Like this Buddha, which came from my mother’s house, I’m pleased to be home.
It was a long, but rewarding, 13 days away from home. I missed the kids and the various comforts that abound in our great house, but I have to admit that doing a delivery and a week-long regatta beats the hell out of working in and office or at home.
I left Sailing World last November, and began work at yachtworld.com/boats.com immediately afterward. I now realize that going to work as a salesman for a dot.com selling services to brokers was a bad idea. It was a hunter/gatherer/handholder kind of job, and while I did a good job at handholding and gathering, I wasn’t very good at hunting. Selling services to yacht brokers who are suffering through the worst recession this country has seen in some time wasn’t easy, and I found it hard to keep a straight face while telling folks they needed to spend more money. Instead, I helped them figure out how to better utilize what they were already paying for, and that’s not a great way to make commissions.
I have no regrets about leaving Sailing World. The squeeze from the upstairs offices was getting stronger all the time. On the other hand, I’m quite delighted that my editors at both Sailing World and Cruising World have given me writing assignments, and that the management has welcomed me back, saying: “It will be good to have your byline back in the books.” That’s rewarding, far more so than squeezing out sales.
So, what to do now? Write, I think, and deliver boats, for now. I’m also going to do something I put off a long time ago: getting my 100-ton Master’s license. There’s a class that starts in Newport at the end of August and finishes in early September. When it’s over, I should be able to take the Coast Guard test and end up with my license. With the amount of sea time I have under my belt, and the size vessels I’ve been on, I should be able to qualify for at least a 100-Ton, Near Coastal Waters license, which will make getting delivery jobs easier, and may even lead to a full-time position.
Why go back to sea at the age of 49.85 years? Why the hell not? The sea has always defined who I am, and I probably should have done this a long time ago. There are few places I’d rather be than aboard a boat, and few things I’d rather write about than the seagoing life and its associated gear. Hopefully more freelance assignments will follow, as well as more deliveries. There’s even been the hint of a job offer from a marine-related business. We’ll see which way the winds and the tides push me. Know this: I do not miss what I did, or regret anything that’s ever happened to me. It’s all made me what I am and increased my self knowledge. I cherish my family, my home, my past, and now, for the first time in a long time, my future.