To Sail or not to Sail

August 10, 2009


I think my title is a little misleading. I will always sail. However, what I may or may not do is take a round the world trip someday, on a tall ship like Picton Castle. I had the great fortune last Saturday of being escorted via motorized dory (skiff?), camera gear in tow as always, to this stylized, refitted square rigged Barque, where I had the utmost pleasurable two and a half hours grabbing cutaways and inserts and interviews and action shots of ‘somebody’s dream’. Cause that’s what it amounted to, somebody’s dream, Captain Dan Moreland’s, in fact. I met the Captain and, being me, was really quite in awe of his presence – this man has been around the world a number of times in control of this vessel which, in turn, is controlled by the seas…well, I know he has mastered nature to an extent, but I think when you are out on the open seas in a large sailing rig you are always somewhat in the hands of destiny. I am sure that, in essence, this man is reminded of this on a daily basis when considering the fate of one of his crew, young Laura Gainey, who was swept off the rear deck of the ship in rough seas a few years back. Still, the man has gotten past this unfortunate ‘destiny’, but perhaps the ship and those who view it haven’t – it was certainly on my mind as I wandered the ship from engine room to galley, camera in hand. But I didn’t ask about Laura and that fateful night and what it has done to Captain Moreland and the existing crew. Instead I wondered if I would feel her presence (I didn’t), although I most certainly remembered it. And instead I filmed young hands carefully caressing a freshly sandpapered spar, and a faded blue canvas sneaker hanging to dry above the heads of crew tarring and mending, and the ship’s striped cat (the only good cat is a striped cat – LMM), and the wonder and exhilaration of our cheerful, kind escort, Maggie, that this is an adventure she chose and stuck to and is now living, warts and all…and all in all, it was just a knock-you-over kinda day, surreal and breathtaking and wonderful and frightening – at the thought that if I could, would I choose to undertake this adventure? I am a fearful sailor, I don’t like high winds and sudden gusts that threaten to throw you into the brink. I am dreadfully afraid of deep water, always have been, musta drowned in a previous life. And yet…and yet…I suppose Laura thought of possible consequences too, and so must these sailors now aboard that lovely, grand pirate-like ship…and yet, there she was, and there they are. And so, one day, perhaps I will put my fears aside and maybe follow the same journey, I dunno. I have always been one for adventure, and sucking the marrow out of life, although it will take me a lot of guts to overcome my fears. But maybe having Faith negates those fears, because if you believe there is a God and a pre-destined path and that you are not alone and that Mary herself is out there watching over you, then what is the purpose of fear? And worry?

Mostly, from the great Captain Moreland himself, I heard (and of course recorded) these words, which I was thrilled to add to my film, Drummerboyz, just after I said something like “Dear God will I ever learn technology and the business of filmmaking and will this project ever come to fruition and oh Lord when is someone gonna see what a great filmmaker I am and what a terrific writer I am etc. etc. etc….”you take on a huge, overwhelming project (like buying a steel hulled ship and refitting her as a square rigger and take on students and travel the world) and you just come at it in dribs and drabs and you learn, bit by bit, day by day, and before you know it – you’ve accomplished something you maybe always believed you could but were never really sure that you could.” Well, that is not an exact quote by any means, but that is the essence of what he said and I just recall leaving that beautiful old lady of the seas with a grand smile on my face, and I probably gushed like the idiot that I always am when it comes to small talk, but innately I knew that I was happy and that I had heard something I needed to hear that day, from an old salt who has had the guts to live his live and who has overcome tremendous obstacles to live, to really live, selfish as many people may think that is, and I just thought ‘well, allright’, this has been a good day. And later, Steve and I went for a sail on the little Tanzer 22 and we were in awe of the crew up on the spars hanging a newly mended T’Gallant sail, and we saluted the solo crew dude who was perched facing the sunset with his feet up on the deck, in apparent ease with his lot in life (was he really? We’ll never know – but we like to think that he was ’cause it made our day), soaking up the extraordinary sunset we are almost always partial to during a late evening sail, and we were content.

It was a good day.

Susan 🙂

PS Had I had the funds to go to Scotland, I would have missed this experience. Strange how life comes around when we let it, huh?
PPS Triumph Street is doing well over there without me…a first, a third and a fourth in the Games a week before the Worlds…