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                                     OCEANS ABOVE AND BELOW
25 years of photography, sailing & Scuba diving around the world.
                                          A Memoir by Ed Vaughan

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Sailor
By Edward E. Vaughan

California Surfin' | Spain in 1976 | The Loneliness of the Long Distance Sailor

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Chapter 1

I remember the first time I experienced loneliness. I was 35 and living in Spain, teaching English and studying Flamenco guitar.

I met a Spanish woman and we fell in love.

We were both staying in the same small hotel in central Madrid.

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She had just arrived from her home in Caceres, and needed a place to stay before starting a new job. I had just arrived after spending six months in Andalucia, where I had been searching out authentic, impromptu Flamenco guitar performances called "Juergas".

We struck up a conversation at lunch in the hotel dining room. My Spanish was terrible and she spoke no English. Nevertheless, we somehow managed to communicate, and fell in love almost at once.

The initial stage of our getting to know each other was made more difficult by the owners of the hotel, a couple in their 80's, who forbade any visits between rooms among the residents. The eagle eyed chamber maid made every attempt possible to enforce this rule. After two very romantic and clandestine months sneaking up and down the hallways of the hotel and attempting to hide our "affair", we decided to find a flat together.

Two weeks later we found a place and moved in.

It was wonderful. I had never experienced true love before and I had never lived with a woman as gracious, funny, generous and beautiful as Paca.

One day, just before Christmas, she invited me to visit her family at their home in Caceres a few hundred miles from Madrid near the Portuguese border. Of course I couldn't wait to see her home town and to meet her family but Paca told me there was a problem. Her parents were very old fashioned and conservative she said and would not approve of her living with an American guitar student much less having an affair with one. If we were to visit her family together, it had to appear to be a chance meeting.

She hatched a plan. She suggested that she return to Caceres on Christmas day and that I come into town late that afternoon and 'bump' into her, a total "surprise". She would then take me home as "a backpacker friend from Madrid" for a Christmas dinner, and to meet her family. There was another problem. The bus made only one trip per day from Madrid to Caceres, so we were forced to ride into town together, split up, and meet again somewhere back in town that afternoon.

She suggested I walk about a mile out of town and wait by the Roman Bridge. "It's beautiful and it's about 1000 years old, you'll like it. Then, at 4PM come back into town and I will meet you at the Post Office on the main street".

As planned, at 2PM that day I found myself standing near a 1000 year old Roman Bridge surrounded by dry scrub and looking down at the red dirt of Southern Spain.

The Bridge was actually an ancient Roman aqueduct which contained no water, nor was there any water in the riverbed beneath it. I stood there, beautiful blue sky above, lovely olive trees growing out of the red dirt below and no one else around for what seemed like a thousand miles.

Then, I felt it. That deep, slow, fearful numbing of the soul we call "loneliness".

Although it was the first time I had had this feeling it was unmistakable. I was suddenly uncomfortable and edgy. I wanted to be with other people, but it was just me out there.

I felt as if I were the only person left alone on Earth that day. I wanted to communicate with someone, anyone. Where was Paca? "My God, two more hours" I thought. How was I going to get through this? I remember thinking, "I don't like this. I hope it doesn't happen again".

With difficulty, I waited out the two hours at the Aqueduct.

I then walked back into town and met Paca on the main street. That aching feeling disappeared immediately. The rest of the day with her family, including dinner of fresh cold rabbit in gelatin and garden vegetables went wonderfully well.

Her father had gone out into the "Campo", the countryside, and shot the rabbit just for this occasion. I was honored to be the "Surprise" guest.

It is now 35 years later. Paca has been married to another American for 20 of those years and I am living alone, here in Hong Kong, at a lovely Yacht Club.

I ask myself, "What happened? How did I get here?" The beginning of the answer is, "25 years ago I bought a beautiful sailboat".

I didn't know it at the time, but that day on the Aqueduct was a signal about my future, and because it was so painful, I chose to ignore it. I wasn't to experience that feeling again until many years later.. when I went to sea.


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Chapter 2

As I look back at my life, that summer in Madrid with Paca was the most romantic and tender time I have known. It was a time of unconditional love. We both felt complete and fulfilled.

