This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, but I'm an old hippie at heart. More specifically, a Beatles fan, and even more specifically a John Lennon fan. December 8th is not my favorite date on the calendar, but this year on that date there was a pleasant surprise for Lennon fans, app geeks, and sailors!
This rather well-done iPhone/iPad app tells the story of John's sail from Newport Rhode Island to Bermuda in the summer of 1980, on the 43-foot Megan Jaye, as well as the inspiration which he drew from the 6-day voyage which he forged into the music for Double Fantasy (the original version of which starts with the chiming of a ships clock.)
John had recently bought a 14-foot sailing dingy from Coney's Marine right here in Huntington NY (he had a house here at the time) and was teaching himself how to sail, but like many of us, he had a lifelong dream to sail across the Atlantic.
John shipped on board the Megan Jaye as a self-describe apprentice "cabin boy" (is that Fate, or what?), but a few days out from Newport the boat ran into rough weather. One by one the other crew members--all experienced sailors--were laid low by seasickness. Finally, only the captain (the mysterious Captain Hank) and the Beatle were unaffected.
After a day at the wheel, the captain couldn't carry on any longer and asked John if he'd take a turn a the wheel.
“At first you panic and then you’re ready to throw up your guts,” Lennon said in an interview after his trip. “But once you got out there and start doing all the stuff, you forget your fears and you got high on your performance.
“So there I was at the wheel with the wind and sea lashing out at me. At first I was terrified, but Captain Hank was at my side so I felt relatively safe because I knew he wouldn’t let me do anything stupid. After a while Captain Hank wasn’t feeling too well so he went to the cabin below.
“Once I accepted the reality of the situation, something greater than me took over and all of a sudden I lost my fear. I actually began to enjoy the experience and I started to shout out old sea shanties in the face of the storm, screaming at the thundering sky.”
Next Up: Handy Billy