The Thing About Jill

A s many of you reading this surely know, I am engaged to be married to a lovely English woman named Jill whom I met three years ago while traveling in London. Since that time a lot of water literally has passed under the keel for both of us, as we acquired and...

A Eulogy for My Brother

Jay Edwin Hurley, Jr. July 10, 1941 to December 3, 2017 W hat has come to me today, and to all of us, is the unexpected, unwelcome and, frankly, impossible task somehow to punctuate the end of my brother’s life with a statement of what his life meant to us—unexpected,...

Letters from the Sea: A Sinking

A s a few friends will recall and the few readers of scattered press reports at the time have surely forgotten, I was sailing alone, ten days out of Charleston, when I made the decision to abandon a leaking, weather-beaten, fifty-year-old ketch named Prodigal in rough...

Notes on a Revolution

I t is the birthright of every American to have an opinion about the president—however indifferently the holder of that office may be loved or loathed. But with President Trump, it’s different. The birthright has become a bounden duty. Our opinions about Trump, for or...

The Crossing

“What a long, strange trip it’s been.” –The Grateful Dead W ell, better late than never, as they say. It took me a while—fifty-nine years, to be exact—but after a lifetime of sailing, more than my share of lost and sunken boats, two lost and sunken marriages, and the...

Bligh’s Revenge

M ost people have heard of the mutiny on the Bounty. Even though the actual events occurred in the year 1789, the drama is just perfect for the silver screen, which explains why no fewer than four movies have been made about it. All the elements Hollywood could wish...

God Save the Queen

This past Sunday, November 13, was “Remembrance Sunday” in Great Britain. Everywhere this month as in every month of November for nearly a century, red poppies made of silk or paper or plastic, collected in exchange for donations to the “Poppy Appeal” of the Royal...

I Feel Bad About My Leg

I have to be honest. I’ve been a little sad lately—and not just lately, actually, but for a while. It’s not a feeling of despondency or despair or even depression (whatever that means), so much as a sort of ache that is by now almost familiar. Nothing is...

Pilgrim’s Progress

It has been a little more than a year, now. I remember well the day. It was filled with the kind of eruptions seemingly about nothing in particular that, in a marriage, are too often the harbingers of something very particular. Such arguments always seem random and...

Au Revoir

The French have a wonderful way of saying goodbye that seems appropriate for the start of a sailing voyage. It’s not goodbye at all but rather, “until we meet again.” I write these words late at night in a café in Calais whose lovely and charming wait staff have...