Thursday, December 28, 2006

Belhaven to Bear Creek, NC

23.6 nm
Wind: calm to N 5 knots
Maximum speed: 5.5 knots
Average speed: 4.3 knots
Latitude: 35°11.74’N
Longitude: 076°35.58’W

Karl and I spent all night tonight talking about boats. Karl’s latest plan is to buy some dugout canoes for outriggers and turn our Ranger 33 into a trimaran. Originally he wanted to buy another Ranger 33 hull and turn Secret into a catamaran, but then we’d have to move the mast.

My holiday angst is basically gone. Karl and I have been a little bit snippy with each other lately, but I imagine that has a lot to do with being stuck at the dock with Lise and Marcel, and Christmas, and not having been able to sail lately.

Tonight it was fun to be talking about dreams and schemes and plans again. We pulled out all of our old Cruising Worlds and looked at crazy tribal-inspired catamarans and trimarans. I don’t believe that building a crazy outrigger and attaching it to our hull with telephone poles is really a good idea, but I told Karl if we find one cheap and he’s convinced of the idea’s seaworthiness, he’s welcome to go for it.

We’re far more likely to actually trade for a multi-hull, but even that idea makes me nervous. I feel very safe on Secret, and I’m convinced she could weather a hurricane just fine, but multi-hulls seem a bit sketchy. I know people swear by them, but still. And I have a hard enough time getting rid of a pair of shoes, let alone a boat.

We did look, though, at Jim Brown’s trimarans in Cruising World and Good Old Boat magazine—he’s a crazy dude that performed the first ocean crossing in a trimaran, in a 23-foot boat with his pregnant wife and another crew member. He then designed plans for a 31-foot trimaran, the Searunner, and sold the plans to all sorts of crazy hippies in the seventies, who built them themselves out of plywood. At least a half-dozen of them circumnavigated.

I’ve always thought that if Karl absolutely had to have a multi-hull, that that’s the one I’d want to have. I’m not sure if it’s so much the boat as it is the creator. Jim Brown, as Cruising World says, has “thought deeply about cruising.”

That’s what appeals to me about the Pardeys, too, and even Henri Amel with his 54-foot Super Maramus. Especially with all the thinking I’ve been doing about meaning in my life, coming up on my birthday, as I begin to appropriate the reality of this lifestyle.

It’s something I believe in, at all levels, spiritually, emotionally, physically. It’s what bothers me so thoroughly about motoring. I understand an engine is another tool, one more thing the sea gypsy needs and uses, but my whole nature protest from building my existence around it.

What I love about the Pardeys, and Jim Brown, is how sailing to them is organically and spiritually linked to life, how sails and sheets and whisker poles and wind vanes allow them to harness nature herself for power, and use her to carry them to other places where they can experience strange people and foreign cultures.

Jim Brown calls other cultures “differing states of consciousness,” and I believe in that, too. One of the things that Jesus said—the last thing, actually, what is called the “Great Commission”—was “go into all the world and preach the good news.”

I’m not a missionary, like my parents, because I interpret that commission differently than they do. I am a a Christian, as they are, but that doesn’t mean to me that I need to convert people. Instead, it means that I need to live a life suffused with knowledge and love of God, and knowledge and love of other people, and that’s exactly what cruising allows me to do. Sailing, being in contact with the Spirit of the wind and water, allows me to know and love God in ways I’m only beginning to grasp. And the sea carries me to places where, I hope, I can discover new things about the world and love thoroughly everyone I meet. I can share the good news with them—the good news of freedom from fear, from mammon, from hate, if only by the way I live in freedom.

I’m not sure if I’ve don the best job of explaining it, but I figured I needed to try, for myself, for my parents, for everyone who wonders about the verse up there beneath my title.

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