Every day was an adventure and every day our love grew stronger.

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We lived in a part of the city unknown to tourists or travelers.

I went to work, teaching English to Spanish engineers at the General Electric Company.

Paca worked as a Judges assistant in a county courthouse not far from our flat.

I took up the study of Classical Guitar and actually, with paralyzing stage fright, played at an elegant Spanish wedding.

I learned to speak Spanish fluently within a year and, in virtually every way, was a Spanish citizen that year.

We had created a wonderful life together, full of music, love, laughter and a kind of trust that evaporated any hint of encroaching loneliness before it had a chance to eat into my consciousness.

We drove to Malaga one day on holiday and it was there, in the bay, that I saw my first cruising sailboat. I watched the owners, an attractive young couple, row ashore.

I met them and asked them what they were doing in that small boat. They replied that they were from Hungary and had been out "cruising" the Med for the past five years. They told me they were on their way to the Indian Ocean to see places only accessible by boat and to SCUBA dive there.

As we parted, I thought, "What a great way to live!".

Then, one day, my beautiful 13 year old daughter Lisa, flew in to Madrid for her school holiday.

I had been divorced for about 7 years by then and had consistently made every effort to stay close to Lisa. Arranging this trip was part of that effort.

To celebrate her arrival, I bought a small Fiat sedan and, after a week or so in Madrid, time enough for Lisa and Paca to get acquainted, Lisa and I drove north and toured the capitols of Europe.

The trip was an adventure for both of us. 5 weeks absorbing the food, art, history, sights and sounds of the continent, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy.

When I consider the best days I have spent with my daughter, that trip is what I recall.

It was a magnificent time.

Paca stayed back in Madrid and worked. She shared our happiness by being supportive and loving concerning the importance of my trip with Lisa.

On our return, as Lisa and I were discussing her return trip to Los Angeles and high school, she confessed to me that she was having a terribly difficult time back at home with her mother and her mother's boyfriend. She said she was full of fear and anxiety about her return and wanted me to fly home with her. She cried, and as she did, I knew I had to go.

She would fly in a day and I would follow a week later. Paca, of course, understood completely. She urged me to support Lisa in every way and if it meant a trip back to the States, "Well why not? Let's organize a ticket!"

We both knew I would be back soon. We both also knew there was a chance that our lives might never come together again but it was never discussed.

So, one day, in total denial of that possibility, I packed my bags and prepared to go. I was outwardly full of bravado, but inside I felt deep sadness and a kind of fear. I felt as though I was killing something.

In front of our little home, which was an ordinary 3 story apartment building in an average barrio outside of Madrid, I raised my hand to hail a taxi.... and changed my life forever.

As that taxi approached, I turned to Paca almost in slow motion, took her in my arms, held her close, looked deep into her eyes, brushed the tears from her cheeks and told her I loved her and promised to return. We kissed and cried and promised to write and whispered "Hasta lluego mi amor", and I was gone.

Back in Los Angeles, Lisa returned to her mother very easily and I found work quickly as an assistant director on a television show entitled Eight Is Enough.

Since I had previously done a four year apprenticeship program in Film Production at Universal Studios I was prepared to hit the ground running and I did.

Within two months I realized that my future earning venue was the film business in Los Angeles. Eight Is Enough was a major hit and I worked at it 6 days a week.

I began to make some serious money. Then, I had an idea. This idea was to shape the coming years of my life. The idea was this: I would use my new earnings to buy a beautiful sailboat and sail it back to Spain and to Paca. There, we would live aboard and be happily together forever…..like the Hungarian couple.

My interests were SCUBA diving, underwater photography, international travel, sailing and music. The natural way to coalesce these interests, which were mostly around the ocean, was to buy a boat and live on it. It sounded perfectly logical at the time and, in some ways, it was.

What I did not consider of course was that, in order to mount a sea voyage from California to Southern Spain, on any size boat, I would have to know something about sailboat design, weather forecasting, navigation, anchoring, selection of crew, food provisioning, mechanical maintenance, diesel engine repair, sail and running rigging maintenance, ocean environments and the inhabitants of those oceans, radio communication and safety at sea.

