Tag Archives: Bernard Moitessier

Experience or Judgement

Can’t Blame Everything on the Bossa Nova

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What Having a Hard Time of Things Looks Like

 

Odd jobs ate my week’s allotment of time. Hidden among the thieving chores and tasks were the weeds. So I performed the banishing act with a gas powered filament line empowered whirling dervish of a whacker. Then, fabric softener was purchased and the salt encrusted lines aboard my sailboat, not all but some were machine washed. Car was a disaster and had to be cleaned. My personage a disaster and had to be scrubbed to within a hair’s breath. My personal maintenance has gone on day in and day out. Thistle, thorn and stickers excised. Dust, pollen and cobwebs wiped away. Sunscreen having served its function removed. Bites from bugs soothed by calamine. I have been tattered, battered but none the worse for the wear.

Thoroughly exhausted the organizing pleasure of what remains of the day is to get horizontal with the current book- The Logical Route by Moitessier. There seems to be a safe and sane serenity space located on my bunk. First, brush teeth, turn on reading light and hold my book in the light with my rosebush punctured by venomous thorns hands. Moitessier’s narrative has been entrancing as it strips the bark from the present to remind us of the always here waiting for us to notice- eternal. His attention to detail- not just any set of particulars- but the concerns of a penniless in pocket abounding in wealth beyond all measure in spirit adventurer opens a space to an unexamined inner world. Moitessier’s gift is to reveal a more intimate testimonial, a more honest accounting of the circumstances he dared to overcome.

Filling the water tanks to the boat, cleaning toilets, putting pots and pans away, make a cup of coffee. It has been that kind of week. Many tasks have been technical. Cut this, acquire that, split the cable apart and insert this thing in there, seal it back up with heat shrink tubing, affix wire ties, onto the next chore. As is said often preparing to sail offshore with even one misplaced matchbook can spell disaster.

Most of what passes for skillful passagemaking is the mental faculty we describe as judgement. Experience is insufficient. Judgement is key.

As always may I suggest buying a book or booking my show as a gateway to fun and laughter….

Edited Red Star

 

May 1, ’18 First of May

Wind and Wave

Akumal headlands small

Shoreline

We are sailing from San Francisco Bay to the Channel Islands this summer. Aside from working on the to-do list and planning is to take pause from preparations and spend time reading Bernard Moitessier. The French-Vietnamese circumnavigator’s maritime narrative reads as lyric verse and Farmers Almanac guidance.

Clutter can accumulate within the mind while preparing a sailboat. In this modern era there is the risk of having too much equipment. Electronic navigation has radically changed the task of keeping an accurate course and position. Automatic Identification System-allows two vessels to view the others information while approaching and take evasive action or as needed to hail by VHF radio. Add the weather satellites and telemetry from the ocean buoys being caught offshore in an unexpected gale is much less common now than in earlier times.

Moitessier reads more as an example in how to exercise judgement. He nudges less seasoned mariners to unloading expectations, Turn the keys to your life over to the seas rhythm and wavelength. Be with the wind and the waves. Listen to the music of the bow wake. Technology can veil the visceral, anxiety can turn attentions inward, the long list of things you didn’t get done before shoving off can distract.

Sweet Seas

We untether from a land based time and begin living on that other scale on the inner clock. Nothing much happens when sailing resembling the pace of the modern world. You become acquainted with the pace and rhythm of the clear and present. Here and now with hundreds of miles ahead asks the voyager to get comfortable in their own bones. Impatience, the odd pace of life at sea, unrealistic expectations will contaminate the mind and fog the lens of judgement. Exercising untainted judgement is the highest form of voyaging art. The best decisions determine whether you and your boat will both live to tell.

Edited Red Star

Buy a book, book a show, and be sure to come back for no good reason other than to have a look-see. I’m right here mate.

Bernard Moitessier Pelagic Wisdom for Celestial Loons

Inscription from the author

“I am a
citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh
yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders,
where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of
wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.”

Bernard Moitessier

            If you don’t
know anything about sailing and would like to know more you could do a lot
worse than to head to your favorite book vendor and acquire anything written by
Bernard Moitessier. I had the great fortune of studying celestial navigation
aboard his world record setting steel ketch Joshua in 1981 in Sausalito. He was a capable navigation instructor.
He spoke with a French accent. At that time I didn’t know his life story and
had no idea he’d been born in Viet
Nam. He embodied both East and West. He
looked all French to me. I knew he was a circumnavigator. I knew he had gone
alone non-stop one and three quarters time around the world aboard Joshua. I
knew right off at first sight that he was a romantic, that his life was a story
of the poet, the soul, the delicate balance between foolishness and courage.
Seeing sailing through Moitessier’s prose is to transcend the practical, the technological
and instead penetrate to a man who has found a method for speaking about the
natural wonders of the oceanic world. Yes, he can be practical. But, it is his
spirit that shines in his books. His bed aboard Joshua was lush, sizable, with
an abundance of velvet pillows and thick multiple colored quilts and goose down
comforters. It was mysterious, celebratory, it was a refuge, a place where deep
sleep could be found, spirits revived, a place where lovers could play. Joshua
was at first sight a no nonsense sea boat. Her purpose was visible even to a
novice. Here the boat and man stood, a team, a boat with a hull made of steel
and a man with a soul infused with the heart of a poet. So, as I suggested at
the outset of this essay and I emphasize at the end. Where do you go to find
out about things? Who do you trust? I would suggest that a place to begin would
be by reading some of Bernard Moitessier’s books. He will prove to be a
reliable timeless guide to the art and craft of sailing the oceans of the world
by way of the soul.

BANKRUPT HEART                                 THE SECOND NOVEL 

“He’s heading out?”
Kristine asked.

“That man loves
open water.” Jackie couldn’t manage a smile. Lenny’s leaving was just as well.
“Those close calls, the false alarms, break a girl’s heart when it turns out to
be nothing.” Jackie was pensive, she reconsidered, “It was better than that.
Must have been, when this one ended it hurt like hell, worst heartache I’ve
ever had.”

“Sometimes a man
can tear a hole right through us,” Kristine said.

“Men will do that.”
Jackie lamented. “But, I’ve never been drawn close to a man who’s not full of a
fight. I like the brawlers, someone you can argue with, I’m talking about a man
that’s trying to make something of his life.”

Bankrupt Heart Copyright © 2011 by Dana Smith