One year and some change has gone by since our big drama on the high seas. I've had a few people ask me, probably just trying to be nice, if I was going to write a book about it. For me, I didn't want the loss of our boat to be the end of a story. Maybe there would be an additional chapter padded on at the end with some obligatory nods to the future, but essentially it would be a story about loss and disaster.
A larger and more significant crisis averted, but a substantial loss none the less. I just can't square that narrative as being my story, even if anyone would want to read it.
I went backpacking with a friend a few weeks ago for Father's Day. It was terrific, although I'm afraid I didn't shut up the entire three days. While rambling, I heard myself say out loud a truth that I've been formulating in my head for a while: my children will have a better life growing up as sailing kids. And I'm not being the father I should be by keeping them from that.
There are some realities that I'm sure you know better than I do. Realities that no matter what I argue, you know in your bones to be a certain way and you've arrived there through a lot of experience and reflection. The kids on the boat are one of those for me.
My daughter picked up a penny yesterday from the ground and put it in my pocket, saying "Here dad, this will help buy our next boat." She already gets it: a goal that is so much more massive than nearly any other. A goal that not only consumes you but also one that's worth being consumed by.
And that version of life is frankly better than the alternative. Charlotte and I talk about it a lot: it's just so damn easy to live on shore. In a year's time sailing we would have made dozens of new and interesting friends. We would have had close calls, seen amazing things, turned our backs on not-so-amazing-things, and done it all as a family.
The years we spent on Rebel Heart, especially our last two spent really sailing and putting miles on, were some of the best and hardest of my life. In not-that-many years from now, our youngest daughter will be-not-that-little anymore. There are some realistic reasons for waiting until kids are a little older: sailing life is hard with 0-4 year olds. But after a certain age, those reasons devolve into excuses.
If you've never seen that the grass truly is greener in the sea, I can understand why it doesn't call to you. But for those of us stung with sailing heroin, we just can't shake it.