My True Brit Upbringing

I’m a native of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, England, home of the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory and the prime meridian of longitude “where east meets west.” (That may not actually have any connection with my fascination with boats and the sea, which is something that everyone is exposed to in the British Isles.)

Part 1 of my biography continues here:  England 1947-72

Getting My Act Together

In September 1971, I had sailed over from England in my catamaran with Milton and Stephanie along for the ride. When we reached Amsterdam we all began to enjoy the Dutch experience. We found some casual work in a pickle factory, and I biked around the city’s magnificent old streets and canals, and visited a Dutch woman I had met at a hostel in Iceland.

Part 2 of my biography continues here: North America 1972-2015

Something Entirely Different!

I may have given the impression that boats and boating give meaning to my life, but that is not a true picture. When I quit the Tilman voyage in Iceland in 1971, I was forced to face reality, and re-direct my energy to something I was physically able to accomplish. But it wasn’t until I had spent a year or two in North America that I could begin to understand how I had got into that situation in the first place. At that point, I was truly “getting my act together.”

Some of the interests and passions I developed in the USA in the 1970’s included auto maintenance and repair, Balkan folk-dancing, teaching myself Spanish, travel in Mexico, yoga and meditiation, comparative religion, self-employment as handyman then as an importer/salesman of Mexican handcrafts. I also resumed fairly casual running, which I had not done since college.

By the 1980’s, I had drifted back into multihull building when I had too much time on my hands and found a local boat builders club. I also got back into cycling through the early  collective bike shop movement in Portland. I also began backing away from all organized religious belief . In 1982, I began writing for Multihulls of Boston magazine, then for Freshwater News of Portland while I was making long inshore boat trips every summer.

In 1988, I decided to concentrate on writing seriously, and also was encouraged to apply for the Illegal Immigrant Amnesty scheme created under President Ronald Reagan. I had definitely learned about self-employment by the time I received landed immigrant status in 1991. In 1996, I resumed practising French conversation, started learning to dance tango in 1999, when I also came out of the closet as an atheist.

In 2002, when rents became onerous in Portland and writing work harder to find, I went  to Astoria for the summer, and decided to stay. After moving very frequently in Portland, I succeeded in living in the same building the whole 12 years. I learned to appreciate small-town life, built up a small museum dedicated to cannery workers history, and in 2012 even found occasional employment in the local bike shop, Bikes & Beyond.


I would like to contact the following old friends:

Marcus Burroughs–Old Colfeian, who opened my eyes to youth hostelling

Timothy Child of SE London and the Bay Area, who helped with the catamaran project

Jitske Muller of Amsterdam, who worked in the Derdre Wereld Winkel

Deborah Lang of Kankakee, Illinois