One Saturday afternoon off Kiel in June 1976 I drew a line under my formative years as carefree drifter and daydreamer and embarked on a new journey that, quickly taking on a life of its own, would increasingly come to dominate my thoughts, my efforts and my hours. While I had enjoyed facing each new day with little more than a youthful curiosity as to the pleasures and surprises it might bring, now I felt I wanted more – and looking back I can safely say I would not have had it any other way.
I was out sailing the metal yawl LILOFEE, my yacht of the moment (if you recall), with a guest who was interested in taking her off my hands. Restless of spirit, twitchy, eager to move on and yearning for the new adventures that seemed to be lurking just out of reach, I had (not for the first time) decided to begin by selling my boat. And as luck would have it, I had found the right buyer too. John Adam was my guest that day and to say we were of a like mind would be an understatement. The breeze treated us kindly, the sea sparkled and foamed under the bow and I, for once, took no notice at all. My thoughts lay elsewhere, specifically on the crazy deal we had just cooked up: you have my yawl, Lilofee, and I’ll have your company, Windpilot. Did I take a night to sleep on it? No. Did I check with my wife? Er, no (and I faced the music for it later too, believe me). I knew it was a rash decision, I knew it would not sit well in certain quarters – and yet despite that (or was it precisely because of that?) I went ahead with the trade.
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