Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Am I Doing This?!?

Entering the Race to Alaska has got to be the coolest adventure that was ever remotely in the realm of possibility for me. I will be sailing a nifty-looking sailboat, that I built, through my most favorite scenery on the entire planet.

I have crewed on a sailboat on the Puget Sound before under very interesting conditions, and at night. I remember feeling fully alive, out "on the edge," "in the zone," pick your own metaphor for really living.

I enjoy science fiction. And while I won't be in outer space, I will definitely be taking my ship on a mission into the unknown. I discovered on my boating excursions, more than several years ago, that sailing on water and in space (as described in stories, anyway) share some features. There will be multiple ports of call separated by large, uninhabited distances. And there are numerous creatures that I may encounter, some of them much larger than my craft. One species is known as "killer ...." [I'm not alone thinking this way. 2017 R2AK Team Away Team sailed on S/V Spar Trek.]

But such adventures come with additional challenges. Financing is one of them. Actually getting the boat in the water, and acquiring sufficient sailing experience before the Race begins, are a couple more.

Is the joy of the Race alone worth the time and effort that overcoming these obstacles requires? It's close. But honestly for me, I have to say "no." Not just entering the R2AK, no, as worthy an endeavor as that is. On my own, I'm probably too easily distracted; I have a tendency to self-sabotage. Competing has to be about more than just something I want to do for me, if I am actually going to pull this off.

It is. Those two websites that I am promoting, and That is me. I am part of their target demographic, men who were sexually abused when they were boys. Yeah, so? What does competing in the Race have to do with them? The publicity that the R2AK receives is huge. It represents a lot of eyeballs, including eyeballs belonging to men who are in the one-in-six group that need to be introduced to the resources available on those sites. Through my team's R2AK page write-up and websites, I can draw attention to and and help men like me. I am doing this for them.

And the further I progress in the process, I realize that it is not just me and my motivations. It's my crew member—Ed—and his goal of sailing the Inside Passage on something bigger than his kayak. It's my friend from back in high school believing in me and my project enough to send a nice check to keep things moving. It's Gig Harbor Boat Works eager to find a way to install their sliding rowing seat on my boat. It's the dozens of people following Team Kingsfold's Facebook page (including everyone from old classmates to some big names among R2AK competitors). It's the many people listed on this page as Contributors. And it's the friendliness and enthusiasm of the R2AK leadership as they have responded to my emails ever since I came up with this whole crazy goal. We are doing this.

I am on the right track. Already, an old college buddy called after I told him about my plans in an email. He told me his story of abuse by some relatives that occurred over a period of years beginning when he was about six! I listened to him for as long as he needed to talk. And he now knows about the websites.

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