Wednesday, November 4, 2009

you don't do it alone

When I sailed a 25-foot sailboat, Karen Lee, from Port Townsend, Washington to Kodiak, Alaska back in 1985 a lot of people treated me like some sort of pioneer, which was bullshit.

The way a couple of people carried on, you’d have thought I was Vasco de Gama or Francis Drake.

Although I consider myself to be a swashbuckler of sorts, let’s not get all carried away.

All I did was to follow a common route taken by a lot of fishing boats. I went up the inside passage to Yakutat and crossed the Gulf of Alaska to Kodiak.

I had a lot of fun, of course. It was a very interesting experience and I immensely enjoyed myself, but my pal and I did not do it alone as is commonly thought. All we did was basically sail Karen Lee.

Most of the real work had been done before I even set foot on board her. My support group was immense.

About a jillion people had gotten up in the morning and gone to work doing a myriad of things that made my little voyage possible.

There were miners, manufacturers, boat builders, sail makers, grocers, electronic manufacturers, and a whole cartload of people that were either directly or indirectly involved in building Karen Lee. That’s just the people that built the boat.

Then there were guys in the Coast Guard manning the LORAN stations, the cartographers, the weathermen, the printers that printed the charts, and the list goes on and on, probably all the way back to Pythagoras, a long dead Greek that figured out how to solve the triangle, which is the basis of navigation. LORAN or GPS cannot work without triangulation.

Even my father sailed on the voyage with me in spirit because when I was doing poorly in math at school, he took it upon himself to make geometry interesting and practical for me by teaching me the basics of celestial navigation.

In short, two guys sailed a 24 foot, 7 inch sailboat from Port Townsend to Kodiak with a support group of probably well over a million different people by the time it’s all over and done with.

So in truth, I didn’t do it alone.

I’m at sea writing this, so there’s no alcohol out here, but when I get home, I’m going to pour myself a drink of good Jameson’s Irish whisky and have an enjoyable drink in honor of the countless people that made me look like a hero.

It's crew change day. I'm getting the hell off of here. First stop: the nearest friendly, local, neighborhood booze store for a bottle of Jameson's 12.

No comments:

Post a Comment