I would have to become familiar with the details of paperwork concerning my boats arrival and departure in foreign countries, as well as learn to deal with cooking at sea, human comfort and exhaustion, chafe, storm management and, of course, sail trim. I knew nothing about any of this.

I was close to 40 years of age. A year had now passed since I left Paca that day in Madrid and we corresponded as best we could. It was difficult for the simple reason that there was no e-mail back then and our letters seemed to take weeks to travel each way. One weekend, as a first step to carry out my plan to return to Spain and my lady, I drove to a marina in Southern California and bought a 41 foot sailboat.

I signed papers owing a mortgage of $70,000 or roughly $700 per month. The mortgage stipulated that I was not to sail more than fifty miles off shore.

This, my first boat, was a round bottomed, shallow draft ketch designed and built for the charter trade in the Caribbean. Although it was very roomy inside and seaworthy (meaning it probably wouldn't kill me or my crew), it was nothing near what I needed to sail to the Mediterranean from California.

Then the following letter arrived: "Edwardo my love, I am writing with so much pain and sadness in my heart. I have to let you go. I love you Edwardo and for that reason, I must let you fly. I just can not continue to be without you and for a hundred reasons I can not leave Madrid to be with you. I will be fine. Don't worry about me. I send you hugs and kisses my love and you know you will be in my heart forever" Paca.

I tried to call and I tried to write back many times of course, but there was never a reply. I remember feeling numb and heartbroken as I read that letter. Then, as it did on that aqueduct in Southern Spain, the ogre began to creep back into my head. It felt almost as if it was coming over the horizon toward me. This time loneliness had a partner. That partner was fear.

Now I knew that I had to face loneliness and fear to prepare a blue water boat for a voyage of 15,000 miles and I really had no idea how I could do that. I wasn't sure I was up to it, but I knew I had to go back. I had to find her and to show her that I loved her. I would continue with my plan and Paca would be there on my arrival, I was sure of that. Forget the letter! I would surprise her. I had no idea that it would take another 5 years just to untie those dock lines..and to sail over the horizon into the unknown and into the next 25 years of my life.


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Chapter 3

"Sail from California to Spain?" I thought to myself. "No problem! I used to be a surfer, I understand the sea".

It would be easy. Just buy a boat, select a few bits of gear, get some charts, load on plenty of groceries and take off. The reality of it was not so easy. The central problem was that, at age 42, I knew nothing about preparing, provisioning or sailing a blue water voyage. I decided to leave anyway. I would learn by doing...

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I had purchased my first boat and it appeared to be strong and safe, albeit how it sailed, and more importantly, how to sail it, were issues of which I was not yet aware.

I would head first to Hawaii, then west to the Med. Watch my dust! Hawaii lies 2250 miles directly southwest from California, all of it open ocean. "Easy", I lied to myself, "no rocks in the way".

So, with a crew of Lisa, my then 18 year old daughter, Faye, 30, my first mate/friend/beginner sailor, who was Script Supervisor for the TV studio where I was working, and my friend Pete, 45, a restaurateur from Ventura, California, we set sail for Honolulu.

We left on a beautiful June morning. Pete, who owned a pizzeria, brought along five salamis which we hung from various parts of the boats interior. When the boat moved, the salamis appeared to be doing a dance entirely on their own. They seemed happy.

The California coast receded behind us and the sun set spectacularly ahead of us into the west creating a black and windy night. As we watched the darkness engulf the sea and sky, Faye turned to me and said, "What do we do now?" I replied, with artificial authority, "We put the crew on watch and go to sleep."

The boat was roaring through the night. Pete was at the wheel; Lisa was standing by to take the next shift; Faye was trying to get some rest. I lay in my bunk thinking, "God, what if we hit something? What if something breaks?" But, everything seemed to be going smoothly and I fell asleep.

I was awakened for my watch by Lisa, who said it was getting much windier out there. I climbed on deck to find the boat being blown through the black water as if being dragged by an angry dog.

I knew nothing about shortening sail to slow the boat down, so I simply aimed her in the most comfortable direction downwind and kept going.

The wind seemed to turn directly in our path and the swell was building to frightening size. In fact, some of the swells were beginning to break and roll at us through the dark from hundreds of feet away.

