Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Do it Soon!"


Hinckley Bermuda 40 Yawl

November 22, 2012
Every time Angie spotted a Hinckley sailboat, she would point it out, exclaiming how beautiful it was. This was back in the mid 1980s when we were living aboard our Tartan 30 Escapade and cruising the east coast and the Bahamas. Ever since that time, when anyone politely asks, “Is there anything I can do for you?” she is apt to respond, “Buy me a Hinckley yacht.” It was a double jest. Not only were Hinckleys, the Rolls Royces of American built sailboats, far out of our reach financially. But after our year long seagoing adventure, we had gone back to work, and our interests had been diverted to wilderness and white water canoeing, and then to long camping trips throughout much of Mexico, the U.S. and the maritime provinces of Canada. Occasionally we talked about going back to sea again, or maybe buying a converted lobster boat and cruising up and down the Intracoastal Waterway on the east coast, but this was just one of many dreams, like living in France or Italy for several months or a year, and taking a trip around the world.

So this September, when we were renting a cottage in Southwest Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, I mentioned to Angie that this was the home of Hinckley yachts, and maybe we should look at one. There happened to be a 45 foot Hinckley yawl for sale in the Hinckley yard and so we asked the broker if we could look at her. (This isn't going where you think it is!) She was as beautiful inside as she was out, with her sumptuous accommodations and mahogany woodwork. We told the broker we were seriously thinking of going cruising again, but that this boat was too big and too expensive for us. The owner would probably accept a lower price, he told us. “He's a rich doctor, but he's seventy-five years old and getting too old for sailing.” “I'm older than that,” I told him. The broker looked at me, and without a pause came back, “You'd better do it soon!”
No, we didn't buy the Hinckley. The truth is that we were already negotiating to buy a cruising sailboat, and we were planning to “do it soon.”

It's been almost 27 years since we returned from our year living aboard  Escapade. Can this old man and his (much younger!) mate go back to the cruising life after all this time? The boat would be bigger, providing many more comforts but also more challenging to handle. With GPS and modern chartplotters and other electronics, navigation should be a cinch, but the learning curve is pretty steep for an old codger who grew up when even television was a novelty. On the other hand, we are both (thank all the gods that be) in good health, physically fit, and still in command of (most of) our mental faculties. Going back to sea has been something we've talked about for years—really ever since we returned from our first big sailing adventure—but there was always some reason we didn't do it. We didn't want to sell or rent out our house, we had acquired two cats that we couldn't bear parting with, we were having such a good time on canoe expeditions, or traveling around in our van, the list goes on and on. There was always “Some day. . .” But more and more and more of our friends were dying or becoming incapacitated by illness. Then one day Angie said “Let's do it!” and all of the obstacles began to melt away. So we began our search for a boat.


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)

1 comment:

  1. You are very inspirational. I hope you keep posting. When do you depart?