Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rebel Heart is not just a news item

By now everyone who is not living in a caveh as heard the news of the rescue mission to save the crew of the Rebel Heart. Armchair admirals are weighing in on the "mistakes" made by the crew. People who have never even seen a sailboat, let alone sailed have their pitchforks and torches out with screams of irresponsible parenting and demands for retribution for the crew in the form of a bill or an investigation from CPS. THEY MUST PAY!!!

For me, this is not an interesting news item to discuss in hushed whispers at the local coffee clatch. This is the story of my dear friend Charlotte and her beloved family who have been through a horrifying ordeal while I sit thousands of miles away unable to do anything but think of them constantly, await word...and pray.

People who have heard the news clips and know we are set to leave the dock worry about us. They wonder why we would undertake such a dangerous thing as sailing the seas with our children. As I sit with the realization that my friend has been dealing with the fright of a seriously ill baby and then tragically, has lost the only home she has known for years I can understand the worry but the truth is, many many more families are out sailing with no major issues.

To be sure, every time a friend has a big passage, I worry a little too. Not overly much, but sailors are very aware of the risks involved and also that no matter how carefully you prepare sometimes bad things happen.

 When Tucker and Victoria were on their passage to the Marquesas, my friend Cindy and I would check their progress and be gladdened at every uneventful day. We did the same when Diane and Evan were crossing and when they dropped a rudder, we reassured each other it would be okay- and it was. We watch carefully everytime Behan and Jamie and their kids make another big passage. Thankfully, for the most part it becomes routine. How'd the weather look for them? Good. Any update? Crew happy and healthy? Good. This is what sailing families do. They cross oceans. With kids. And their friends watch from afar and cheer enthusiastically as the share the glorious first photos of landfall, with the kids joyfully discovering the beauties and mysteries of each new port. This is the norm. A little bit of worry, a little bit of cheering as the crews deal with set backs and a huge celebration when the safely pull into port. Watching from afar, helpless to do anything but pray as a boat full of people you truly care about are in harm's way is NOT the norm. It is such an unusual occurrence that there are no helpful books written on how to handle it when your friends have a real crisis. There is also no helpful book telling you how to cope when ignorant and ill informed people paint your friend as evil incarnate as loudly as possible and as in their face as they can get all because they hit the unlucky lottery.

I am trying to remain positive. Its tough when all I want is to hear from Charlotte to know that they are all okay. No need to tell me what happened or why or what you would do differently. Just tell me you are okay and I will tell you how much I love, admire and respect you and offer you support, a smile and encouragement to do what ever you need to do to heal.

Then and only then, can I go back to watching only slightly nervously as another one of our sailing tribe gets ready to make what will most likely turn out to be a very boring passage. Then I can go back to planning out our routing for the fall, ordering up the deck hardware we need to finish the deck layout and choosing our final bits of gear and getting ready to leave. THAT is positive. I am shaken to the core by what my friends have endured but I know that it really is a 1 in 1,000 event.

I am choosing to not react in anger to the ignorance and hate I am seeing thrown around. If anything, its serving as a motivation to get my kids as far away from truly ugly people who would see someone in crisis and make a choice to spew anger, hatred and vitriol all out of complete ignorance. Instead of listening to those who are unenlightened, I choose to surround myself with fellow sailors who understand that the risks are greatly outweighed by the rewards of living a life outside the suburban box. People who understand that life is not measured by breaths but by the moments that take our breath away. Such joy that is ours, they can never comprehend.

In a show of solidarity and love for our fellow sailors on Rebel Heart, I made the video below. I was aided in making this video by a few hundred sailing mamas who shared photos of their children. On boats. Sailing the seas. Discovering the beauty that lies hidden in the world. With their children. They understand. They are my people.


  1. I'm proud to be "your people." Love.

  2. Ditto on being proud to be "your people" (if a bit ground-bound for now)

    1. It is your heart that makes you one of our people. :)

  3. Beautifully written. The horrible back-lash to beautiful Charlotte, her adorable children and Eric has been an inspiration to me to get away from those truly hateful, totally stupid people. For the last few months I have been struggling with getting rid of "stuff." I've had boxes stacked in my garage since Christmas. My car is now loaded with the "stuff" and I will be dropping it off at a local charity for children of parents who are in jail. - Diane Elliott

  4. Well done, Cidnie. And I'll say it again: seeing those photos of those kids makes me wish we had a do-over in this life so i could raise my kids on a sailboat instead of simply taking them sailing. If I'd only known then what I was missing!

  5. Well stated. After you speak with Charlotte and find out that she is okay, and you tell her how much your love, admire and respect her and offer your support, smile and encouragement to do whatever she needs to heal, then I hope Charlotte does post publicly what in her opinion went wrong and what she would have done differently. For that is how others learn and, hopefully, won't find themselves in the same situation. Likely there was nothing she would have done differently and this illness and boat malfunctioning were unavoidable. But every time there is a mishap at sea in any way, it benefits other sailors to know what happened and what that person would have done differently, if anything. It is how we all learn.

  6. Wonderful words and a terrific video! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  7. "I am choosing to not react... ...they can never comprehend."

    Absolutely Brilliant!!!

  8. I'm so glad to see support for the family- I can't even begin to imagine how awful this must have been for them. First to have their daughter be so sick that they have to have help come to them and then to lose their home, and the dreams that went with it, must have been impossibly hard form them. And to have complete strangers judging them about it must just magnify it.
    If my son and I didn't get so seasick, my family would have sailed away by now- that could have been us. That could have been anyone.
    Thanks for sharing everything that you do. I've enjoyed following your journey!
    Cheers, Amber at OurCharmedLife.net

  9. I commend all of you with children on board... hopefully one day I will have grandchildren on board. And, as always, your writing is beautiful, Cidnie. I may not have raised my children on board... but our family did take another avenue that was negatively scrutinized, didn't we!

  10. Beautiful video Cid! I'd post more, but Lielle is CRYING to see it again! ;-)

  11. Thank you for putting things into perspective and what an inspiring video montage. We are in the final stages of buying our cruising boat and are *really* looking forward to creating some beautiful memories with our two rugrats.
    May the crew of Rebel Heart soon find their way back onto the water.

  12. Excellent article. We are cruising with kids as well, and I have linked to this on our blog (CloseQuarters.us).

    Greg Close
    S/V Daystar

  13. Great to see this today. Nicely done. And wonderful photos. The questions about all the details of when went wrong are important, yes. But only the people there can answer those. And I'm sure the Kaufmans are asking plenty of questions of themselves. It's natural -- and essential.

  14. It seems to have become an american thing to start a which hunt every time something 'bad' happens, or if it is just something some ignorant person(s) some where want to vent there spleen at someone else in order to compensate for there own f**k up lives. we see it every day because the media encourages it, and enables the stupid in expressing there stupidity. It is also a product of are 'nanny' society in which we have become afraid to take any kind of a risk, and thous that do are vilafide by those that are to afraid to cross the street with out a 'helmet', a lawyer, and am insurance agent, our society sucks, and this is the result. personalty I hope the Kaufmans are coping with all this, and know that there are people, that don't who even know them that are pulling for them and hoping for the best for them, we aren't all asswipes, and to all who are willing to risk a little in life in order to have one, keep on keeping on, you are the best of all of us.