The sun that morning rose as a blood red angry fireball behind the horizon. The sight was alarming. The wind was now stronger than ever and the swells were beginning to break toward the boat.

Previously, I had thought that swells could not break and become rollers in the open ocean. They do.

The salamis were dancing faster now. They seemed a bit angry.

One by one, my crew and I, with the exception of Lisa, became seasick. The motion of the boat and the sight of the Dancing Salamis simply intensified mal de mer for us all. We vomited overboard and into the boat and, with the exception of Lisa, felt as though torture and death would be easier to endure.

I had to do something to deal with the momentum of the boat, so I decided to roll up the large headsail, take down the mainsail and motor into the breaking waves. But the control line for the headsail was fouled in the furling drum and the halyard for the mainsail was fouled somewhere up the mast. Neither sail could be taken in.

We were being blown over and dragged through the sea by our sails and still moving at very high speed. Through my haze of seasickness I could feel fear creep up my spine. I was completely out of ideas about how to slow the boat, so I called the entire crew up on deck into the cockpit. With great difficulty they gathered in front of me. I then explained that this boat was a 'Democracy', everyone was equal, and that I wanted to know if anyone had any suggestions because I was at a loss as to what to do. I was out of ideas. Pete spoke up. "Jesus Ed, we came on this trip because we thought YOU knew what to do about all of this stuff. YOU are the Captain. Hell no I don't have any ideas about what to do and neither does anyone else!" Then turning to the rest, "Right?" They all nodded "Right". So much for 'Democracy'.

"Okay, I'll try the motor" I said. I thought this might give us some measure of control. Through the raging wind and water I started the diesel and put it into gear. I took the wheel and told the others to go below. They did.

As I stood there sick and frightened, I saw a line snake overboard and into the water. The line then tightened and the engine abruptly stopped! I immediately knew that we now had that line around the propeller. We couldn't use the sails and we couldn't use the motor. We were in serious trouble.

My last resort was to call the US Coast Guard on my VHF radio. I estimated we were 100 miles offshore, southwest of Los Angeles. I knew of some small islands in our vicinity, each with a radio repeater on it, and one source of my fear was that we might be swept onto one of them. I turned on the radio and called.

An Officer answered immediately. I couldn't believe it! We would be saved! I told him of our various problems and asked if he could please come out and help us. The officer replied

"Yes, we will leave immediately" I thanked him and, as an afterthought, asked when the rescue boat would arrive. "Approximately 18 hours from now Sir" he said. I was stunned. "My God, we could all be dead in 18 hours" I thought. I replied, "Thank you" and told my crew the "good" news. They simply vomited, groaned, rolled over in their bunks and tried to sleep.

18 hours later, as promised, a 65 foot Coast Guard cutter named Point Divide arrived on scene. It was another black night and the wind was now worse than ever and blowing the tops off of huge breaking waves. In spite of the horrible weather, the crew of Point Divide heroically managed to throw me a line thru the darkness and set up a tow. I turned on my radio and called the Captain of the cutter towing us. He answered by asking, "Where do you want to go?" Lisa, standing behind me, laughed and shouted "Hawaii!" "Be quiet!" I said, then into the radio, "Ventura, sir".

And we were off for another 18 hours of extreme misery.

On our arrival in Ventura the next day, the seas were flat, there was not one cloud in the sky and no wind whatsoever. The storm had passed.

As the tow line was being hauled back to the cutter, I called out to the Captain who was leaning out of a side port of the wheelhouse above me, "Sir, what Beaufort force was that storm back there?' the Beaufort Scale being the measure of wind from Force One, almost no wind, to Force Ten, a hurricane. He looked at me and shouted, "Force two!" and was gone.

I will never know if he was joking.

Later that day, ignominiously, I took the boat to a yacht broker in the harbor and said, "Sell it". I could fly to Spain.


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Chapter 4

I was humiliated and ashamed. I had tried to sail to Spain from California and had only made it 100 miles off shore. It had been a disaster, but deep down, I knew I had to try again...

