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Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, and wrote about it's design and construction at

Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write... I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Running Downwind: A Jibe in Time

Too much, too long, too late?

But at my back I always hear
Times winged chariot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lye
Desarts of vast Eternity.

-- This and italicized quotes below from To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

Quality of life is preferable to mere quantity for the vast majority of us.

-- From Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Running Downwind: A Jibe in Time

Was a time I was pretty much satisfied with putting one foot in front of the other.

You know... plod along the path of life in pursuit of the dream. Uphill all the way, with the peak somewhere well ahead. Vistas opening wide in all directions. And what hurry? There is world enough and time.

Somewhere in there, the 'peak' comes and goes. 

Now, I'm not one who believes in an apex of life. Rather, that the entire journey comprises our One Precious Life, and that be yum. But I do acknowledge that time's winged chariot is careening down a cul de sac. Windows of opportunity are edging toward closed. Somewhere not far ahead lie those Desarts of vast Eternity.

At a mere three score years, I yet see time's imprint more than feel it. But the next will likely see those strengths that have carried me thus far blunted and diminished.

Too many of our friends find themselves late in life aboard a vessel now too big to handle and/or maintan. Going or gone derelict, ship and master alike. The former are content; the latter sad or bitter. Their life ended -as they see it - too much before the End.

Their main problem? They stuck with what they knew until they no longer had the wherewithal to transition to something within their diminishing reach.

So it's coming, and coming soon. What to do?


Okay. What kind of platform for living do we need? Need as opposed to want.

It comes down to two things:  A comfy, dry, warm home, and mobility.

Each of our sailing homes has provided both of these in one salty package. But the day will come when moving the home will likely exceed prudence, if not capability.

Our current best thought is to sail WAYWARD as long as seems wise, then haul her ashore as a fixed base. She's easy to board, heat and maintain (especially if sailing trim is no longer required). What's more, she's our bird-in-the-hand.

For extended mobility, a small camper-cruiser which can be rowed, sailed and hauled with relative ease. The smaller the vessel, the higher the ratio of muscle to boat. 

We can enjoy it as an expedition vessel into relatively dangerous waters while our abilities remain. Later on, the judicious selection of weather windows and a gentle pace. 

And when that won't do, adieu.


I don't often look in mirrors, and even more seldom do I look at my head from above.  So my self-image is of a head of thinning but definitely present hair. An illusion undisturbed by my loving partner.

A odd-angle encounter with our little, post-card size mirror on our boat, however, gave me a startling glimpse of the the rut time's chariot has left across my upper pate!  

So I leave you with this cautionary yarn...

A Cure for Baldness

An uncle of mine never allowed his hair to grow because he said that to keep it shaved prevented it from falling out... the sad moral came towards the end of his life, when he decided to give his locks their one fling, and nothing was left but baldness.

-- From Baghdad Sketches by Freya Stark


  1. Decades ago I went to a convention at a fancy hotel that had a mirror on the door to the bathroom so you could see what your back looked like in the bathroom mirror. It was the first time I noticed that there was no hair on top of my head. I had always parted it in the middle, and the part just kept getting wider without me realizing it, I was combing a bald spot. I figured that everyone I liked didn't seem to care, why should I?
    A couple years later I was sitting in a class (Navy) on biases, the instructor went on a rant about hating hippies who combed their hair in the middle. I took off my sailor hat and deadpanned "I find that offensive", rest of class bursts out laughing, the instructor struggled to keep a straight face, but lost it as well. He was trying to make the point that you shouldn't let your biases affect your judgment. I was "that cool bald guy" the rest of his class.
    Finally, learn all the bald jokes you can, if some one starts up with that nonsense, just say, "I've heard that one" and repeat every single joke you know, hair bullies hate that.

    1. Hi and thanks for the yarns!

      Reading back, I see that I may have given the false impression that I was dismayed do discover the extent of my altiplano. Not at all, but only surprised.

      Baldness per se has always bemused me as an issue, whether one be anxious about it or induce it as a fashion statement. I trim hair when it starts getting in my way, and (finger) comb it when I venture into the public eye but am otherwise pretty much indifferent to it.

      Both the humor and the caution of the CURE FOR BALDNESS tale is first, the uncle's vanity in vain, and second, the notion that we'd better not put off those things for which, for better or worse, we give a damn! Time on the water, in my case.

      Great advice re bullies (of any stripe).

      My current fave (which I'd never actually use):

      A man walks up to a bald guy in a bar, rubs his head and says "Smooth. Just like my wife's behind."

      The bald guy reaches up and rubs his head. "Wow. You're right." he replies.

      Dave Z

  2. An insightful reflection on life coupled with a realistic vision for later stages. Amazing how rare that is in our world.

    As the long-time owner of a reflective pate, I found baldness a gateway to liberation. Once vanity was cast aside (not that there was much choice:), the benefits were undeniable--no more bad hair days, no combing, no shampooing. Probably saves 5-10 minutes per day, which comes to 2 days per year.

    To do what?

    "...tear our pleasures with rough strife
    Through the iron gates of life"

    of course!

  3. Atkins classic 18X6 shantyboat, Retreat, became the retirement home for a Florida man who was being directed to a nursing home. Apparently he loved it and died on it. Phil Thiels 22X8 Joliboat canal cruising shanty has much the same romantic appeal. As I recall Anke had a soft spot for a snug and cozy shantyboat moored at the Pt. Townsend marina. It has always seemed about perfect, to me anyway, to have a somewhat spacious base boat home that does not get put at risk and moves occasionally but with the adventuring and more risky sailing done in a little microcruiser or beach cruiser. Some of my best memories are from beach cruising and camping in a little 14 centerboarder: so carefree and simple and able to get places many will never experience due to the ultra shoal draft. Whether a world ranging base boat like a big motor dory or a Joliboat moored in a wild cove or even in a slough hidden in the depths of a big, vibrant city.... makes sense. Love the old age transition quotient into smaller boats. Spoken like a true salty blooded waterman who will pass gracefully into elderhood afloat in some way. Great post....