Set­ting Sail

Words from the editor

SAIL - - Contents -

Andy Warhol may have been a lit­tle wide of the mark when he fa­mously said, “in the fu­ture, ev­ery­one will be fa­mous for fif­teen min­utes,” but given the mer­ci­less ad­vance of so­cial me­dia his words are start­ing to ring true. How else do you ex­plain the rise to in­ter­net star­dom of Tan­ner and Nikki, an un­re­mark­able young cou­ple from Colorado, who, de­spite never hav­ing set foot on a sail­boat, de­cided to for­sake the moun­tains for a life on the wa­ter?

They sold up, moved to Florida, bought an old boat for a few grand and spent a few more fix­ing it up. So far, so good, but it ap­pears they were woe­fully short of sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when they de­cided to sail for the Caribbean. One night in Fe­bru­ary, just two days into their lon­gan­tic­i­pated voy­age, they found out the hard way that the sail­ing life can be as un­for­giv­ing as it can be ro­man­tic. Mak­ing their way into an un­fa­mil­iar chan­nel at night, with fog clos­ing in, they struck bot­tom and—ac­cord­ing to them— the keel sep­a­rated from the boat. The cou­ple and their dog es­caped un­hurt, but lost al­most ev­ery­thing ex­cept what they wear­ing.

A lo­cal re­porter with a keen eye for a hu­man in­ter­est an­gle—think “cou­ple’s dream voy­age ends just two days in”—picked up the story, which was then syn­di­cated the world over, mak­ing the news as far away as China and elic­it­ing so­cial me­dia com­ments in the thou­sands, scarcely a com­pli­men­tary one among them. On hear­ing they’d be faced with a five-fig­ure bill to have their sunken dream boat pulled from the wa­ter and dis­posed of, I felt quite sorry for Tan­ner and Nikki.

Hav­ing lived for many years in Eng­land, with its tra­di­tion of em­brac­ing heroic fail­ures, I did my best not to join the rush to judge­ment. I thought they were ac­tu­ally rather lucky—lucky their keel fell off in wa­ter al­most shal­low enough for them to walk to shore, and not on a bois­ter­ous day in the Straits of

Florida, where they would al­most cer­tainly have gone down with their boat.

There are probably hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of oth­ers like these two land­lub­bers, dream­ing of cast­ing off the shack­les of nine-to-five life in fa­vor of blue skies, a clear hori­zon and a sturdy ves­sel be­neath their feet. Who can blame them? I was once one my­self. There must also be many whose dreams evap­o­rate in less spec­tac­u­lar ways.

Nev­er­the­less, af­ter Tan­ner and Nikki weath­ered the ini­tial tidal wave of scorn from the amassed sail­ing ex­perts and other­wise of the in­ter­net, they quickly dis­cov­ered the truth of the old maxim that there is “no such thing as bad pub­lic­ity, pro­vid­ing they spell your name right:” they did what so many other failed dream­ers do these days and asked to be bailed out by the gen­eros­ity of oth­ers. As I write I am look­ing at the cou­ple’s Gofundme page, where kind­hearted souls have so far con­trib­uted more than $14,000 to­ward the res­ur­rec­tion of their sail­ing dreams.

Whether or not you con­sider this a form of glo­ri­fied pan­han­dling, you have to ad­mit it’s a bril­liant strat­egy. I could be tempted to adopt it my­self, be­ing in dire need of a new main­sail.

Still, if Tan­ner and Nikki ac­tu­ally use this money to get back afloat, I would hope that they spend some time learn­ing not just what to do on the wa­ter, but what not to do. Fif­teen min­utes of fame is probably quite enough. s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.