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Since I wanted to build a financial base of some kind, I was paying $700 a month on my boat mortgage, it seemed best to get back to work and try to forget the whole affair, at least for now. Through a good friend and mentor I found work as Production Manager on an Aaron Spelling Production called Vega$ which was shot entirely in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The show was fun, lucrative and, best of all, no one in Nevada knew about my failed attempt at long distance sailing because Las Vegas is 400 miles from the sea!

Faye, my good friend, co-worker and sailing partner was Script Supervisor on Vega$ and together we, and a crew of almost 100 people, were to spend 6 months working 14 hours per day producing the show.

Six months would be plenty of time to recover from the trauma of a horrible sailing trip as Faye and I lived together in the Desert Inn Hotel.

We had a wonderful relationship and a very nice employment situation.

Working on the same show allowed us to take days off at the same time. Faye, for me, was a great friend and an excellent sailing partner.

Always willing to take off on a moments notice, she was also sophisticated, funny, experienced and very pretty. Her father was a legendary Production Designer in the feature film industry.

My relationship with Faye consisted mostly of working on filmed television and planning the next best thing to do on our time off. For me, that was always something around the sea. I never stopped planning our next trip and also never stopped to look at who we were together.

For me, and I knew it early on, the future was sailing the oceans of the world. For Faye, well, I never asked. I assumed that her dreams were congruent with mine.

Then, two months into the production season, with almost no warning, The Writers Guild of America struck the Producers of both film and television production companies.

The entire business, on both coasts, was shut down. Suddenly, no one was working, including us. I had an idea, "This strike could go on for months," I said to Faye, "Let's try sailing to Hawaii again" "Fine with me!" she replied and we drove from Las Vegas to the boat in Ventura, California.

Despite what we had previously survived aboard this boat, we arrived to find her in excellent shape. In fact, there was still food in the lockers and fuel in the tanks. She seemed to whisper, "Let's have another go, we can do it!"

In a few short weeks, through friends, I had found more crew. An American couple with little sailing experience named Bob, 35 and Dianne, 30 who were eager to make an ocean crossing.

They generously shared food expenses and helped out with the final preparations of the boat. On a beautiful September day, we untied the dock lines and cast off for Honolulu for the second time.

Hawaii is 2500 miles of open ocean Southwest from the coast of California. This time, everything went well for the first 1000 miles. We sailed the boat, cooked, slept, caught fish, listened to music, did watches and generally enjoyed the good weather.

Then, at about noon on a clear, sunny day, I was below deck getting some rest and preparing for my watch, when I heard the sound of the sails clattering and flogging in the wind. I ran up on deck to find Bob, who was on watch, turning the wheel and muttering to himself, "We've gotta get back".

Then, pointing over his shoulder at some small clouds on the western horizon, Bob said, "Look at those clouds!"

I turned, there was nothing to cause any alarm. He had reversed our course and was sailing back in the direction of California, 1000 miles away!

I asked, "Bob what are you doing?" He replied, "I'm sailing back. We are heading into a huge storm!" I said, "Bob, no we are not!" Pointing at the small, white clouds, I said "There is no sign whatever of an approaching storm!"

I took the wheel and turned us in the direction of Honolulu. Dianne was now on deck, "Mellow out Bob" she said. He grimaced at her and said, "We have to turn around, there is a big storm coming". "Just mellow out Bob" she said.

I stood there, feeling very sad for this man who wanted so badly to do an ocean passage to Hawaii. He was panicked. His eyes were dilated and his hands were shaking.

My only alternative was to gently send him below deck and ask that he not do his watch until he agreed to sail the course I had set. He quietly went to his cabin.

Dianne brought him food and water and he was essentially a passenger from that day until our landfall 10 days later.

Now, approximately 1400 miles out from California, I checked my chart and, since there was no GPS at that time, I took a sextant sight. The results of my calculations were not good. We were on a course that would miss Hawaii by about 300 miles to the South where there was nothing but thousands of square miles of ocean or New Zealand 4000 miles further on.

I was awful at math, were my calculations correct? I had to find out. This was another time that loneliness began to move stealthily in.

I could not discuss this navigation problem with my crew because they might just react as did my previous crew and become angry and depressed.

I was alone with my navigation crisis and there were people within a few feet.

Fortunately, I had brought along a battery operated instrument called a Radio Direction Finder which could be aimed at any radio station and would show, for sure, what direction the signal was coming from.

