Winds of Time

This month's issue is all about transitions; editor John Burnham relates with some transitions happening around the office. From the "Editor's Log" in our October 2008 issue

October 3, 2008

John Burnham 368

Just the other day, three of us on the Cruising World staff sent daughters off to college, so maybe I have transitions on my mind more than usual. Then again, maybe it started with the editing of this issue, and it’s my daughter’s high-school graduation and subsequent launching from the nest that fit right in with all of the transitions to be found in these pages.

Take, for example, Kailani Clarke, who finished off her elementary-school career recently, at the age of 8. She’s a precocious kid, but in fact Kailani has traded in traditional school for homeschooling aboard Osprey, along with her brother, Kaeo. As her mom, Wendy Mitman Clarke, writes in this month’s Osprey’s Flight column, the upset found in saying goodbye to the familiar hasn’t been easy, but the opportunities to be found afloat in a more flexible, natural curriculum for such a creative, thoughtful kid as Kailani are likely to make her next school year both exciting and rewarding.

Tania Aebi grew up in CW’s pages, making her first appearance there as an 18-year-old would-be solo circumnavigator (and succeeding), and she was betting on the same opportunities for her kids a year ago when she headed to sea again. This time, more than two decades after her circumnavigation, she sailed from the Caribbean to the South Pacific with her two teenage sons. Although her four-month trip ended all too soon, she was happy to discover how well and how quickly the three of them adapted to cruising together. Nicolas and Sam took on their father as skipper to continue sailing while Tania returned to Vermont, and the differences that life afloat are making for the boys are still unfolding-not without a few surprises for Mom.


Sooner or later, children finish school and move on, and then all kinds of stuff can happen. Take the case of Short Story columnist Melanie Neale, a second-generation liveaboard. One year she was living aboard a 28-footer with her boyfriend and paying off student loans; the next, she was single and in search of a new boat. Turn the page, and she’s found something even better: a man who wants to marry her and share life’s adventures in a boat. Wedding bells are about to ring as this issue goes to press; can the boat be far behind?

We didn’t cover every type of life event this month; if we’d planned it that way, we’d have run the story we received recently about being pregnant at sea. Of course, the author tells us, the planning behind her condition itself might’ve been better, but you’ll have to wait to read her tale in the December issue.

The truth is that transition stories show up almost every month in Cruising World. That’s because in going sailing, we open ourselves to the possibility of change that much more readily. And in the seams of change, we glimpse what it means to live.


Cap’n Fatty Goodlander often says that life is something he wants to kiss full upon the lips every day, and this month he says it yet again in his On Watch column that’s titled, simply, “All About Dying.” Are people sometimes too afraid of that final transition to risk going to sea and having it happen to them out there? You can imagine Fatty’s perspective on this topic, and it’s essentially the same one that Wendy, Tania, and Melanie have adopted in going cruising with loved ones. You can’t predict what’s going to happen, but staying ashore won’t give you control over the future course of life’s events either. If you think that the rewards of the cruising lifestyle might be for real, then lay down a course, set sail, and see what treasures you find while trimming your sails to the ever-changing winds of time.

John Burnham


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