Singing in the Lifeboat

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

Voltaire, 1757

Upon receiving a surprising diagnosis this spring, one that urged time and treatment, Jupiter’s crew finds themselves at sea without a ship, offshore in dark waters frayed from the familiar.

Adventures aboard Jupiter are interrupted in May and delayed through July as we abandon Jupiter to boatyards in order to discover oracles, ports, healers. And a lifeboat.

Lifeboats are engineered for survival. Neither comfort, convenience, style, manners nor speed stays these boats from their mission to deliver shipwrecked passengers safely ashore.

Life boats no longer resemble the open launch in which Captain William Bligh navigated 1200 leagues during 1789. Nor do they appear like the 22 ½ foot ship’s boat that Earnest Shackleton piloted 800 miles through the Furious Fifties in 1916.

Modern lifeboats are big, powered and enclosed. They follow set routines and proven survival protocols, but at sea they still follow the notions and motions of nature.

Seven Motions of a Lifeboat at Sea

  1. Pitch: The kowtowing rise and fall of the bow to oncoming waves
  2. Roll: The loathsome steep leaning by seas abeam
  3. Yaw: The sickening change of heading from port to starboard and back
  4. Heave: The helpless Six Flags swelling and quelling ocean undulation
  5. Sway: The sashay side-gliding impelled by currents, wind or waves
  6. Surge: The apathetic urging of the boat forward by a following seaway
  7. Puke: The green sea emesis accompanying mariners’ disgorgements for any reason noted above

The lifeboat singer is willing, the song sometimes swilling.

Jupiter’s Liferaft, recently inspected, repacked and remounted, hangs ready on her starboard rail.

Treats Vs. Treatments

Jupiter’s crew finds it difficult to feel remorse for Jupiter, who lands an extended holiday at Philbrooks Boat Spa. She gets treats like the soothing servicing of her after-coolers, electronic augmentations, and varnish cosmetology.

The crew, otherwise, receives treatments, not treats.

The hazy horizon clears ahead, and Jupiter’s crew prepares for August aboard.


  1. Peter C. Macdonald says:

    So thankful that you are doing so well. Enjoy your latest adventure and keep us posted. Safe sailing!

  2. Charlotte Drinkwater says:

    Thank goodness for lifeboats. Can’t wait for you to see Jupiter’s own life raft in a few short weeks. XXX

  3. Gail Crosson says:

    I think of you often and am so glad to know that you will soon be afloat!!
    The Stonington “ marina” awaits…😊

  4. Theo & Augusta says:

    Worried about the silence. Missed hearing your news and exploring with you. Hope all is well.
    Much love

  5. Heather Dwight says:

    I have missed your writing and tales from the sea. Soon! My heart will swell with the tide when I know you’re both aboard. Safe travels.

  6. Tina Jones says:

    Pray for continued healing…I know being back on the water helps soothe the soul…ENJOY your cruising ~

  7. Karen says:

    As always, beautifully written with a slice of wry humor. Sending love and looking forward to following your post treatment adventures! ❤️

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