On Working, Sistership, Connections and What’s Next

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It’s been quite some time since I last opened the doors of the Trimaran Journal Corporate HQ and Whisky Bar. It’s musty and dim in here – let me lift the shades, open some windows, let some light in – ah, much better. Welcome everyone – please, sit, sip, read, enjoy.

Last winter my way too optimistic projections of retirement evaporated and I succumbed to the dismal fact that I needed a job – one that pays real money. At first, I found employment engineering tiny, trivial defects out of carbon fiber airplane parts – and was glad when the factory let me go. Now, I provide engineering support for a large freight airline (Not UAL again thank God). The airline lets me work remotely, which is great –  but the work keeps me tied to a computer 8 or more dreadful hours per day – which is not. Last week I packed up my hot spot and laptop, commuted to Ventura harbor, logged in and worked from Maravilla’s tiny cabin. ‘Tis a long held desire of mine to work from the boat, proving I should be careful what I wish for. Let me explain.

After eight hours a day of answering emails, documenting and substantiating repairs, writing legalistic letters to the FAA and other dry, awful, soul-sucking airplane business I had to get out. The cabin was no different from any cube farm – and as soon as I could, I bolted for the relief of the beach or the bar, leaving poor Maravilla tied to the dock, laptop emitting plaintive bleeps. Six days of soiling the cabin with corporate nonsense was all I – or Maravilla – could stand. She made it very clear she is a sailboat, not a cubicle.

It’s not where you work – it’s the work you do.

It wasn’t all bad, I managed to install a new solar panel on the aft deck and improve the tensioner rigging between answering emails and approving repairs. I even managed to bob about the harbor on my paddle board on a beautiful, crystal blue day taking pictures of lovely trimarans in Ventura.

While in Ventura, we met with the Super-Chicas from R2AK Team Sistership for a brief update. They scooted around the harbor under sail and oar looking very good, practicing for Newport-Ensenada and beyond. The new crew has re-energized the team and they are revving up their second R2AK attempt. I shared their latest R2AK biography on the Trimaran Journal Facebook. Within the hour a sad, tired, angry, old man denigrated the sisters and their efforts in a nasty comment on the post. I asked for clarification – did he really mean what he wrote? – and was blasted with more fury. I blocked him and felt intense respect for Michelle, Jo, Stephanie and Scout in their quest to inspire and promote sailing and adventure for women of all ages in the face of outright opposition and ridicule. Theirs is an upwind slog navigating treacherous waters and they deserve all the support we can give them. For more on Sistership and to donate to the cause – see https://www.sistership.org/. A repeat of an article I wrote about them last year is also found here: http://trimaranjournal.com/race-to-alaska-go-the-girls/

Illustrating the flip side of social media, cool connections were made too. I shared a link on the Trimaran Journal FB page from a young Italian lad hoping to circumnavigate Italy and more on his Dragonfly 800. Marco Rossato lost the use of his legs in a motorcycle accident in 2001 but hasnt let that stop him. He is a founder of Sailability – a premier sailing program in Italy dedicated to the themes of diversity, disability and children. His ambitious project: To first circumnavigate Italy, then, to attempt a solo Trans-Atlantic circle from deep in the Mediterranean! While an excellent platform for para-sailing, the Dragonfly may not be appropriate for the Atlantic, but I have a feeling Marco is not about to listen to reason. I put him in touch with the wheel chair bound rowdies from R2AK’s Team Alula and hope good things may come from their association. Find out more about Marco at his website – http://www.mydreamistri.com

Its been an eventful winter. I hung out online with some great writers at Stanford and learned much from them in November. In January/February I spent cold and lonely days in New York City being brainwashed…er….oriented by my new airline employer. In March I bought a house on the coast of Georgia and will move the whole kit and kaboodle there in June – Maravilla will return to the warm waters off St Simons, Jekyll and Cumberland Islands, back home to the timeless and spooky swamps and creeks of the Altamaha river delta. From there, I hope to do what I can to protect the ocean, to bring people to it so they fall in love and awe. The Pacific off California is sick with algae this season – loons, cormorants and pelicans die in vast numbers poisoned by the neurotoxin domoic acid. It is high time we started to care for the waters we sail upon.

And so I wonder, what’s to do with the Trimaran Journal? It’s original objective was to communicate the thrill and joy of trimaran sailing; and second to foster and inspire a community of like-minded sailors. I think it has done OK with the first and not quite so well the second. There have been many times I have thought of closing the whole thing down – it takes a lot of time and effort and does not generate enough income (any income) to keep Maravilla in sails, rigging and solar panels. I’ve toyed with the notion of gathering my favorite essays from the website into a book – 120 pages or so plus some illustrations – and selling the thing on Amazon – but its likely to cost more than it makes.

Here’s the thing…. I’ve still got a lot to say. I am concerned about the health of the ocean. Sailing puts us closer to the wild than almost any other activity. And being in the wild is the antidote for what ails us and the earth. Sailing makes us better. Sailing opens us to the wild and free ocean, connects us to it. Sistership, Alula and Marco along with groups like Golden Oldies and Multihull Appreciation Society show the way. We – these teams, groups, associations and grumpy sailors – are not in it for the money – we are in it for passion; we are in it to experience the wild directly, to make our lives better and so make all lives better.

Passionate about sailing and the ocean, inspired by adventure; it is good work we do. The work of Trimaran Journal is:

“To communicate the magic felt while blast reaching across the bay on the most amazing boats ever made. White, smoky spray flying to leeward, incredible speed, immense loads on rig, sails and gear – handled. In short…..the reason we get up in the morning.”

Indeed…..carrying on.



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