Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why They Do It

This is a follow-up to my last post - a reply via email from our friend Kurt, which I hope he does not mind me publishing. Kurt made the passage form Hawaii to the US in a very small boat back when that was a not particularly common thing to do...

...I liked your post about why folks do it now. When Jack London had the Snark built (apparently a pretty lame designed wooden schooner) and announced that he was going to sail it to Hawaii, locals in Oakland took out a betting pool on whether or not he would survive and how far he would get. This illustrates an important point - the psychology of the thing. Of course it's MUCH safer to do that same run today than it was in 1904, or whenever that was, but it's still the same ocean. The big difference is that in our mind's eye the distances have shrunk dramatically. Instant communications and jet travel are part of that, but bigger still is the very real likelihood that we all know that a run to Hawaii is not a big deal, and perhaps know others who have done it. Hawaii used to be a death defying stunt that marked you as a fool. Now it's a milk run. The Westsail 32 is probably as responsible for this as much as anything else. There are moments when the collective consciousness shifts, and what was obvious to one generation is not so obvious to the next, or perhaps more-so. You and Rani were freed up to do this by all those who went before, and some you know personally. Harry Pigeon's book is so charming because he makes it all sound like no big thing. In his day that was amazing. But I'll feel better when I hear you are safe in Aukland, because this next jump can be a big thing. Be careful.

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