Larry slid open the door of my office and asked eagerly, “Want to go out for a sail?” My first reaction was to say “no, I’m too busy.” But even as I glanced at the pile of notes, lists of to-dos, and remembered the work awaiting me on board Taleisin which was high and dry on the tidal grid next to the boat shop I realized that would be the wrong answer. So I said, “give me ten minutes, I’ll be with you.”
It was less than 20 minutes later that Larry and I cast off the mooring lines for Felicity, the 15 foot Bullseye sloop we’d bought just for occasions like this. We ran out of the cove in front of an 8 knot breeze, and once clear of the headlands found another 5 knots of wind. For a half hour we reached across a light chop sharing a white chocolate bar, sipping from a bottle of cool water. I was really glad I hadn’t missed a chance to savor the tranquility that can only be felt when there is nothing to do but enjoy the feel of wind in your sails, the sound of water slipping by the hull, no computer, no cellphone, no distractions other than the need to ease a sheet or prepare to come about. It was only an hour later when we beat back into the cove and Taleisin came into view – instead of seeing the work I had to do on her, I thought of the enjoyment of puttering around in the warm sunshine as I put her gear back in the right places now her spars and hatches were freshly varnished, and cabin top painted, her underbody freshly anti-fouled and ready for another year.
When I returned to my office the next morning I thought about how difficult sailing has become for those who have computers and internet on board their boats. There is always someone you should email, always some potential helpful website you should visit, webinar you should listen to, forum or facebook page you should visit. But the amazing amount of work I got through when I began looking forward to rejoining Larry again later that day on Felicity made me agree with him; what made our voyaging life special, what adds to our days even when we are not going to head out across an ocean, is grabbing every chance we can to hoist a sail and refresh our minds free from the distractions that always wait onshore or online.
As many of you already know, we are giving up one of the best months of the southern summer to fly north to winter where we will be presenting a lot of seminars at the Toronto Boat Show and then the Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show. (Click here to check our seminar topics and times). There is a very special reason we are doing this. Herb McCormick, who was for many years our editor at Cruising World Magazine and yachting Correspondent for the New York Times has just finished writing a biography of our lives. It’s called, As Long As It’s Fun. Not only has Herb been one of the editors we enjoyed working with, but also a friend for more than three decades. We have agreed to help him launch the book which is definitely a warts and all look at the two of us. I think he has done an amazing job – though I do wish I could edit some aspects of my earlier life. Herb has posted some extracts from the book on his website www.herbmccormick.com. We have been asked to add some comments about how the process felt to us. You can read that on his site by clicking here.
The past month has seen us enjoy two big celebrations here at our home on Kawau Island. On November 2nd, it was exactly 45 years to the day that we launched Seraffyn, 30 years ago that we launched Taleisin, October 31st was Larry’s 74th birthday, October 28th was our 45th wedding anniversary and in a few months I turn 70. So we invited many of our favorite friends to join us for what we called a 264 anniversaries celebration. Half a dozen overseas friends flew in, several boatloads sailed in, two arriving from the tropics just in time, and with a total of 56 folks on hand we had an amazing time. Alvah and Di Simon sailed in on board Roger Henry and the most wonderful gift of all was the amazing blog he wrote describing the festivities. His blog confirms what we know about cruising, it’s the people you meet that make it so special.. You can read it at – http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/boating/9465652/Alvah-Simons-Blog
Then only four weeks later it was time for Thanksgiving. Fatty and Caroline Goodlander rushed down from the tropics to join us and 30 others, including crews from five American Voyaging boats to devour two 16 pound turkeys and all the fixings. Unfortunately the weather was not as cooperative and with rain pouring down we had put tables the length of our 30 foot long 10 foot wide main room (our little wooden house is only 600 square feet in total i.e 20 by 30.) To serve folks at the far end of the 28 foot long table, I had to go out the kitchen door, along the verandah and then hand food in through the far window. Laughter, food, music and to top it all, six children, from three cruising boats, all under 8 years of age added sparkle to the proceedings. Then the next day I came across this amazing article that confirms what I already know about how cruising affects most children. http://www.edventuregirl.com/10-ways-world-schooling-has-ruined-my-childhood/
We would like to wish everyone health, friendships, warm family connects, fair winds and a fine New Year.
Lin and Larry