Life’s Big Lessons From The Helm of a Very Small Boat

Finding the abundant life in a small boat

This book would not have been written if my son and I had not capsized.

In the grand scheme of things this was not a big deal. As you will learn, every sailor has capsized or will capsize. And the events of Race Week, without the capsizing, could have provided sufficient stories to fill this little book. But our capsizing had a galvanic effect on the entire experience, imbuing small things with great significance. It threw a new light on our total experience, much like viewing it through the different panes of a stained glass panel. Our experience was made more colorful and had a special richness and depth.

Lessons from the helm are all around us, waiting to be learned. Nature is the teacher. Her chalkboard is as vast as the horizon—an indication of the infinite variety of notes to be taken. The lessons are painted in marvelous hues, some as bright and warm as the sun, others as somber as tones of gray. We snap to attention from shouts of thunder, we relax from the gentle lap of a wave upon a dock, and we are awed by the sun peeking above the horizon.

We risk capsizing every day of our lives. As in sailing, daily life exposes us to forces that can overturn us, distort our orientation, and wreak havoc with our lives. Ironically, these are the same forces that, under different circumstances, can bring joy, growth, and energy. And so the capsize experience in this little book is meant to mean a special experience through which life teaches us how to live the abundant life.