“It was more than just physical exhaustion; It was causing more pain inside than I had ever felt before. I clenched my teeth and threw my head against the hard, wet floor and wept. I cried like a baby till I was so numb with the cold that the pain was dulled. Shivering and week, I crawled into the cabin and slept in my water proofs, curled up in a ball in the footwell by the engine.” Ellen MacAthur
I have spent the last few weeks reading and re reading the countless letters I have received from solo sailors, many of them confessions of the sea. Many of these letters were from friends who had never mentioned the challenges or rewards of their solo sailing. There are no words to describe how much these letters mean to me or how much they have helped me sort thorough my experience.
“You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that’s all.”
I didn’t really know what had changed after 25 years of on and off solo sailing including a 760 mile solo offshore voyage. I still don’t know what happened out there.
“I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.” ~Bernard Moitessier
It had taken much introspection but I came to the conclusion that if I wanted a crew member on the boat the only way to find one is to set off solo and let her find me. About a day after I made my decision to start my journey solo I received a letter, more of a proposition.
“In the worship of security we fling ourselves beneath the wheels of routine-and before we know it our lives are gone.”
~Sterling Hayden, Wanderer
I now no longer have to sail solo but have chosen to, not forever, just long enough to face what ever it was out there haunting me, I want to know if I exist. A journey is in the works but not before I sail in company to Port Townsend for the wooden Boat festive this weekend and in two weeks I set of wish Kasia in her new boat to explore the islands, then she heads off to Mexico I head out solo.
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet