Sailing “Close-hauled” Into Summer

sailing quotes Ahh, summer…there is nothing more inspiring than the majestic beauty of a sailboat sailing offshore, making its way into a welcoming harbor filled with beautiful white boats on a sunset-splashed summer evening.

It brings forth dreams of heroic adventures on the high seas and imaginings of far-away paradisiacal places with “palm-green shores” and ancient ports with cargo ships unloading their treasures of “emeralds, amethysts, topazes, cinnamon, and gold moidores” (as John Masefield describes in his poem “Cargoes”), all bathed in the magical golden hues of summer.

The idea of sailing is the ultimate romantic longing – glistening waters, brilliant sunsets, and a solitude that drenches the soul in the wonder, mystery and power of the natural world.

But, as I learned in a recent sailing adventure – with a departure date that was pushed back by the winds and rain of a tropical storm, adding an unexpected dramatic element – sailing is a lot of work. Both physically and mentally demanding, it takes a steady, patient and experienced captain to trim the sails, chart the course and navigate the changing winds and swelling waters.

The quotes below speak to man’s instinctive longing for All Things Nautical and to his adventurous spirit, as Herman Melville once wrote, to “sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.” They also celebrate the skill of sailors who bravely captain their boats safely through the storm and calm of unpredictable seas.

As Nicholas Monsarrat* once wrote: “Sailors with their built in sense of order, service and discipline, should really be running the world.”

Sailing Quotes:

1. “Never in my life before have I experienced such beauty, and fear at the same time.” –Llen MacArthur, Sailor

2. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  –William Arthur Ward

3. “O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done, the ship has weathered every rock, the prize we sought is won, the port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting.”  –Walt Whitman

4. “To insure safety at sea, the best that science can devise and that naval organization can provide must be regarded only as an aid, and never as a substitute for good seamanship, self-reliance, and sense of ultimate responsibility which are the first requisites in a seaman and naval officer.” –Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

5. “That’s what a ship is, you know – it’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is…really is, is freedom.” –Captain Jack Sparrow

The next three quotes are taken from The Sea and the Wind that Blows, Essays of E.B. White, 1934:

6. “Waking or sleeping, I dream of boats – usually of rather small boats under a slight press of sail.”

7. “Men who ache all over for tidiness and compactness in their lives often find relief for their pain in the cabin of a thirty-foot sailboat at anchor in a sheltered cove. Here the sprawling panoply of the home is compressed in orderly miniature and liquid delirium, suspended between the bottom of the sea and the top of the sky, ready to move on in the morning by the miracle of canvas and the witchcraft of rope. It is small wonder that men hold boats in the secret place of their mind, almost from the cradle to the grave.”

8. “If a man be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.  If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man – a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a bird or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them close-hauled or running free – parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive.”

inspirational sailing quotes

9. “Sometimes we are lucky enough to know our lives have been changed, to discard the old and embrace the new and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened to me…on that summer’s day when my eyes were opened to the sea.” –Jacques Yves-Cousteau

10. “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.” –John F. Kennedy, Newport dinner speech before America’s Cup Races, Sept. 1962 

11. “Confronting a storm is like fighting God. All the powers in the universe seem to be against you and, in an extraordinary way, your irrelevance is at the same time both humbling and exalting.” –Francois LeGrande

12. “I kept moving along the deck, backward and forward,
until the waves ripped the sides from her keel and left it
bare, and they snapped the mast from its socket; it shattered
against the keel, but there was a leather backstay
still hanging upon it.  I took it and used it to lash
the keel and the mast together, and sitting astride them
I was carried along on the waves by the furious winds.” –Homer, The Odyssey

13. “The planning stage of a cruise is often just as enjoyable as the voyage itself, letting one’s imagination loose on all kinds of possibilities.  Yet translating dreams into reality means a lot of practical questions have to be answered.”  –Jimmy Cornell, World Cruising Handbook

14. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seems to speak of some hidden soul beneath…” –Herman Melville

15. “Any fool can carry on, but a wise man knows how to shorten sail in time.” –Joseph Conrad

famous nautical quotes

16. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” –Old Norwegian Adage

17. “My soul is full of longing, for the secret of the Sea, and the heart of the great ocean, sends a thrilling pulse through me.”  –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

18. “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” –Willa Cather

19. “Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

20. “There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.” –Old Capstan Chantey attributed to Anacharsis, 6th Century BC

21. “You can sit here in my cockpit and argue philosophy, politics or religion all week long and in the end it doesn’t matter. None of it matters a whit. What matters, what really matters, is that we sailed today and now we sit here with a full belly, a drink in our hands and friends to share it with. And Life is good, this I know.” –Tim Fuhrmann, Sailor

sailing sayingsAlso enjoy these five songs to set sail with:

  1. This is the Sea” by the Waterboys from the 1985 album
  2. I am Sailing” by Rod Stewart from his album Atlantic Crossing 1975
  3. Catch the Wind” by Donovan from the album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid, 1965
  4. Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison from his album Moondance, 1970
  5. Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young from the album Daylight Again, 1982

*Nicholas Monsarrat (1910-1979) was a British novelist known for his sea-faring stories, especially his novel The Cruel Sea, which, as Goodreads describes, tells “the story of the British ships Compass Rose and Saltash and of their desperate cat-and-mouse game with Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic during World War II. First published to great acclaim in 1951, The Cruel Sea remains a classic novel of endurance.”