I quietly did this and when I turned on the RDF to listen to Hawaii radio, I heard……..nothing. "My God", I thought, "Where are we?" Then, I remembered that I had read somewhere that radio transmissions are much stronger at night.

So, I waited.

At 8PM, I tried again. This time Radio Hilo (Hawaii) came booming out of my RDF. But, it was coming from 30 degrees to starboard of our course! Now, I had to make a decision. Change course 30 degrees to starboard or not?

Do radio waves bounce around while coming over the horizon, or do they come straight out of the transmitter to the receiver? I had no idea.

I went to my bound volume of Nethaniel Bowditch to find out. Bowditch is an encyclopedia of the marine world and the answer might just be there. Sure enough, it was. "Radio waves come straight over the horizon from the transmitter" it read.

I had to change course. I casually went up on deck and said to Dianne, who was on watch, "Let's change course 30 degrees to starboard".

She looked at me and said, "Huh? Why", I said, "Because that's what we have to do to get there". She said, "Oh, OK" and that was that.

Bob stayed in his cabin for the entire 10 days to arrival.

We finally anchored safely off the island of Maui and had completed the trip in 21 days. We had averaged about 100 miles per day and, best of all, we had made it without a major problem.

Bob emerged from his cabin as if nothing had happened and congratulated everyone on board.

His "confinement" was not mentioned again until a year later when he called me in Las Vegas (I was back at work), and apologized for his behavior.

While still in Hawaii, we rested, enjoyed the wonderful tropical life there and found a safe marina for the boat. We all felt exhilarated by our successful sail and awaited the end of the Writers strike.

A few weeks later, the strike was over and we made reservations for our flights back to the mainland.

Just before our flight, we met an experienced sailor named Bud who helped us find bits of gear for small repairs and was able to advise me on where and when to go in the Central Pacific. I will never forget one piece of advice he shared with me. He said, "You know, Hawaii isn't very boat friendly. There are few marinas here and the trade winds are too strong; the channels between the islands are always rough and the real estate people see yachts as a threat to property values. The best place to be on a boat is The Marshall Islands. It's 2500 miles downwind from here; there is clear, clear water, beautiful coral and huge schools of fish for excellent SCUBA diving; it's inexpensive because it is so isolated and best of all", He lowered his voice, "Pan American Airlines is building a huge Stewardess Rehabilitation Center there. It's a four story hotel with a pool and lovely restaurant. About one hundred Stewardesses (Flight Attendants were called Stewardesses back then) will be there at all times just trying to relax. They're lying around with nothing to do!"

"Oh, that's amazing" I said, "Gotta go there!" I believed him!

Six months later we cast off for the Marshall Islands.


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Chapter 5 (Boat Number Two - Mas Alegre)

"Cut and print!" said the Director "And that's a wrap!" I shouted to the crew. "Thank you everyone. Have a good weekend! See you on Monday!" And I was off for another weekend. Time to do laundry, shop for food, wander the malls looking for, well, for anything to do...

-

Working in the film and TV production business, especially on the set next to the camera and close to the actors and actresses 16 hours per day, put me in a tiny segment of California society known as "Cool". In fact, it was ground zero of "Cool". I was one of the "Chosen ones" not a "Civilian" as we called anyone NOT in the film business.

It was very, very exciting, and it was lucrative. We were producing the fantasies that were watched by the whole world. Our work was important. We were important. My mother, who had also worked in the film business when she was young, was happy. My employers were happy. The money was flowing in and there were magnificently beautiful women everywhere, both in front of and behind the camera. What more could any man want?

Weekends were reality. Laundry, food, movies, expensive dinners.

I was bored and restless during those days off every week, and it was during this time I began to know there was something more I wanted.

I began to realize that "Cool" was not something special about me, it was about the glamour of the film business.

The business was like an incubator, insulated from the rest of the world, well publicized, safe, fun, very profitable, and very, very comfortable.

It had its own rules, its own style, its own language, social hierarchy and customs. I was living in an insulated, dreamlike world where anything that needed repair was done by someone else and that troubled me. I felt as though I was becoming a one note singer. I felt as though I was living in a very narrow world. All I was learning was how to exist in this exotic atmosphere. "Cool" was a lonely life. There was no love; no support; The Business was competitive as Hell and the reward was money not friendship.

