Pull up a stool at a tiki bar and listen to Frank Papy spin a few yarns about his life and times in and around boats. If you can’t catch up with Frank in the Florida Keys, his latest book, Sailing: Impressions, Ideas, Deeds will be a close substitute. When you’ve finished the book you’ll feel like you know Frank Papy, author of Cruising Guide to the Florida Keys, charter skipper, delivery captain, longtime member of the Conch Republic (the Keys), and no doubt a skilled sailor.
In his book, Frank demonstrates his cheerful approach toward life, shares some philosophical musings, and adds a very useful tip or two. Like any conversation in a tiki bar, these are random events. But no matter. Frank didn’t set out to light up the sailing world with a new book. “Sporadic tales of sailing” is how he describes the book.
And so they are. One of his musings follows after he’s taken in the excesses of the Miami Boat Show. “We have come a long way in the 100 years since Joshua Slocum sailed around the world by himself in a 38-foot wooden boat with only a compass, paper charts, sextant, an old clock in one hand, and no engine. I wonder what he would say if he came back now and saw all this modern stuff, carbon-fiber masts, cellophane sails, glass hulls, winged keels, and especially electronic devices which tell us constantly where we are, not by the stars he used, but by our own stars we put up there ourselves. Electricity runs all of this, using stored energy from the sun. Autopilots are interfaced with GPS to tell us where to go. The autopilots are also connected to radar and depth indicators so we don’t even have to stop along the way . . . except to pick up some more rum.”
What tips might you take away from a book such as this? Applying RainX to goggles will help you see through those stinging wind-driven raindrops when you’ve got to be out in a storm. And if you don’t like the hood in your foul weather gear because when you turn your head the hood remains stationary and blocks your view, why not stitch clear panels in the sides of the hood?
An undercurrent throughout the book is the notion that you might as well experience and enjoy life as it is – appreciate the good that comes your way, and don’t let the rest of it trouble you. Living life to the fullest is all in the attitude, and Frank Papy’s got the right attitude. You can’t help but like a guy like this, so pull up a stool the next time Frank’s doing the talking at a tiki bar near you.