What a world we live in. Between a doom-and-gloom-filled news cycle, scornful- and troll-flooded social media and a culture consumed by looking out for number one, it’s easy to become cynical. Then there are the mounting pressures on the modern workforce. The 9 to 5 work week feels all but a legend lost to yesteryear. Today’s business world demands constant connectivity to email and industry news.
It’s because of stresses like these that I feel the world needs boating more now than ever. Nothing grounds me like a weekend at the cove or a weeknight on the mooring. It’s actually quite amazing. It doesn’t happen near enough, if I’m honest, but on the summer weeknights when Karen meets me in Essex after work, all it takes is the short dinghy ride to the boat to drop off some pillows or provisions for me to be inspired to do something almost unheard of. Sometimes, when I’m feeling rebellious, I shut my phone off. Disconnecting from the digital world and feeling the dock beneath my feet offers a faster recharge than 1,000 USB cords.
This isn’t a secret. I know this, you know it. And some of our country’s most powerful people, from presidents to celebrities, knew this. Our March 2019 issue, our first ever legends and icons issue, pays homage to those who went to sea to escape the mounting pressures of war, politics and stardom alike.
In an exclusive interview with Ethan Wayne, the youngest son of John Wayne, he shares stories and memories from a childhood spent growing up and cruising aboard his father’s 136-foot converted minesweeper Wild Goose. He says a life on the waves brought a sense of calm to The Duke’s life like nothing else.
“It’s hard to convey how much being on the boat meant to my dad. I don’t know if you realize how much pressure is on a person like that. It’s just constant pressure, [even when you’re] trying to get something to eat at a restaurant, trying to do something with your kid or your wife or your family, without being interrupted constantly. It would drive most people out of their minds not to have a minute of peace throughout the day. And he was so gracious,” Wayne explained. “The boat meant freedom from that most of the time, because he could be with his family and friends. And it was very much a part of our life growing up with him, and it was a place where he was at peace.”
Some of our nation’s past presidents, from Roosevelt (both of them) and JFK to the late George H.W. Bush looked to boating for relief from what could be crippling daily stress. You’ll find in “Ships of State” here that these reprieves—and the yachts themselves—played a direct and important role in our country’s history. Man, if only those ships could talk, what stories they’d have to tell.
And as for the late President H.W. Bush, I don’t know if there will ever be another boat nut like him in the oval office. We remember Bush the boater here.
As we send this issue to press, I’ve been thinking more and more about what we all have in common–these extraordinary people and all of us. I think it comes down to escape. Whether you’re a movie star, a president or a business owner—especially in today’s world—I think that’s what we’re all searching for. A way to get away from it all, if just for the briefest of moments.