The rhythmic swooshing of sandpaper on varnish soothes my mind. I’ve always been good at simple respetitive tasks. Golden varnish streaks across bare wood, l often feel I’m alone in this world with such simple pleasures. My bush stokes are never perfect but they are mine, my art, my contribution, my way of showing how much I love these good old boats that have all but fallen from grace.
I Spent the day with a sailmaker, Sookie is getting a third stitch on all her sails and a third reef in her main. The staysail is getting one or two Reefs, still undecided and I orederd new sail bags. I went with linen Coler, it’s one shade darker than Sookies hull and very plain as these boats should be as to not detract from her impossibly perfect lines.
logic would didctate that I save every single cent right now but nothing going on in my life is logical. It’s fun and easy to dream of winning the lottery but what happens when you actually do? Will it make your life any better or destroy it. My every want and dream in the world has been handed to me on a silver plater and while my mouth is saying yes, yes, yes there is this part in the back of my brain saying WTF. Either way I can’t say no, I don’t want to say no, the challange alone is worthy of a great novel.
Six years of sailing Sookie and I still have not a single complaint. Sure she can’t muster the power to drive into a gale and still has no water tank. It’s true, I’m still using a plastic bucket and cooking on a camp stove. Her lack of heat sucks but her warm and inviting interior makes this one easily overlooked. She needs many things which give me a purpose in life, she just may be the greatest boat ever built, I certainly think she is.
So why? Why am I about to jump a plane and fly half way around the world when I have everything I want in the world floating under my tanned bare feet? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It’s no longer up to me, I’ve said yes and if it all works out great, if it doesn’t, great. You know the old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Well I have no plans of sailing Sookie out of the PNW but my goal of turning her into the perfect little offshore racer and voyaging yacht is still my number one goal until my future changes.
The last 6 years have been a monumental struggle for reasons I’m not at liberty to share here, the emotional roller coaster of first losing my wife and then my dog has worn me thin but life goes on. I’m feeling reborn and ready to move on and start living a little. I’m not rich but I’m free, free in a way few will ever know. Free to move half way around the world, dust of my captains credentials and secure a crew of film makers and misfits. I’m also free enough to simply pass on the opportunity and continue on with my own little ship and my simple life.
The day Sookie arrived in Bellingham a fellow Hess owner said to me ” you have no idea what you have there” I smiled and said yes I do. My words couldn’t be further from the truth, until you have set out on an open ended voyage on one of these little ships you can never understand how close Lyle Hess came to perfection with this design. I wouldn’t expect any less from a guy that never sold out to make money, he designed boats he loved, the Falmouth was 52 years into his designing career and built to his own personal specs for the hypothetical what is the perfect yacht for a couple to sail around the world in.
Her perfection is not measured by the size of her engine or how many berths she has, it’s measured in her pure sailing elements. She wasn’t designed with an enclosed head or a hot shower but has the perfect spot for a brass lantern within reach of her day berths where I often nap between wood working projects. Each and every one of her spaces was designed for safe, comefortable sailing. No she’ll never have a depth sounder or radar, her interior will always smell of hard woods, not Diesel and holding tanks. She is everything a sailor needs but nothing more. She is perfection but her sister keeps calling my name, sometimes you just have to experience it all to know not where your headed but where you came from.
There once was a beggar who sat on a box by the side of the road for many, many years.
Day in and day out, swarms of strangers would pass him on their way and the beggar did what all beggars do: ask for money.
One day a traveler was passing through town and the beggar shouted “Please give me some money!”
The traveler said “Sorry, I don’t have any money to spare, but I am curious about your box.”
“What about my box?” the beggar replied.
“Well, what’s in it?”
The beggar responded, “I don’t know, it’s just an old box I found here that I’ve been sitting on for years.”
Persistent in his inquiry, the traveler once again asked what was in the box. The beggar replied, “I’ve never looked.” The traveler said “Why not?”
“Because there is nothing there!” the beggar howled back. The traveler said “Well let’s take a look, shall we?”
Finally, to appease the traveler’s insistence, the beggar split the box open and amazingly, a treasure of gold burst onto the ground. He’d be sitting on it for years and never even knew it.
And off the traveler went.
What treasure are you sitting on?
And what will you do with it?