Friday, June 11, 2010

A Doryman's Legacy


"...as a young merchant seaman, I was on wheel watch one night on my first trip when the captain, a skipper of dory schooners and an oral poet, came up on deck from the cabin.

He checked the compass and said, 'Young fella mind the course, steady as she goes, steer small.' Then after a pause he added, 'Face the storms and shoals of adversity square on. Remember, one hand for the vessel first, then one hand for yourself.'

'When, as they sometimes will, danger and death loom over the horizon and stand upon you, don't panic. Meet them with your dorymate and shipmates; stand well braced and fend them off.'

'Go joyously into the dory; whatever job or work there be, give it the finest and the best that is in you. Be good to your dorymate and your shipmates, speak no ill of them.'

'If you go aground, work yourself off. Cast off all self-pity and beat to windward again and again, so that in the fullness of your years, you can come about and run downwind free and easy with the tide. If life gives you more baitings than most, share those extra rations with your dorymate and shipmates and them who have not been so lucky as you.'"

Doryman's Day by R. Berry Fisher

Do you get my drift?
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6 comments:

Brandon Ford said...

Great stuff!

michael b said...

Our friend Jim B. bought this book last year and told me it was a good one. I just got around to ordering it yesterday, so if it's as good as I think it is, I'll let you know.

robert.ditterich said...

Beating to windward again and again sounds like hard work, but the alternatives feel hollow after a time. Maybe we need a little 'headwind' sometimes to make getting out of bed worthwhile? The language is old fashioned but the sentiment is very pertinent.

michael b said...

There are the challenges we devise for ourselves, then there are those that happen in course. I think this is in reference to the latter. There has been very little in my life that has turned out as planned or imagined, but the policy of beating to windward in adversity has worked.
As all sailors know, you can beat to windward all day, then turn around and be back at the dock in half an hour.

callsign222 said...

I'm usually beating to windward just to get back to the dock...

michael b said...

Like being behind in your taxes.