Ormonde on the sailboat

If you go to sea long enough you will learn to pray.

       If, say, a man has obliged himself to be somewhere at a certain time and place and is therefore obliged to sail into a hurricane alone at sea, perhaps hurricane Bertha for instance, and in a moment of weakness might be tempted to say, “Oh Lord, please make Bertha veer to the northward,” he won’t say that for that is not a prayer. It won’t help. So a sailor who is learning to pray knows that and won’t do it, not if he learned something about how to pray mid-Atlantic in the gale that sank the Marquess back in ‘84.
      He will focus on the job at hand, put fear out of mind and be joyful. This is actually the opposite of recklessness. Faith, Hope and Charity will come to mind.
      When you are sure you are going to die, and die soon, and you have put the interests of someone else ahead of your own and you say, “Thank you Lord for this beautiful life I have had…see Ya’ soon…” that is a real prayer. All Truth & Beauty, every density in the Universe of Universes lean towards a real prayer. Communication is Love. Something is revealed…
      Hauling boats can be as scary as a gale at sea. Tricky business, much is required.

      John Peck was by all accounts a legendary boat hauler. So was Royce. Soaring taxation and shore-side property values have made yachting and boating in general increasingly hard to afford. Boat hauling to an inland facility or to one’s home is the only way most people can keep a boat these days – and it is hard to manage even that. John & Royce set the bar and set it high.
     But this is still Cape Cod & the Islands. A community. And there is a tradition.

     I am a sailor washed ashore, born in Dublin in 1952, weaned in Ballylongford, County Kerry, emigrated to the U.S. in 1960 and grew up on a ranch in Northeast Oklahoma. Because Oklahoma used to be Indian Territory and had jurisdictional and other advantages for outlaws in the 4 state area, that is where the outlaws went. (I might say “criminals” but there is a difference and I try to give everyone the benefit of a doubt.) I learned how to pack wheel bearings from skinny old Okies who had skin like leather and packed wheel bearings for the likes of Bonny & Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, and others. People who really cared about their ride. Those guys knew how to do it.
      I have a good eye for a boat or a horse, can see the balance, how they’re built and generally what they can do. Gotta’ keep the rubber side down when the loads are heavy in this business.

      So I know how to pack and set up wheel bearings and I’m learning how to pray. If you’re a boat hauler “following in John’s wake” this is helpful. Seemingly more helpful than the B.A. in Philosophy I got in ’76 and the Coast Guard 100 Ton Captain’s License I got in the early ‘80’s. But that helped too and apparently I needed it all, especially philosophy: the meaning of Community.

      Laura has been looking out for me and my son Mike. Mike is observant, quick & strong, and he’s a good driver and equipment operator. Ted sees possibilities and potential where others don’t, knows how to keep things rolling too, and he has a refined aesthetic sense. We are a team.
      Laura is a genius and she has a vision that is consistent with all the best local seafaring community traditions. To me Pecks is a real yacht club already.

      I love sailboats, especially wooden sailboats. In a worldly sense I have devoted much of my life to Working Sail. Many of my most enduring relationships began or were nurtured in boatyards. But in truth it has been a philosophical expedition. I’m glad to be here, know you all, and grateful for my life.

James Ormonde Staveley-O’Carroll