The Antidote to Fear

The following speech was prepared (with some more recent additions) to be given at St. Luke’s Church in London on 20 April 2020. That would have been the eve of my flight to New York to begin preparations for a solo Atlantic crossing to Gibraltar aboard the...

Land of Fear and Loathing

When I came to Europe from the United States in 2015 to walk the Camino (the 500-mile ancient pilgrimage through northern Spain), I had the good fortune to fall in with a genial group of Brits. I was planning to visit the UK after my pilgrimage to finish a novel and...

A Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

16 April 2020 Most Revd. Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury Lambeth Palace London SE1 7JU Dear Archbishop Welby: I am writing to express my concern over recent actions taken by the Church of England at your direction in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic which, I am...

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...