Saturday, April 25, 2015








'Zeta' (Small)

'Zeta' (Big)








I have been here before - a crossroad similar to others taken in the past, but now things are different. I can see the present, from a lifetime’s perspective.  I can look back and be thankful for opportunities taken and for wonderful experiences and for the fulfilments of many a dream. A lot of them were of sailing small boats, where and when I could.

At this particular crossroad, I know that options for the future are limited, because of my age which has brought restrictions, both physical and mental. I am no longer as strong or resilient as I was. Youth is no longer on my side, and unavoidably, truth tells that a final horizon is closer now than in the past. Inevitably that expanse beyond the horizon draws closer and closer, drawing me to the greatest and last adventure.

That does not mean that all hope has gone for yet more of a future before passing beyond the horizon. Where there is life in the old seadog there is still hope! Woof! Woof!

Having sold ‘Minnow’, I find myself once again without a sailing boat, and all that is entailed in owning one. There is a vacuum which instinctively I want to fill by purchasing or building another.

Times have gone when I could set off on a solo ocean adventure, the end of which I could not predict – a true adventure with no guarantee of success. Heading out to sea with three months provisions at the beginning of planned circumnavigation, is an experience I believe I shall never ever have again. I did not achieve my aim of circling the globe* aboard ‘Zeta’, my junk-rigged Folksong yacht. In fact, I did not go beyond a few hundred miles; but all the planning, all the building and all my hopes were worthwhile in themselves, and somehow they were fulfilling. Something more important took away the dream, my love of wife and family. The truth struck home. I could not abandon them for three years – they were more important than my dream. I do not regret my decision to sell the boat, but the question remains, ‘What if?’

Now I am at another crossroad. What direction shall I take? Will it be to endeavour to fill the vacuum with other things, or will it be a boat? Could I ever swallow the anchor? Could I ever be contented without a boat? Only time will tell, and perhaps not long at that.


The photos are of boats I have owned, some of which I built.


*’Zeta’ – Folksong


Alden Smith said...

Bill, I read before on one of your posts about how you gave up your dream of sailing around the world because you could not bring yourself to subject your wife and family to a three year separation. I was deeply moved when I read that and I have been meaning to comment on it but have felt that because I don't know you personally my comments might not have been welcome - but since you have mentioned it again I will throw caution to the wind and say exactly what I think.

To give up your own dream for what was (is) a higher ideal (The love of family, Their Needs, instead of Your Needs) is a spiritual act of some substance. Putting doctrine aside, all religions are in their essence about the transcendence of 'Self' / 'ego' for others. The spiritual path is about 'transformation' of ourselves towards a 'selfless' life.

Jesus said something (John 15:13) along the lines of 'Greater love hath no man but that he would lay down his life for his friends' Christians believers view these words within the New Testament context as a prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus but they have huge significance as a universal spiritual truth - The call of spirituality is a call to love, and this call involves the transcendence of our own selfish needs and wants and the putting of others before ourselves. You absolutely did the right thing by your family, no doubt about that in my mind at all.

An interesting aspect to me of your post is that I am personally not all that far behind you in age and circumstance. I will wait with interest as to how you deal with the parting of the ways with your lovely little boat - my feeling is that we are never too old to own one!!

Unknown said...

Hello Bill, I for one, hope you find something to fill the void, and I sincerely hope to read of it on your blog.

William Serjeant said...


Thank you very much for your comment.

The verse to which you refer, John 15:13, tells of the quality of love as seen in the sacrifice of self to the point of death for the ‘friends’ (verse 14) of Jesus, i.e., other Christians. Jesus just didn’t preach; He did what He preached. He gave His life by dying on a cross. (John 3:16) When He said these words, He was addressing eleven of His disciples at the ‘last supper'. Judas Iscariot had left the upper room to carry out his act of betrayal. (John 13:31) Prior to that, Jesus had set an example of the nature of Christian love by washing the feet of all twelve of His disciples, even the betrayer's. He went on to describe the greatest act of love; the act of love He would do for all who would believe in Him. It was only later that the eleven took it in and really understood what He had done for them and for others who would believe in Him. (John 17:8, 9, and 20)

Terry said...

hi bill,
i read this post yesterday and it got me thinking how may be you were being a bit tough on yourself, this morning read this on SCA email:"the concept isn’t particularly new—especially not to Small Craft Advisor readers—but the more general outdoors crowd is beginning to figure out you don’t need to trek to the Himalayas or row across the Atlantic to have a satisfying, challenging experience in nature. More would-be adventurers, it seems, are recognizing that with the demands of work, family and other responsibilities, they may never find the time and money to schedule that grand expedition. Magazines and blogs are buzzing about so-called “micro adventures,” short, thrilling trips that fit in around work and family commitments.

Kenthefenceguy said...

Hi Bill,
I have friends who aren't boaters who love to quote that the happiest 2 days in a boaters life are when they buy a boat and then when they sell it. Not true. I've never been happy when I let a boat go. I've sold 5 of them including 2 where I already owned my next boat. It was bittersweet every time. I think it's because much of the joy in owning a boat is the dreaming and planning of modifications and future voyages and when we let one go we have to let go of those too, along with part of the connection to our memories of past voyages. Just because a boat is sitting idle somewhere doesn't mean it's not being used in someone's dreams and imagination.
Ken in Arizona

William Serjeant said...

Ken and Terry,

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Thank you.