Monday, March 29, 2010

Memento Mori

This photo shows my father in about 1973, when he was 51 years old - my age. We were in St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands for a family vacation, and we'd chartered a very good 20 foot sloop. In this picture we are sailing to Jost Van Dyke, reaching across the Trade Winds.

My father died last Wednesday. He had a wonderful life, and many memorable cruises and sails.  He was a great friend, a wise and good man, and many will miss him, including me.


  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. Hope you can reflect on some good times with him.

  2. Sorry about your Dad, 12 years for me since mine passed, they are alive within us. Thank you for posting the picture and sharing your sentiment, it served to remind me of my Dad!

  3. My thoughts are with you over the loss of your father. My father is still alive and sailing, but your post presages much that is on my mind these days. I am now 50 and he is 80. I remain his crew on the 30’, mid-80’s IOR design we sail out of Casco Bay, and he still sits at the helm in the role of captain. But there is much left unspoken when the wind gets, say, over 18 knots and I find myself scurrying between the chart, the genoa sheet, the traveler, and often even the tiller on a particularly pressing tack. His mind and body are slowly becoming out of sync with the wind and the waves. I swear I can sometimes even see a glint of fear for the future in his eyes after a particularly sloppy tack. We have talked tentatively about his about coming off the water, but it is clear he is not ready. In ways I am sure I don’t fully understand yet, I know these conversations are as much about mortality as boating. So much of my sailing life has been shaped by my relationship to my father, and so much of my relationship with my father has shaped by our shared love of a fine hull, the wind, the water and sails. And although I can see it inevitably coming toward me, to date I am unable to imagine a life without them fully intertwined. I can only begin to sense your loss.


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