Repair and Retreat – thoughts on less is more

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Last month, in Anacortes, I tried to bulldoze a new channel between marker 3 and the breakwater at Cap Sante Marina.  There was a tremendous crash and poor Maravilla shuddered and shook all scared and dumbstruck – flabbergasted that her skipper would run her into a rock of all things – a bloody great rock!

The photos above show the results of my folly. The rock is properly charted, buoyed, marked and known – at least by the NOAA surveyors. For fun, click on the link below and zoom in on the channel leading to the marina off Cap Sante head – look between marker “3” and the light on the breakwater – yup, 0.5 fathoms at low water. Usually not a problem except during a -1.8 foot tide……..Crash. Like Wouter Verbraak on Vestus Wind during the last Volvo….

Anacortes to Skagit Bay – NOAA Chart 18427

The collision drove the daggerboard into the aft face of the trunk with enough force to crack the laminate. The aft face of the daggerboard took a severe beating as well. Repair is almost complete by the good folks at North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes – crushed foam replaced with solid laminate.



Daggerboard trunk, aft face looking forward at floor level. Flooring has been trimmed to allow access.


Trailing edge broken and bleeding

Needing a quick infusion of cash, I took a job three inches from the surface of the sun in super-heated Riverside California. Plumes of hydrogen plasma swirl just above the ochre atmosphere. Hard, flinty mountains loom grey in constant haze, no water for epochs, a ravenous paradise.

I am here chasing filthy lucre. The pirate life has run its course. Thus to Riverside, where I engineer removal of defects from large carbon fiber pieces of airplanes for way too much money. The activity is financially dense – it generates a river of money – and I have my bucket out, dipping my share. At least until the kitty is refreshed and the boat is repaired and my feet get itchy and my spleen requires regulating. To quote Melville from the best opening paragraph ever written:

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.”

Maravilla will soon be on the sunny coast to swoon out to Catalina and the Channel Islands with perhaps a quick trip to Baja thrown in – her skipper semi-marooned in the desert.

‘Tis true the primary goal while here is to make a pot o cash. And yet I wonder if I really need quite so much money? Though very good at it, I find the work un-inspiring – dreary even. The factory and city are merely functional, have no soul, no joy and put product before humanity. Is the life time spent here, doing this, worth the cash?

I think of my incredible friends on Alula and Fly racing in R2AK and cruising home with the whales and eagles and dolphins and salmon, true vagabonds and adventurers and think – surely I could do that? Have I made a devils bargain and traded freedom and adventure for another set of golden handcuffs? Its a hard bargain for sure. Money is necessary in this age, but its stored energy creates a social gravity. Where gobs of money flow, social space/time distorts and – if unaware – we accelerate down the face of that gravity wave into the voracious maw of more, more, faster, faster.

The trick is to reduce the need for money, reduce the desire for its stored energy – move to a lower energy state. Ride the wave long enough for the uplift and then drop off the back; love the sunset, breeze, peace and time in its wake; soul intact, heart yet beating, mindful.

So I turn to Webb Chiles – great artist and greater sailor. In his mid 70’s, Mr Chiles is on another circumnavigation – his sixth – this one aboard GANNET – a Moore 24. Thats right, whistle in awe, it is justified. Avowed pursuer of what can be accomplished with less, he has set a high standard indeed.


Mr Chiles inspires us by example. He sets out to explore the far reaches of Planet Ocean as efficiently as possible – as close to the elements as he can get. His is not to do more with less, it is to explore what can be done with less. It is a subtle but important point. He does not do it for the accolades – this is a personal quest. Tonight, Mr Chiles is somewhere in the Indian Ocean – go here for his SPOT tracker. When ashore, Mr Chiles writes an entertaining and lively blog – Inthepresentsea.

For those inspirational vagabonds showing us what can be done with less – Spike on Allula, Steve on Fly and Mr Webb Chiles on Gannet – Cheers, Fair Winds and a Tip of the Hat.

Alula arrives

Spike and Zach on Alula – how sweet it is


Fly drying out before turning around and going the other way


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