Let's Talk About Seafaring...'With Reckless Abandon'
By Capt. Jim Sharp

September 13, 2021

Let's Talk About Seafaring...'With Reckless Abandon'

While eating lobster at a 'Lobster Bake' in Rockland, Maine last week, I stumbled upon a gem of a man and author of the seafaring book, 'With Reckless Abandon'. In his book, I picked-up some awesome tips for how to live, and perhaps even fund, a life lived with reckless bandon. Captain Sharp's book had me giggling out loud throughout, while I experienced first-hand the Maine weather, water and people he describes in his book. In this podcast episode, we recount our visit to Rockland, Maine, our visit to the 'Sail, Power and Steam Museum' there, and my brief encounter with museum curator and author, Captain Sharp, learning about the adventures of Admiral MacMillan in the Arctic.

It takes a tall spruce to attain 12 inches of diameter up 75 feet at the top end. But the logging company from Aroostook County swore they could find just what I needed right in a tiny place that hardly justified a name. It was a dot on the map, deep in the Maine woods, called Donkey-Deadwater. They found what I needed, cut it, and delivered it that winter.‘With Reckless Abandon’ by Capt. Jim Sharp, pg. 109

On Vacation Uncovering Gems

Last week, my wife and I found ourselves at a Lobster Bake in Rockland, Maine. The last time I had lobster was many years ago at a restaurant chain. Fresh lobster straight from the sea and steamer is incomparable to the restaurant experience. One of the women serving us, ‘Meg’, was the wife of the curator of the museum at our idyllic location by the bay, where we voraciously devoured our lobster meal. Somehow we (Meg and I) struck-up a brief conversation about her (and her husband’s) time spent motoring the canals of Europe in a narrow boat for 10 years. Immediately, my interest was piqued as I have a special place in my heart for sailors who find ways to live lives of adventure. It did not take me long to connect her with the curator of the museum and to learn about the book they had written about their nautical adventures in Europe.

Lobster Bake Goodness

Lobster Bake at 'Sail, Power and Steam' Museum

Lobster Bake at 'Sail, Power and Steam' Museum

Lobster Bake at 'Sail, Power and Steam' Museum

Castine, Maine

A day or two prior to our Lobster Bake experience, we anchored off the town of Castine - home of the Maine Maritime Academy. While riding the tender to shore, we saw the Schooner Bowdoin anchored next to a much larger training vessel operated by the Academy. I did not know that the Schooner Bowdoin is the State Vessel of Maine. Little did I know that I was also soon going to run into THE man who made the modern day operation of Schooner Bowdoin possible.

Admiral MacMillan and P-Town

After we had finished gorging ourselves on lobster, corn-on-the-cob, clams and potatoe salad at the Lobster Bake in Rockland, we headed over to the ‘Sail, Power and Steam Museum’ to find the book Meg was telling me about. While looking around the museum, Captain Sharp leads a tour into a room full of paraphenalia related to the Schooner Bowdoin and her previous life adventuring with Admiral MacMillan in over 26 trips to the Arctic. Here I make the connection between Bowdoin, docked in Castine, and Captain Sharp, as the man who saved and resurrected this vessel from disrepair after she was donated to Mystic Seaport.

As Captain Sharp relayed his story about sailing Bowdoin into P-Town, through a thick fog, to show Admiral MacMillan the newly resurrected vessel, I had flash-backs of Dr. Caple’s and my experience being towed into P-Town in 2016 in our Ocean Rowing Boat, ‘Nautilus’, after making the decision to call-off our first attempt to row the North Atlantic. Captain Sharp’s experience, however, sounded like a much happier experience…once the fog broke.

Groping our way into P’town Harbor, blaring away on the noisy, old hand-operated foghorn, searching blindly for something to recognize, we finally found a buoy and squared away for MacMillan’s house on the beach. The Lord blessed us because, just before our time ran out, the fog, like a curtain, rolled back and there was Captain Mac perched prominently on his porch blowing his horn back at us.‘With Reckless Abandon’ by Capt. Jim Sharp, pg. 111

So What?

Looking at the career arc of Captain Sharp, it indeed appears possible to live life with reckless abandon and still become ‘successful’, according to many definitions of the word. Multiple streams of income may in fact be key enablers to leading such a life.

I encourage you to dive into Captain Sharp’s (and Meg’s) book(s) to learn more.

If you like books about nautical adventure, I encourage you to listen to our interviews with Naval Architect and Multihull Pioneer, Jim Brown, and Australian Sailor and Adventurer, Nick Jaffe.

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Dialogue & Discussion