Show Business was 'Cool' - I was just 'me'. I also learned that "Cool" was a transitory condition for most people in The Business. Jack Nicholson notwithstanding, when you reached a certain age, maybe gained a bit of weight and lost a bit of hair, and especially if you developed interests outside of the business, you were no longer "Cool".

It was even more painful for women. As career actresses, they had three choices. One: fight the aging process as long as possible with surgery and drugs and extend their careers until their age could not be hidden any longer, or Two: age naturally and try to find "Character" parts for "Older women" and not many can do this, or Three: get out of the business altogether. For them, the hands of the clock could never be stopped. Age was a huge negative and everyone knew it.

I knew many people who were completely fulfilled by working in 'The Business' as we called it, as if there was no other business. I was not one of them. I longed to develop myself, both mentally and physically, in a way that would not be dependant on my age or my social position inside the "Incubator". I felt as though I would be left to die as an empty shell, yes, with plenty of money, if I did not escape to some other lifestyle.

I often wondered what it would be like to actually live inside one of those fantasies on which I was working, where the Hero was so self sufficient, free of the encumbrances of daily life, able to fix any problem be it physical or emotional. How would it feel to be Hunter or one of the A Team? I believed that there was still time for me to find out.

I had played classical guitar for 20 years, even studied in Spain, but I had terminal stage fright, so that wouldn't work.

I had published underwater photographs and even had an agent in New York but there did not seem to be enough income from that to support a new way of life.

I had backpacked all over the globe for almost 20 years. No one ever offered to pay me for backpacking.

If I left The Business, how would I support myself?

I returned to the marina and began, almost as if in a trance, wandering the docks looking at the sculptures of glistening glass and steel floating in the water.

The boats seemed to sing out to me. "I can take you to adventure, to Paradise, to Love!" I would then think of my last "sail" to Hawaii which had been a huge disaster and go back to work on Monday, never putting together my interest in sailing and travel with my misgivings about the film business. The two seemed totally unrelated. My life consisted of working on one show after another: Eight Is Enough, Amityville Horror (the first one), Knots Landing, Hunter, The A Team and Stingray. All very successful television shows.

I was making good money, but the weekends kept coming and I continued to walk the docks and to listen to the songs of the boats. I had lost track of Paca, the woman with whom I had lived in Madrid all those years ago, but I had not lost hope. I thought I might just be able to find her whenever I returned to Spain. We would see each other and our love would be still be alive. I had to be honest with myself. All I really wanted to do was set sail and find that love again. Besides, when I wasn't feeling as though I might die out there, sailing was fun and healthy.

One weekend, I walked into a boat sales office in Marina Del Ray, California, having sold my first boat six months before, and said, "What have you got for under $100,000?"

I was assuming that all I could afford for that money was an old wooden boat. A young salesman said, "Well, there is a guy down in Newport Beach(California) who we call The Wizard of Oz because he is a crazy zillionaire who sells beautiful, seaworthy and fine sailing boats for 'give away' prices when he gets tired of them! I hear he has one for sale now". I wrote down the phone number and address of this "Wizard" and drove to Newport Beach. What I found there was a crazy guy alright. "The Wizard" was a short, thin, wirey, fast talking 50 year old named Mike. He was selling a beautiful red sloop with a Spanish name…Mas Alegre, which means 'More Fun' and when I saw that boat for sale in front of Mikes waterfront house, my life was, once again, changed forever. To be continued....wherein I lived aboard, and sailed Mas Alegre for 25 years. Did I make it back to Spain? Please stay tuned.


site navigation compass rose Let's Get Back t' the TOP o' This Page wi' ya, Matey Let's Be Gettin' ya Back t' HOME Port, Matey Let's be Movin' On to the Next Port You're not THAT lucky.

A Memoir by Ed Vaughan

25 years of photography, sailing & SCUBA diving around the world.


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©2017 Ed Vaughan

This website is dedicated to Barry M. Snewin who was my good friend and diving instructor.

Last modified: July 16 2017 13:18:36.