I am missing sailing, and my first mate.
Our family loved our sailboat and for sixteen years we would be out on the ocean as often as we could. Today, I kept noticing my head raised up to look at the weather. What do I look for first? The wind. It is the wind that gets the attention of sailors, and this was one of those days.
In a sailboat, you cannot get back to port quickly should something go awry. This fact breeds self-reliance among those of us who love the sea. You learn to look at all the elements, to study the weather, to do a walk around your boat before casting off, and to understand where you are going and all about navigation.
Laughing now at the thought of how many times I would drive my car 100 kilometres per hour to get to our sailboat at Point Roberts WA so that I could get on board and proceed at seven knots towards some unknown destination. All the while, adjusting the sails, tweaking the sheets and scanning the water trying to get one more tenth of a knot out of her.
Sailing, for me, has been the one thing I do that puts everything in proper perspective. I see it as the ultimate expression of freedom – perhaps exactly because I have chosen to place myself in a position where there is no forgiveness for mistakes. This causes you to become very aware of what’s going on.
This is Annalong. She was named after a small fishing village in County Down, Northern Ireland where the Pue family are from. In fact the Presbyterian church at the top of the road has the Pue family gravesite with many of my ancestors named. It is also a meaningful name to us as my mothers name was Anna and we purchased the boat shortly after her death.
We don’t own her any longer. She is off on adventures with another family, but I sure miss her. Along with sailing her, I miss writing in the salon, making coffee at sunrise and sipping it outside in the cockpit during my quiet time. As the sun rose I would continue to sit there, my mind coming slowly to rest like I was in a sacred sanctuary.
Annalong was to me as I imagine going to a cabin is or others. But let me tell you, when you put up the sails and the hull moves through the water with waves lapping her side – there is nothing like it.
Being on a boat that is moving through the water it’s so clear… Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important, and what’s not.James Taylor
How is the COVID pandemic like being out on the ocean?
How has it made you more aware of what is going on, and what’s important?
I’d love to hear from you.
5 thoughts on “Hang in there!”
I do not sail, but you mentioned weather. Daily, I look at the skies…whenever I am outside. God paints beautiful, mysterious skies! Teaching my grandkids to look for shapes in the sky…an animal, a rocket, a person, and more! Running in the grass chasing the shadows of clouds passing overhead and trying to catch one is great exercise. Watching for rainbows to appear during and after rain is fun, then watching to see if it will be a single or double bow, how long it will last, trying to decide which end will fade first, and finally wondering how far away the pot of gold is…all great experiences one should not miss! I am always reminded of God as Creator, Psalm 19:1, and other passages to tell my grandkids.
Watching the skies has gotten me through many stressful days, filling the days with thankfulness and thanksgiving, and enhancing imagination! When one is alone, one is reminded the LORD is always with us with His creativity~
Great memories, Carson. I miss her, too.
We were out there together, us three, back when. Unforgettable.
Yep… let’s hang in there.
Thanks Ken – yes I remember. So much has passed by us since then. Hope you are well.
Some sailing terminology – relate it to COVID as you will:
Cat’s paws: the water is relatively calm, the waves reduced to a swell, and then you see the front edge of a breeze dancing towards the boat and past you.
Heave to (or hove to): when it has become dangerous to continue sailing and you need to stop the boat in the middle of the ocean. Depending on the boat and the type of sails, you need to lash the foresail or jib to one side and allow the mainsail to fill to the other – this effectively brings the boat to a standstill.
Squall: a strong wind characterized by a sudden onset – these can be unpredictable, can last from a few minutes to a few hours, and the wind speed can increase by 20-30 knots without warning. Squalls can break lines, tear sails and sometimes capsize ships. If you are fortunate enough to have seen one coming, you don your waterproofs, reduce your sails fast, and take the boat off auto-pilot.
Sailing has been such an integral part of your summers. When I think of you I always think of the poem–I think it’s by Masefield–“All I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. You must be missing it a lot. 😦 The main way that Covid has changed our lives is that I haven’t seen Gerry face-to-face since the middle of March. We visit on our cell phones looking at each other through the window of his nursing home. For almost a month we couldn’t even do that, as Gerry was at Royal Columbian Hospital, where visits were absolutely not allowed. He developed an infection in his heel that went into the bone and had to have his right foot amputated. This is one of the nasty outcomes of his diabetes. Other than that my life hasn’t changed much, except that I have more time to play my violin and have been practising quite diligently with the Olympic motto, “Higher, stronger, faster”. I have no idea why I’m working so hard at it. At my age I’m not going to go on the concert circuit. But I always think of Bruce Milne used to quote from Eric Liddle, “When I run I feel his pleasure.” Our daughter Maria graduated from John Knox Christian High School a year ago and is at loose ends. She has not been working or going to school because she is struggling with physical and mental health issues. She has social anxiety among other issues, and was practising “social distancing” long before it became a thing. Cheers, Pat
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