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June 2015 Newsletter

Posted by on June 12, 2015

Dear Friends:

I watched as the mainsail began to rise up the mast.  I turned to head toward my office where I hoped I could more easily ignore what was going on. But a few steps later I realized I wouldn’t get any work done. So I turned back and tried not to scrutinize every move made by the crew as the staysail was hoisted, then cleated.  I desperately wanted to head to the very end of the jetty and call out, “Ease the main sheet more.” But two things held me back. Taleisin no longer was mine and I didn’t want to fluster the new owners, relative neophytes, as for the very first time they sailed off a mooring on their own yacht.

1.From the moment Eben and Annie decided Taleisin needed them, their enthusiasm was infectious.

1. From the moment Eben and Annie decided Taleisin needed them, their enthusiasm was infectious.

I have heard, “the happiest time in a boat owners life is the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it.”  But this definitely didn’t ring true for me. We had never bought this boat. Almost forty years ago Larry cut down several black locust trees, sawed them into boards and stored them to air dry for several years. Thirty five years ago we were in Singapore and bargained for seven teak logs and arranged to ship them to a mountain hideaway in California where a year later we began the three year construction project which slowly grew into the boat I now was watching sail out of my life. I had helped run every single piece of timber through the thickness planer, had sanded and varnished or painted each frame, each plank at least five times.  Then through more than 30 years and almost 100,000 miles of voyaging I’d sanded those hatches, those spars several dozen more times. So every inch of that floating object was almost like a part of me.

2.Even the job of scrubbing and antifouling Taleisin didn’t dampen their enthusiasm, especially as the next morning we set off for an enjoyable bit of sailing together.

2. Even the job of scrubbing and antifouling Taleisin didn’t dampen their enthusiasm, especially as the next morning we set off for an enjoyable bit of sailing together.

As Taleisin’s crew, Eben and Annie, let go the mooring pennant, and she began to fall away and gather speed, Annie spotted me. She spoke a few words to Eben. Together they called out, “We’ll take good care of her.” Those words reminded me of the ones an old boatbuilder had used when we first launched this little dream ship, “You take good care of her and she’ll take good care of you.” His words had caught the symbiotic relationship which, through the years, developed between us and our boat.

3.I enjoyed watching Eben as he got the feel of Taleisin’s helm then began working her to windward

3. I enjoyed watching Eben as he got the feel of Taleisin’s helm then began working her to windward

As soon as Taleisin had glided past the turn of North Cove and was lost to view, I walked quickly to the house to join Larry who, incapacitated by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, had been watching from his favorite seat by the window. I turned on the VHF radio.” Hauraki Gulf, Wind Warning, Northeasterly winds increasing to 30 knots by afternoon with gusts to 35.” I was tempted to call Eben on his cellphone. But, together, we’d all listened to the forecast the evening before. I’d suggested getting up before dawn to catch the lighter winds.  They had agreed, but we’d spent a very busy day getting all the spare gear sorted and onto the boat. I’d seen lights moving around on deck long after dark as they hoisted the dinghy on board, stored fenders, took off sail covers in preparation for an early start. So I assumed they’d been tired and an eight AM departure was the best they could do. I thought to myself, should I take care of Taleisin by suggesting they run up the Mahurangi River and anchor before the winds increased.

4.In some ways I wish I could be on board to show Eben and Annie all the tricks and details that we enjoyed working up through the years. But that would spoil their fun.

4. In some ways I wish I could be on board to show Eben and Annie all the tricks and details that we enjoyed working up through the years. But that would spoil their fun.

But I didn’t. I had to force myself to let go. On the other hand, there was nothing I could do about my desire to check the VHF now-casting every hour. Then I got a call from the local water taxi company. “Heard your boat has been taken away,” the office manager said. “One of the skippers spotted it sailing close to Algies Bay. He said it looks like the new folks are doing okay and she looks good, a reef in the mainsail, two headsails set.”  An hour later I had a call from a sailing friend who was on board his own boat and running for shelter near the Mahurangi River, “Was that Taleisin I saw running wing and wing towards Tiri Tiri channel?” Each communication reported stronger winds. By the time I had served lunch the winds were up to the predicted 30 knots.  I tried to put her out of my mind but found my eyes constantly drawn to the empty spot where Taleisin usually sat.

5.And this is the photo I took as she sailed  out of my custodianship

5. And this is the photo I took as she sailed out of my custodianship

“Larry,” I asked, “Will you miss her?”

“It’s time for her to go to someone who can use her,” he said.

“Don’t you wish you had the health to be planning another adventure, hatching another crazy scheme?” I asked.

“Lin, that would be downright greedy,” was his reply.

I was pondering on the wisdom of his words when the telephone rang.

“Hi, it’s Eben. Just wanted you to know your baby is safe and sound here in Westhaven. What a sail. Learned more in one long morning being fully responsible for my own boat than in a week of sailing lessons. This is going to be so much fun.” I laughed along as he related the adventures they’d had; figuring out how to gibe in ever increasing winds, feeling then getting over the vestiges of seasickness, being surprised by how much the wind seemed to  increase when they stopped running and began reaching up the harbor, the excitement of a slightly out of control gybe.

“Come on down and see her any time you are in town cause I know I’ll have a thousand questions. Hope you don’t mind if I call or email with a list,” Eben said as he signed off.

