Why Sea Mercy

Sailing Catamaran Sea Angel joins Sea Mercy
(Article posted on SEA MERCY web site)

When asked by Richard to share a little bit about my personal story and why I have joined Sea Mercy my response was, “absolutely, there is definitely more to this journey than untying my mooring lines and heading to the Southern Pacific.”  It is actually a “little bit” more than that; it is a part of my larger life journey.

I don’t think my life was too different than many; I have bounced through it, happy for the most part but not particularly fulfilled.  About when most people have mid life crisis, I was fortunate enough to have an awakening!  Suffice it to say that I reached the point where I really admitted having made mistakes.  The biggest was my stubborn persistence that I controlled my life, and unfortunately throughout most of my journey I tried using my brain instead of trusting my heart.  Once I got through a bit of letting go and understanding a deeper calling within me I asked myself, what gifts do I have and how could I use them for a greater purpose?   Sailing came to mind because I am good at it.  At first I wasn’t sure how I could put “Sailing” to greater purpose but this time I decided to step out into the rest of my life by trusting my heart.  (Hold on, the Sea Mercy tag line “sailing with purpose” came a bit later….).  I began looking at sailboats again, but from a different perspective.  A perspective that wasn’t all about me, a perspective from which I might be used to share something pretty special,  from a perspective that maybe I could serve or share with others that have not had the privilege of seeing things or doing things from the sea side of the beach.  That drove me toward catamarans capable of blue water sailing and carrying people.  I still wasn’t sure of how I could put my skill and resources to work sailing but the calling inside kept growing.  I had been focusing on a small scale service, what I could do with my talents.  It wasn’t until I went on a mission trip to Guatemala to build homes for widows that a broader perspective of service began to develop.  Besides the opportunity to contribute and the incredible personal growth, it was the logistics of their operation that mostly intrigued me.  Their mission operation was a simple model, they provided very few staff, very limited assets, yet brilliantly leveraged their net affect to reach and touch so many lives.   Things were changing inside me, and an exciting time it was, but no clear path emerged.

Then an epiphany came late one afternoon as I was working on a broken toilet at my then home.  Bent over, mind not particularly engaged in the task, a concept flooded over me, no pun intended.    “Hands and Fleet” it would be called.  Now, with a name and a heart full of ideas, I abandoned the toilet and set out to write a business plan.  It was a simple concept, to form a not-for-profit to capitalize on the amazing skills and assets within the cadre of world cruising sailors, to give back to humanity, to give them a deeper purpose to cruising.  The precepts were that is was to be self sustaining financially, it must call upon deep desires of captains and crews, and that it would provide unparalleled opportunities and excitement to those volunteers who chose to participate.  Ultimately, it was a way to leverage the goodness in a few to serve the needs of many, and to my great joy, to do it by way of the Sea.   It was an idea born through me but it wasn’t mine.  I thought it was brilliant! 

So long before the mooring lines were to be untied, and within the course of this last very short year, my life journey really began to change, and change fast.  I bought a beautiful blue water Catamaran, moved it south from the Chesapeake to North Carolina, moved aboard her to live, renamed it to Sea Angel, and have begun the painstaking task of fitting her out for big water and big purpose.  I circulated the Hands and Fleet business plan and it was accepted in concept unanimously by a variety of professionals including the leadership of churches, colleges, business, maritime captains, and volunteers.  Sponsorships began to develop.   Land assets I had began to sell.   I had begun the transition of an old way of life to a new.  It may sound silly but I have been amazed that virtually all aspects of my life changed; even my ability to truly love in my relationship grew exponentially because I finally opened up my heart.   I honestly stand in awe at what the heart is capable of.  Yet through all this change, I still remained unsure on how it would be possible to form such an organization yet be able to participate in it in a way that I enjoyed and had useful skills.  What I did have was an abundance of faith that the path would continue to open.    

The next event was as if it were orchestrated; I was told by a Captain friend to check out “Sea Mercy” which he had found in communications on the sailing forums.   I took a look at the Sea Mercy website and emailed Richard straight away.  We began cross country dialog, and I then flew cross county and Richard drove north to Portland so we could meet in person.  I discovered that Richard and his wife Stephanie not only have a dream bolstered with great passion, but they have the skill, knowledge and talent to put a team together to accomplish great things, and things I aligned very much with.   After seeing what they were accomplishing I realized that my epiphany was perhaps simply to direct my passion and keep me on a path until I encountered them.   In my humble opinion, Sea Mercy has been constructed in such a way as to build a sound and sustainable outreach to those in great need.  Sea Mercy rests on an understanding of the vastness of the human heart, on the value of contributions from a multitude of talented individuals, and of team building to create synergy and leverage of resources.  Sea Mercy is also organized and structured for long term success which is very important as members consider investing a significant part of their life, time and resources.  I can honestly say, that with Richard and Stephanie there is no ego, only talent and a passion to apply it with greater purpose.  It didn’t take long but I consulted my mind, then again followed my heart, and asked Richard if I could participate.

I am still on a great journey, and do not yet know all the answers, but I am certain that in each and every level of individual participation with Sea Mercy it will be one of immersion in nature at its grandest, world culture at its most diverse, adventure that stirs deep to the soul, and most importantly a sharing in a love for humanity as it was created to be.   I will step out and promise that it will challenge all of us; it will awaken something deep in us, and yes, permanently and forever change each and every one of us.  I am in, and truth be told, can hardly wait till the mooring lines are cast off and Sea Angel is heading south.

Sea Angel will be moving down the South East Coast of the United States in late 2014, go through the Panama Canal and drive her bows with bold purpose into the Pacific Ocean in early 2015.  She will arrive in the South Pacific for the 2015 season.   I guess big changes sometimes take some time.  See you there!

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