Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I have hundreds of children

I have hundreds of children
Yes I have to admit, after all of these years I must come clean and tell the truth.
Children, so many I can’t even count, my god what did I do.
It’s not hard to explain, but important that I finally recognize, and give them due.
They were all orphans, young in spirit every one of them, and a dream and desire.
This energy is so strong when I see it, I can’t help myself but to adopt them.
Like all children they start from a beginning, they try and test the boundaries every day as they, grow, change and develop into...................something.
Something, you say, yes I can only explain it as something, well something different than what they started out as with me.
You see my children over the years, have come and gone, some stayed for longer, but always they leave.  When they leave I am normally sad, but proud that I have been able to give, given to them something very real, something tangible and hopefully something very useful for so many parts of their future life.
I laugh at times when I think back to the many, the times of their joy at learning, the magic at seeing their faces come alive when theory is put into reality. I see their frustration and anger when their minds or their bodies don’t do what the lessons explained to be.
When they are tired I let them sleep, in their deep deep sleeps that only children can do, I pick them up when they stumble and fall. When they are sick I nurse then and bring them back to health, stitch their wounds and wipe their nose. Ah the pleasure it gives me when I re-live their faces.
They have been bad, and good, smart and stupid, devious and cunning, and they always come thinking they can rule the world, I love this naive arrogance that comes with youth. Ah, but they have taken a crafty old father to help them along, there’s not many tricks that I haven’t seen, but I am always stay open to seeing a new trick or two, but their games don’t last too long before I see through the smoke.
Every moment is a chance at learning, from dawn to dusk, and all through the night. They wake me at all hours with questions and demands, in my sleep I can answer most of them, but it’s me that they want to soften the blows when its knocking on their doors.
Like most youth, the more that you give, the more that they want, when you get to your limits and your down on your strength, they don’t recognize it at all, they just expect and demand more. My god they can tear you a part.
The game of learning is a game for both, you teach to their ability and their knowledge, let them practice and be pleased, then recommence the next steps of the game, push them at times when the game gets quite fierce, let them relax and be at ease when there’s time to just shoot the breeze.
There are rules to this game, but they should never be too complex, the art of all games, is to teach simplicity. There’s not a subject or a task that cant get broken down in parts, keep it simple and don’t be stupid, wise teachers never do.
So my children you have heard me speak, I am proud to have been a father to you all, whether it has been for a day, or many years that some have stayed, you have all given me something to think, something that has stretched me once more and that has rewarded me with pleasure and new life perspectives.
A true father I may never be, but I think that the role I have played has been ample for my days, but that role may never finish, I hope my wisdom continues to grow.
Stephen and my life time of crew

Every mile can be torture

Every mile can be torture
Sailing around Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn puts every boat and sailor at their limits. Being used it the area since my first rounding of the "Horn" in 2000 just hopefully makes me a smarter and safer sailor, I can't remember how many times I have sailed around it, but I know it's a lot.
Our first season project to take famous French sailor Franck Cammas down to Cape Horn because his dream was to sail a hydrofoil catamaran through this notorious waters, he had a sponsor, Julbo and they created a competition to find a lucky novice to sail it with Franck, Johannes a nice German guy.
The planning commenced, and the weeks and months rolled by, and finally the team and the boats came south.
What may seem like a simple route and logistics, is actually quite a political nightmare, people and equipment arriving in different countries on different times, having come from different places just screws the wheels of motion up. Having a catamaran that is foreign and not actually registered, is a major pain to get customs clearance, and most importantly the Chileans to agree to allow to sail this  part of the world.
On an average season in the south there are normally 1 to 3 visiting boats that are lost in these waters, wreaked, sunk or torn apart, when its ferocious, it's really mean around here.
The voyage and miles to Cape Horn from where we started is approximately 125 nautical miles,  or 230 kilometres, but you need to take Xplore which is the support boat and accommodation plus a fast enough Zodiac  that can keep up with the Catamaran that is capable of 31 knots there, and back.
From Argentina to Chile and the weather windows are not looking good, small but changing so fast that is just about any persons guess as to what going to happen. We headed south and looked to the sky's and barometer for opportunities.
One morning before departure from a southern anchorage prior to the cat sailing I overheard Johannes ask Franck if they should take some warm water and a towel for their hands before they left the beach, Franck's reply was short and to the point "You have to learn to suffer" and that was the end of the conversation.
Yes Franck and Johannes did complete a full circumnavigation of the Horn and continued to sail the long haul back to Puerto Toro immediately after, that's about a 100 nautical mile day on a fast but wet and powerful catamaran, well done guys !
My team on Xplore and the film and support crews were amazing, we drank to success.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Football players and Ballerinas

Football players and Ballerinas
In both these professions everyone likes and wants to feel important, and whilst both performers are quite different they both have their ways and their tendencies that can, from an outsiders view point be quite interesting and even amusing to witness.
It’s not very often that I speak, or write about land based sports, but I so often explain to people that clouds are very much like footballers and ballerinas.
Clouds all have their own types and personalities which when studied closely or if you are just in the habit of being surrounded by them on a daily basis you soon get to see how, and why each have their own idiosyncrasies.
There are cloud that big and strong, they don’t like being pushed around and normally get their own way (Cumulonimbus thunder head towering clouds) there are the soft and fluffy ones, that just want to have a quiet peaceful life and to do just “nice” things in life (Cumulo Humulus, trade winds clouds).
There are the goal keepers that won’t let anything through, they mark the barriers which stop the mixing between different types (Stratus, layered clouds that are at temperature and moisture layered points in the sky, like a blanket)
And you couldn’t miss the pretty and perfect performers that dance in the sky, flutter their wings and make art work and patterns in the upper reaches of the sky (Fracto cirrus, wispy wind driven clouds that mark the oncoming performance)
At some stage there is going to be trouble, it can’t be avoided, you couldn’t have a world of performers prancing around without someone’s noses getting put out of joint, a bit like the local rugby team accidently walking into a gay bar, there is going to be some trouble. And that’s what happens with clouds as well, we see it clearly when cloud masses of different temperature, density, moisture content clash with each other, Yes Thunder and lightening ! and what a knock out battle you get to see there.
And guess what, they all have ego’s and feel that they are all individually “special” and rightly so. But whichever cloud you are dealing with at any given point you must respect that their performance is part of the grand spectacular that we all can witness each and every day, as long as we look to the sky, above and around us, you will never be lost to find a new friend to learn about, talk to, admire or to possibly understand.
Long live the clouds, one of nature’s performers

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cutting Wind

Cutting Wind
That beautiful wind flowing fast through the trees, it cuts through the flesh and tears open the heart.
How can it be, that it’s in vigour is so real, it’s just a happy wee wind that is young, full of sprite.
The freshness and touch began right from the start, pure and so sweet with a future
Let it flow, too and fro,  through the soul and the bones, dress well and protect, it could take all your best.
Its time will end, when the seasons change and bend,  never mind where it has gone, it a mystery  of long.
We build and we block, lands that normally were not, the winds go astray in a different confused way.

Boats are Women

Boats are Women
In English speaking countries, boats are referred to as women.
If men who sail their boats only realized that they could do well by treating both their boats and their women in a similar way then both voyages would be a little smoother.
Because if just having a "fuck" brings the man moments of pleasure, the reality is that paying a little  more attention to his woman in making heartfelt passionate love would possibly bring boundlessly more enjoyment for both.
Boats are really no different, short and quick satisfaction may seem grand, but if it's for lasting pleasure then you need to consider listening to the needs, signs and the reactions that a boat gives.
To great loves, long may they be.