Sundance at sea
Alone, sleep-deprived, and despairing, I released the lines, flattened myself onto the floor of the cockpit, and let the 60 mile-an-hour winds do their worst. Towering whitecaps crashed over the deck. I covered my head with both arms, fending off the explosions. Each time I looked up, the hunched old women sat in perfect stillness on the deck, smoking a pipe. Some part of my brain knew she was a hallucination – but mostly, I was glad for the company.
The real hallucination was the one that led me to this Godforsaken ocean storm. Crushed by a three-quarter-life crisis, I’d wanted to make a mark in the world. Sailing around its circumference seemed an honorable pursuit, if a trifle ambitious given I’d never sailed farther than 26 miles offshore never out of sight of land. Once underway, homicidal thoughts, breakdowns, storms, hallucinations, a collision at sea, and an achingly slow prostate made a hash of my lofty dreams. Thousands of miles away from everything I cared about, and hounded by reporters from A Current Affair for a hit-and-run at sea, I was forced to ask: what, in God’s name, am I doing here? The answer is part comedy, part adventure, and a salute to aging ungracefully.
This 75,000 word memoir is a work in progress. It is in the vein of Bill Bryson’s A WALK IN THE WOODS and ADRIFT by Steven Callahan. It captures the adventure of sailing alone on the high seas, while also examining the persistent, numbing awareness that old age shall not be shaken off lightly. My urgent desire to sail around the world will appeal to baby boomers who dream of doing something grand. And especially those boaters who have ever felt a desire to venture beyond the horizon.