by LJ Frank
A ketch was available. It was advertised as free. I am wary of the word free…it suggests without charge, but my experience with free is that there are costs. Like the noun liberty, free feels suspect in an age of ambiguity. It’s purposefully trite and easy on the tongue. I also know that in this era, truth and lies have become interchangeable. Still, the person offering was not from the populist and authoritarian wing of the political spectrum. He seemed to detest right wing politics. That was in his favor and there was something else. He admitted the boat needed some work. He didn’t have the money to maintain it. Some new rigging was needed. He appeared honest regardless of his political and intellectual persuasion. You see I like to get to know people I do business with.
Three experienced sailors, including one with a mechanical knowledge and an expert helmsman would be the minimum necessary I figured and all with adaptable social skills and knowledge of safety. For the real sense of freedom occurs once the boat sets sail and you are on the open waters experiencing the elements.
The intriguing issue in this instance was the boat’s location – a Greek port (the ancient home of democracy). It felt like a metaphor. Would that metaphor make it across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and survive? I had my doubts after looking at the photos of the boat. A close up inspection was needed if serious. Survival on a boat crossing the seas is not for the timid…hands on expertise is essential. In this peculiar setting can the Ketch be fitted to stay afloat and sail under potential adverse conditions? And at what costs?
There was a contract to be signed with the Greek owner. The art and skill set of negotiation requires a mutual understanding of what’s being negotiated, and with whom. There is no such thing as a standard contract…rather a STANDARD occurs when the initials and names are inked on a document. Trust is never in play with a mere shaking of hands. Disinformation is always a concern. A sailboat for me represents freedom of movement, Sailing across the open sea can be breathtaking.
At sea one sees many boats in want of an expert helmsmen. And as the temperature rises so do the seas. Less land means sea transportation becomes more valuable.
An uncertain wind is blowing and the waves will become a bit higher and choppier and one senses hope and fear have little use on the horizon of tomorrow.