The ‘Key’ to Key Lime Pie

best key lime pie recipeThe Key Lime* – different from Persian or Tahiti limes that one typically sees in the grocery store – was introduced to the Florida Keys during the 1830s by Henry Perrine, a diplomat and botanist who discovered the plant in Mexico.

It is little surprise, then, that the combination of refreshing limes and sweet condensed milk, which was also invented around the same time, eventually evolved to become Florida’s State Pie.

In fact, it was only on a recent trip to Florida that I discovered just how many varieties there are to Key Lime Pie – and how delicious the perfect one can truly be. From light and fluffy to a heavier custard-like filling, one quickly develops a discriminating palate for a dessert that is offered in just about every restaurant in the state.

The absolute best Key Lime Pie I sampled was a perfectly textured and flavored whipped cream/graham cracker crust creation at A12 Buoy in Fort Pierce, an all around excellent seafood restaurant. I have been on a mission to recreate it ever since.

In the meantime, the two recipes below are very satisfying. One is made with a graham cracker crust, the other with a flour crust; one with just cream and eggs, the other with condensed milk and eggs. Enjoy!

Also: check out Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe in Key West, voted one of the best Key Lime Pie makers. You can purchase one of their pies online at www.keylimesshop.com along with a variety of other items, such as Key Lime Soap and Key Lime Cookies.

*Key limes are smaller, have a more intense flavor and are considered sweeter than other types of lime. They also have a thinner rind and more of a yellowish color compared to other types of lime. They are sometimes referred to as a “bartender’s lime” because of the enhancing flavor they give to alcoholic drinks such as margaritas.

Key Lime Pie (adapted from several different recipes)

Ingredients for the crust:
2 cups crushed Graham Cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
6 tbsp. melted butter

Ingredients for the filling:
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Key Lime juice
2 & 1/4 tsp. grated Key Lime rind
1 & 1/2 cups whipping cream

Instructions for the crust:
Preheat over to350°F.  Combine all of the above ingredients and press into the bottom and  the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake in oven for approximately 8-10 minutes being careful not to burn.

Instructions for the filling:
Mix egg yolks, sugar and lime juice in top of double boiler. Cook over simmering water until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in grated rind. Refrigerate until mixture thickens, but do not let it become stiff.

Beat cream to soft peaks. Fold into lime filling. Spoon into baked crust and refrigerate, covered, for 24 hours. Serve with fresh whipped cream on top.

Key Lime Pie with a Flour Crust (taken from fine cooking.com)

Ingredients for the crust:
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. table salt
3 oz. (6 tbsp.) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsp. chilled vegetable shortening, cubed
2-1/2 to 3 tbs. ice water

Ingredients for the filling:
2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
1 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4 regular limes)
2 tbsp. finely grated lime zest (from about 2 regular limes)

Ingredients for the garnish:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 lime, zested into thin strips

Instructions:
Put the flour and salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add the butter cubes and pulse until they’re the size of extra-large peas (about 10 quick pulses). Add the shortening and continue pulsing until the largest pieces of butter and shortening are the size of peas (10 to 15 more quick pulses). Sprinkle 2-1/2 tbps. of the water over the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the mixture just begins to come together. It should look rather crumbly, but if you press some between your fingers, it should hold together. (If it doesn’t, sprinkle on another 1/2 tbps. water and pulse a few more times.) Dump the crumbly mix onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a round that’s 1/8 inch thick and 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Drape the dough around the rolling pin and ease it into a 9-inch pie pan. With kitchen shears, trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold the overhang under and crimp it to build up an edge. Prick the crust with a fork in several places. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position an oven rack on the middle rung and heat the oven to 350°F.

Grease one side of a sheet of foil with cooking spray, oil, or butter. Line the pie pan with the foil, greased side down, and fill it with pie weights or beans. Bake until the edges of the crust look dry and start to turn golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights; continue baking until the entire crust is deeply golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

Instructions for the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and grated zest. Pour into the cooled pie crust and bake at 350°F until just set, about 30 minutes. The center may still be a bit jiggly. (Use an instant-read thermometer to double-check the doneness; the center of the pie should be at least 140°F.) Let the pie cool thoroughly on a rack and then cover with plastic and refrigerate to chill completely, at least 3 hours but no longer than a day.

Just before serving, whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream on top of the pie, garnish with the strips of lime zest strips, and serve.