When I was in my mid-twenties, I returned to Los Angeles after a vision-quest in the deserts of Arizona. With nearly no money and no place to stay, I was scouring the newspapers for something within my means, as the street people were getting fed up of me stealing their refrigerator boxes. As is my way, I browsed through the entire paper, eventually noticing a 26' sailboat for sale for only $1200. In L.A., it costs more than that for first, last, and deposit, so I gave the guy a call. Mind you, at that time my boating experience was limited to small powerboats on lakes. Knowing nothing at all about sailboats (and caring even less, I needed somewhere to live,) I purchased a 26' Clipper Marine swing-keel, a pop-top model, and proceeded to make it home.
Back then, though, slips were dear, they had waiting lists for 'em. I was allowed only 2 weeks to move the boat from Marina Del Rey. A bit more hunting about and I found a slip down in Redondo Beach, several miles south. "Gonna have to move this thing somehow," I muttered to myself on my way to the bookstore to learn how to sail. Colgate's Sailing Theory, a minimalistic introduction, became my teacher. I'd landed a job during the days, so only had time to take the boat out after work. By then, it was nearly dark. I started up the outboard motor, and my buddy K.C. and I backed her out of the slip and headed out towards the Santa Monica Bay. As we cleared the breakwater, the waves were HUGE, and it was dark, and the boat was pitching and rolling - I was scared shitless (as well I should have been.) "This is great. I have a boat I can't sail but must move in another week," I thought. Solution? Read more, build confidence, do this in the DAYTIME.
Well, the day finally came that I had to go. K.C. drove the car down to Redondo while I motored that poor excuse for a McGreggor out of the harbor. "Not so bad," I thought, now that I could see where the hell I was going. "May as well," I decided, raising the mainsail. It was then that the most amazing thing happened: The boat sprang to life, as though posessed by a benevolent spirit, and began moving of its own accord! "HELL, yes!" I shouted to the world, dropping the tiller in its makeshift guide as I wobbled to the mast and hoisted the jib. Now there were two sails up, and the boat was flying! I was ecstatic! The boat sliced neatly through the small waves - I WAS SAILING! It was THE most OUTRAGEOUS rush I'd ever experienced! Southbound now, all I had to do was figure out where the new marina was. Well, that's alot harder than one may think. We're used to seeing things from land, with lots of telltale signs and directions. From the ocean, all I had to go by was the recollection that there were some big smokestacks nearby. But south I went, and survive I did - despite the fact that I'd unwittingly sailed directly over a tanker pipline that ran between shore and about a mile or so out. God watches over fools, 'cause if it hadn't been high tide, I'd probably have drowned when the pipe caught on the flimsy keel and ripped the boat in half.
From that moment on, I could not be daunted or disuaded from sailing that tub every single day. I took her out in weather and to places that such a light hull had no business being. And eventually, I became the sailor my soul has always been.
Now fifteen years have passed. I've owned a number of boats since then, and each has taught me a lesson or three. I've been out of sight of land, sailed boats without motors, boats without WORKING motors, and gained the life experiences necessary to bring me to this point: I have acquired a 33' sloop, and am setting out without destination or timetable; I'm just heading South, to whereever the boat and winds will take me, for as long as the voyage can last. These past four years inland (and the others before them) have taught me that I am simply not meant for dry ground. There's a passion in me, a yearning for the ocean that can never be quelched. No number of exotic animals will sate it, not even the best of jobs or recording studios will substitute. So, finally, the waterman returns home, to the ocean. I will sail great distances, see things as almost no one else ever sees them. I will be reliant upon my vessel, my abilities and the good grace of the wind and waves. Wish me well, pray for fair winds and calm seas. I'm going to rebuild my House. When I return, I'm certain to have many new tales and songs to share with you.
Some of you may be sailors. Others probably wouldn't get into a boat if their lives depended on it. Whatever your passion, may you discover and fulfill your passions as I'm after mine.
If I find the time before I go, I'll be putting up some sailing links and information here. Meanwhile, you can go to the Adventurer List page, where you can sign up to receive email updates from me (when I find an Internet Cafe) and be kept posted on my music and travels.