6.The Good Ship Taleisin

6. The Good Ship Taleisin

For the first week the questions flew fast and furious.  A month has passed and the communications have tapered off to a question a week. And each email or call includes something about a new skill Annie or Eben has acquired, an interesting “someone” my boat has brought into their lives.  Strangely these communications have given me the feeling that, just as I never bought Taleisin I never actually sold her. It’s more like I’ve found adoptive parents to cherish her. No longer do I get a twinge of sadness when I look out to see the empty spot where Taleisin used to be waiting. Instead thoughts of searching for a smaller sailboat fill my mind, one that I could manage on my own. That way, when spring arrives, I can rendezvous with Taleisin and encourage Eben and Annie as they continue taking steps toward Taleisin’s next sailing adventure.

Fair winds,

Lin and Larry


P.S. I am really excited. I am heading to the US East Coast in late Septembers It will be time to introduce the latest book I am publishing, Voyaging with Kids .  Then I am headed to the SSCA Gam I’ll be presenting the Saturday evening keynote  talk and on Sunday, I will be presenting a special four hour seminar on Writing, Video, Blogging – how to make it add to your Cruising Kitty.  Next I’ll join Tory Salvia of TheSailingChannel.TV at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis to present some seminars and be in a booth where I hope some of you can stop by for a chat.

P.S.S. I spent several hours on the phone with two different podcasters the past few months. One was  Valerie Ibarra of San Francisco who commentates a Womans Magazine. Click here to listen to the podcast.  The other with David Anderson from Brisbane Australia who creates sailing podcasts

7 Responses to June 2015 Newsletter

  1. scottsellards

    Thank you Lin and Larry for the magic your voyaging words have created in my life. I am truly grateful.

  2. Portlanders

    Thankfully, many years ago, we took to heart your words in “Cruising in Seraffyn” — go small, simple, go now — and sailed off into the sunset. For us, this meant sailing down the Columbia River and into the inland waters of Vancouver Island where we cruised for a couple years. We learned to live with the rhythms of the sea, the sun and the moon, and we still try to do this on land today, 35 years later. Thank you both for sharing your adventures and advice.

  3. stumpoak

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful insights and personal experiences with us.
    It occurred to me while reading your newsletter where you were talking with Larry about missing your voyaging lifestyle; there is a scripture verse that says, “Out of the mouth comes the a abundance of the heart.” It is great to know that Larry feels he has had his fair share of the cruising life, that he holds no regrets of having to leave that lifestyle and enter his next stage of life. To ask for more would be greedy. Such a grace fille attitude!
    I will always cherish my weekend spent with you both at the Chicago Strictly Sail show. Hope to see you again soon. Give my very best to Larry.

  4. JohnM

    Dear Lin,

    This is the first time in a very long time that I have visited your site. I am merely one of the many people who’s life you have touched without ever having met. This is the first I have heard of Larry’s affliction with Parkinson’s. I am shocked and saddened, more than I can express.

    You have both been larger than life to me, posessing an aura of invincibility bordering on immortality. I immagined you together, pursuing further cruising adventures long after the rest of us were planted beneath the sod. Now I can only be grateful that you wrote it all down to share with us.

    You and Larry have my heartfelt gratitude for sharing so much and inspiring so many. I believe firmly in karma. As Our Lord so aptly put it, “Whatsoever a man soeth, that also shall he reap.” May you and Larry reap nothing but love, kindness, and generosity from the seeds you have planted all your lives.

    Thank you again for all you have given us. You and Larry will remain forever in my heart and in my prayers.


  5. Rank Noob

    Dear Lin and Larry;

    I am new to this passion of sailing – but the information, images, and stories you’ve put out there for all of us have been invaluable to me. I’m certain I’m far from alone in this feeling. The lives you’ve lead have set an example, and provided the sort of open forum – the “how to” discussions and adventures and encouragement – which helps those of us who have few other resources on this subject. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your expertise so willingly shared. While I’m intent on single handing, which I know you all don’t particularly approve of, the tips, tricks, skills, and general ethic you’ve espoused have inspired me and informed the shape of my dreams.

    I hope that the days ahead of you are fair, their motion kindly, and the winds gentle as you navigate this new territory. May the adventures ahead touch your cheeks with dimply smiles, your hearts with ever deepening love, and your lives with peace. If I am fortunate, I will enjoy a few moments in your company some day. Until then – well, you have a lot of life to live yet and I look forward to hearing about the shape those lives take. The inventiveness you’ve demonstrated thus far tells me it will be just as interesting as the events of the last 4 decades.

  6. jcdammeyer

    Dear Lin and Larry.
    I’ve been away from sailing for a time now. Happened across the movie “Message in a Bottle” where the lead character was building a wooden boat. That had me think of my Lyle Hess cutter plans sitting in corner and the time my wife and I went below decks in Taleisin with you an Larry at a Christmas party in Victoria, BC. A while later I cast some replacement bronze shackle bits from one of Taleisin’s worn parts. Larry had built up the worn areas with wax. I still have the aluminium prototype I cast to test the pattern. I was proud to have a bit of me going back out with you.
    We’re so sorry to hear about Larry and his Parkinson’s disease and sorry to hear that Taleisin is no longer taking care of you. But it’s good to hear that she will be in someone else’s lives.
    Even though we never did head off small and simple the two of you have always been part of what we are now. For that we say thank you.

  7. sandy80

    Hi, i have just stumbled onto your site while looking for offshore passage advice. I bought you heavy weather sailing video some years ago, and have taught “i love to sail around the yacht club bar” to my friends. Thanks for the information and fun the two of you have made available to us. Best wishes to you both.

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