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