Speaking Topics

Dream. Plan. Go!

Sailing Your Dreams to Success and Adventure

In July, 2004, Silver Donald Cameron and his wife Marjorie Simmins set sail from Cape Breton Island, bound for the white sand beaches and palm trees of the nearest tropical islands. They were accompanied by their Brave and Faithful Dog, Leo. The skipper was an old age pensioner. His youthful mate was new to the cruising life. At 13, the BFD was antique and arthritic.

Six months later, after 3000 nautical miles, this improbable crew browed ashore in Little Harbour, in the Bahamas. The BFD frisked like a puppy. The skipper and mate looked ten years younger. At Pete's Pub, a palm-thatched tiki bar on the beach, they would celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary by eating conch salad and lemon hogfish, and playing Cape Breton jigs with a muster of sun-browned vagabonds. The skipper -- in swim trunks -- raised a glass of cheap rum.

“To Marjorie's voyage with two old dogs,” he said. “And to absent friends, God help 'em, frozen stiff and buried in snow.”

Well, Silver Donald and Marjorie were lucky, right? That's the romantic life of an author.

Wrong, says Silver Donald. Hundreds of couples cruise south every autumn, and what they share is not luck or wealth, but discipline, imagination and and a lusty appetite for life – the very qualities that produce successful businesses, happy marriages and rewarding careers.

The skipper's great love had always been sailing and cruising – but it had taken diligence and effort to reach that tropical beach. He had dreamed of this trip for 30 years, and had spent two winters upgrading the 33-year-old Norwegian ketch they had bought for the voyage. He had studied the cruising guides, the equipment manuals, the charts of the IntraCoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida.

Furthermore, he had married an adventurous woman who knew the sea from her years of commercial fishing – and who knew the skipper, too. In Jonesport, Maine, when the skipper smashed the boat into a wharf and punched a hole in the bow, it was she who insisted that the voyage continue. When the engine died in Long Island Sound, it was she who said, “Well, this is a sailboat. We can sail.”

And the rewards? Fireworks over the Tall Ships in Halifax Harbour. The tranquility of September in Maine. Rushing down the East River with Manhattan whizzing past to starboard. Feasting on hush puppies, grits with chicken gravy, sugar toads, ankle-biters and endless shrimp. Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, shrouded in live oak and Spanish moss, with vibrations of voodoo hanging in the air. The ancient streets of St. Augustine. The glittering opulence of Fort Lauderdale.

The boisterous 75-mile Gulf Stream crossing – and then the vivid turquoise waters of the Sea of Abaco, rimmed by narrow islands. Spanish Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Man-o-War Cay. Pastel villages clustered under the palm trees. Coral reefs crowded with tropical fish, yellow and scarlet and black. Woodcarvers, painters and wreck-divers. Wild Spanish horses in forests of palmetto and casuarina.

Audiences can share it all in this splendidly-illustrated presentation. And the lesson, says Silver Donald, applies to every adventure, in every aspect of life.

“Yesterday's gone,” he says. “Tomorrow's unknown. What are you waiting for? Dream. Plan. Go!”


To book Silver Donald Cameron as a speaker, contact The Atlantic Speakers Bureau or LimeLight Communications Group.

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