Maritime Adventure: The Genesis of White Sails

White Sails began when I stepped aboard the first ship I was ever assigned to. The old ship had seen better days, and I hoped I wouldn't see the end of my better days while serving aboard the rusting black leviathan. She looked as foreboding as something out of a Jack London maritime adventure.

Eastbound to Europe our maritime adventure began with a hurricane so severe that the old gal was barely able to make steerageway, doing at best a pitiful two to three knots. When the bow dipped below the thirty-foot waves, the vessel would shudder, creak, and groan as if she were about to break in half. Every time the vessel heeled thirty to thirty-five degrees to one side, I held my breath, prayed, and wondered if she would capsize thereby ending my maritime adventure.

In the annals of maritime adventure—surprise!—this was routine stuff. But for a green kid it was like crossing swords with the devil. Thanks to the steady hand of the captain, we made it through.

By the end of that first voyage, I had embarked on a maritime adventure that I believed would be worth documenting. Yet I was intimidated by the daunting task of writing a book because of the scope of the work, and my vulnerability. But once I started it became abundantly clear that writing a book is like reading a very good book—you can't put it down. Once I started writing, each paragraph of my lifetime maritime adventure was like a brush stroke in a painting, and I never stopped or looked back until the painting was complete.

My first maritime adventure signaled the beginning of a lifetime of maritime adventures, all of which is scripted in White Sails.