My Favourite Quotes
from Sterling Hayden's book "Wanderer"
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen, who play with their boats at sea - "cruising," it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
WANDERER, first published in 1963, is the autobiography of Sterling Hayden, seamen, US Marine, film-star and adventurer. He was a Grand Banks fisherman when Hollywood offered him a screen test. The passage reproduced here explains why he escaped from Hollywood and returned to life at sea. All of us face the dilemma of whether to live for the day or save for tomorrow. Like Zorba the Greek, Hayden chose to let the future take care of itself. Sterling Hayden died in 1986 after a final comeback as an actor in "The Godfather." His life interest was sailing and he wrote two books about life at sea, "Wanderer" and "Voyage." He died of cancer in 1986.
There Is No Death
I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined harbor.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, There! She's gone! there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "There she comes!"
And that is dying.
-- Henry Jackson van Dyke
Born November 10, 1852, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and educated in theology at Brooklyn Polytechnic, Princeton, and Berlin, Henry Jackson van Dyke worked twenty years as a minister, first in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1879 to 1883 and next in New York until 1899. His Christmas sermons, his essays, and his short stories made him a popular writer. His poems reveal a classical education as well as a common touch in matters of faith. He became Professor of English Literature at Princeton in 1900. In 1907, he wrote the still popular hymn Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (set to Hymn of Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony).
From Rachel Louise Carson's "The Sea Around Us"
“The sea lies all about us. The commerce of all lands must cross it. The very winds that move over the lands have been cradled on its broad expanse and seek ever to return to it. The continents themselves dissolve and pass to the sea, in grain after grain of eroded land. So the rains that rose from it return again in rivers. In its mysterious past it encompasses all the dim origins of life and receives in the end, after, it may be, many transmutations, the dead husks of that same life. For all at last returns to the sea – to Oceanis, the ocean river, like the ever-flowing stream of time, the beginning and the end.”
(Rachel Louise Carson) The Sea Around Us , ch.14, ending
Born on May 27, 1907 Rachel Carson was a writer, scientist, and ecologist. She graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women in 1929, studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.
I'd rather be the ship that sails
I'd rather feel the sting of strife,
I'd rather fight some mighty wave
I'd rather drive where sea storms blow,
The Sound Of The Sea
The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in Portland, Maine. He attended Bowdoin College in Maine and was a classmate of both Nathaniel Hawthorne and future President Franklin Pierce. He later became a professor of language at Bowdoin.
Ballad Of The Tempest
We were crowded in the cabin,
'Tis a fearful thing in winter
So we shudddered there in silence,--
As thus we sat in darkness
But his little daughter whispered,
Then we kissed the little maiden,
-- James T. Fields
James Thomas Fields (1817-1881) was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He served as editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1861 to 1870. He authored several books and at least two volumes of poetry. "Ballad of the Tempest" is his best known poem.
The Winds of Fate
One ship drives east and another drives west,
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate,
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was born in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin. Living most of her life in New York City, she was one of the best-selling poets in the late 1800s.
"20 Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
A diamond of a morning
O white moon, you are lonely,
-- Sara Teasdale
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She lived in seclusion in her later years until her suicide in 1933.
from The Sea and the Wind That Blows
During his seventies, E.B. White wrote an essay about sailing for Ford Times, called "The Sea and the Wind That Blows." In this extract he describes the mystery and allure of a boat.
"If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man--a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free--parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive."
E.B. White is best known for his children's books: Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan and Stewart Little (of recent movie fame). He also co-authored with William Strunk, the very popular Elements of Style.
A Quote from L. Francis Herreshoff
"Sailing is a wonderful and unique thing, and the sensation of being noiselessly and smoothly propelled without cost of fuel is one of the most satisfactory pleasures known, but when you add to this the fact that the sailboat itself is one of the most interesting things which God has let man make--well, then you get a combination which is almost sacred."
A Quote from Joel White
"Perhaps the first Wanderer will slip into Center Harbor at sunset. The owners, friendly folk, will invite me aboard, and sitting below at the cabin table, I will look around and it will all be just as I imagine it--the feeling of space and comfort, soft highlights glinting off the varnished trim, the combination of aromas that emanate from the interior of a choice wooden vessel--cedar, teak, and tar, supper and rum, and the accumulated wind and sunshine of a good day's run."
A Quote from Richard Bode
"For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar with the breeze."
-- from First You Have to Row a Little Boat
"A sailing vessel is alive in a way that no ship with mechanical power ever be."
Aubrey de Selincourt
"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men."
"There never was a great man yet who spent all his life inland."
"No matter how important a man at sea may consider himself, unless he is fundamentally worthy the sea will someday find him out."
"The sea's most powerful spell is romance."
H. W. Tilman
"The charm of singlehanded cruising is not solitude, but independence."
"It is as hard to describe the fascination of the sea as to explain the beauty of a woman, for, to each man, either it is self-evident, or no argument can help him see it."
Claud Worth 1926