Sunday, 16 March 2008

'Captain' Heather is all washed up...

... so 'Captain' Heather has thrown in the towel and the boat is for sale. Well I for one am not surprised. From the very beginning this woman, and her appalling father, inhabited a fantasy world of rose-tinted spectacles and ignorant self-delusion.

She asks that we not make unkind comments, "'cos she 'can't bear it".

This from the woman who memorably told us :

To you yahoos in your Barcaloungers: I talked to your momma. She said to tell you, "Shame on you! If you can't say something nice, hush!"

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go do my thumb exercises.

Well grow up girl. You and Daddy sneered at constructive advice and bragged that you were not a yachtie type. Well you were right on that score! You certainly aren't.

$73,000 for a twenty foot boat - still in la-la land me thinks ...

This is the latest entry on her website:

The weeks since returning have been, and remain, the most difficult of my life. I have not been able – and will not now – relay to you all that has happened. There is no sense in it. It is taking everything I have to write these few words to you.

My medical bills have escalated and I now face the probability of surgery on my declining hand. My funds are dwindling and I have returned to work in a real estate market which is not currently meeting the bills. I am in the process of relocating to Gainesville where I will rebuild my life anew, continuing to work in real estate, and probably, for a time, a part-time job as well to make ends meet.

I am therefore forced to sell Flight of Years. I will not itemize here all the costs and work which have gone into her over the last year. Suffice it to say I have countless hours of work and some $100,000 in her (provable by receipt), including thousands of dollars for rigging, equipment, the Monitor self-steering wind vane, the Air-X wind generator, satellite phone, dinghy and motor, as well as $14,000 for custom-built Ultimate Offshore Sails by the German company, Schattauer Sails. You have only to read the months of preparations on this web site to see the work, love and money which have been lavished on her.

I offer Flight of Years, the last Flicka ever built, and the most beautiful boat I have ever seen, for $73,000.00.

If you are not a serious buyer with the means to purchase, or if you have unkind things to say, please do not write me. I cannot bear it.

Meanwhile Jeannie Socrates is quietly getting on with completing her solo-circumnavigation. Now there's a woman who I am proud to call a sailor, and she is certainly deserving of the title 'Captain'!


rling said...

I guess I'd be a more comfortable with your remarks if you didn't seem so happy about what is apparently a sad ending to this woman's story. Yes, you are absolutely right, of course--it's the tone, the I-knew-it-all-along voice that I tend to use too much myself, that bothers me.

I wonder if you weren't so tainted by your interactions with Heather's father that you have painted her with the same brush. Did she sneer at your advice, or was it (as I recall) her father? Aside from calling herself "Captain," I don't know that she ever pretended to be more than she was: a "landlubber" (her word) who wanted to sail away and change her life. She didn't choose her father, but he does add to the tale in a big way.

Personally, I think the "failed dream" of sailing away is more interesting than the usual "boy/girl sails around the world through storms and adventure" story...simply because the latter has been do so many times already.

Gerry said...

My view from the outset of this sad tale was that the mindless 'cheer-leading' of a large percentage of the sailing community was a mistake. I believe that it is wrong to simply mouth platitudes when it is patently obvious that a serious under-estimation of the risks and challenges of a planned undertaking are happening.

Initially I supported the ideas of 'Captain' Heather but as her story unfolded I became seriously concerned and afraid for her life.
To me constructive criticism is important, especially when the vast majority of feedback is thoughtlessly unquestioning. After all this woman was publicizing her undertaking amongst a community that she simultaneously disparaged. I cannot understand why anyone would do that!It raised big questions in my mind as to the 'reality' of the whole venture, and don't forget that she was also requesting donations.

You may argue that my debate with her father was not a reflection on her own view but given her silent acquiescence to his statements that were made on her behalf I believe that her views and his are the same.
Indeed reading through her website you will find a number of mentions of her 'delight at pressing the delete button' when she disagrees with another's viewpoint.

Why should I feel embarrassed about being right?

There is a broader issue here which affects the whole sailing community. The mismanagement of expectations. Which goes beyond mere romantic hype to dangerously dishonest misrepresentation of what it takes. Heather's broken dream was unnecessary. With a little bit more level-headed guidance she could well have built her skills to the point where she could have successfully undertaken such a voyage.