[Originally published on July 20, 2012]
Look at that expression above. That about sums it all up, doesn't it?
Robert Manry was an editor for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's daily newspaper, back in the 1960's. He had a mid-life crisis of sorts, after being diagnosed with a heart irregularity. Did he start of program of exercise and diet? Sorta. Did he boost his spiritual life through meditation? Sorta. Did he achieve new purpose and greater health? Oh, boy, you have no idea.
You see, Manry bought a 15ft. sailboat [well, technically 13 feet, 8 inches] and decided, despite the fact that he was a novice freshwater sailor for whom Lake Erie was the largest body of water he'd ever attempted, to sail from Falmouth, Mass. to Falmouth, UK. Yep, across the North Atlantic. By himself. In a 15ft. boat. Named Tinkerbelle.
Like all serious American nutcases, he kept this intention mostly to himself. No wonder, as his friends might have tried an intervention. Or thrown a net over him. When he asked for a leave of absence from The Plain Dealer, they said "no". So, he quit.
In case you're wondering, he did make it. Also, The Plain Dealer now found that their former employee was the toast of sailors around the world and much in demand by the world media. Oops.
His story in brief may be found here. If you want, you can still find copies of Tinkerbelle, his tale of the odyssey, from used book dealers.
What made him a hero for me was that he spoke dramatically to our Boy Scout troop about his experience and inspired at least one of us to try to live the life of a waterman whenever possible. In fact, I would eventually buy a later version of his boat myself.