The name, the mission and the crew.

It has been a while since I talked about how I named my boat and why. I now have a clearer understanding of the significance of the name, it came with a destiny. Often I am asked about the name, if the inquirer is American and of an age to remember the 60’s or young enough to study the 60’s I give detail. For other queries I just say it is a name of a famous bus.

Furthur was the name of the bus that hippy icon Ken Kesey bought in 1964. The bus was driven by the muse to all the great artists of the era, Neal Cassidy. Hence I call my auto pilot Neal. The Merry Pranksters along with Ken took the bus across the country in a psychedelic jaunt that set the stage for many adventures for many years, mine is one of them.

Here is more information, one correction is that the name was first painted as Furthur then changed, hence the recognition of the miss spelling. Zane Kesey once said it was the most talked about wrong spelling of our time.

With a lifelong affection for all things beatnik and hippy I read “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” by Tom Wolf as a youngster, along with “On the Road” and “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac. I longed for adventure and traveling with a close knit group of people not bound by the accepted norms. My first vehicle was a panel truck which we painted up a bit and traveled the local area in as a group of “long hairs”.

The freedom and dreams of my youth soon passed into the adult world of business. I did keep my need for independence and uniqueness, always a bit quirky as my Mom would say. I was usually self employed and I lived aboard boats most of my life.

The dream of world cruising was planted early and I cultivated friends in the cruising world as fast as I could. I knew someday I would cast off the lines for good. I also knew I would have “the boat” to do it in and I knew what that boat should be named, Furthur. I kept that name in my head for many years.

So when my Selene 48 was delivered and I knew she could go further than any boat I had owned, the name was a natural.

This name required special graphics, no normal font would do. So I went into the graphics company next door, Prism Graphics, threw open the door and said, “are there any old hippies working here?” a young lad popped up and said, “I am a young hippy” to which I put the question, “what does the name Furthur mean to you?” a fast response of “Ken Kesey’s bus” and I knew I had my man.

The bus and Kesey had strong ties to The Grateful Dead, a band I have been a loyal fan of for decades. So the graphics had to include Deadhead hints. The Bears are a symbol originated by sound engineer and chemist extraordinaire, Owsley. The hand print with the finger missing is the right hand of Jerry Garcia. The steal your face emblem in the O of Harbor is another dead label originally used to ID equipment at festivals.

Furthur is living up her name, we have gone further than most boats ever will, and we are going further yet. When things get rough and things break we always keep going further.

The real legacy is in the crew. Having an evolving group of fantastic young people join me was not originally part of the plan, at least not a part I was aware of. You see I know there is a plan and a planner and that I am on a need to know basis and that is OK with me. So it is clearly part of this adventure to share it with many and to have them share with me. The spirit that led the original Furthur and its intrepid travelers lives on.

So now I am about to say farewell to two of the best crew I have had, a sad farewell it will be indeed. Marina joined first about two months ago. My third German crew and a tribute to her kind, Marina is precise, inquisitive and committed to excellence. Marina quickly learned all the working aspects of the boat, dinghy launching, anchoring, watches and all the rest. She demanded to thoroughly understand each procedure not just accepting but understanding.

Well educated and very intelligent she has strong convictions and an inquiring mind. We had many an intricate discussion on complicated issues, always keeping respect and love even when we strongly disagreed.

It did not take long for Marina to thoroughly reorganize the galley and keep good records. All this with the real bonus, she is an excellent cook. We all love food; each culture has its identifying foods and a passion for them. No one loves food like the Germans! I watched the utter joy as my German friends talk about Schnitzel and sausage and sauerkraut. Marina is no different. I was the beneficiary of her love of food for two months.

If there is one thing Marina loves more than food it is diving. She soon became a great dive partner, always eager to “get wet”.

Then came Amy. Amy had all options it takes to become a real spoiled brat, a true prima donna, a Canadian Paris Hilton. She chose not to be. Born of privilege, a loving, supporting and huge family and stunning beauty it would have been so easy for her to take the easy path. She chose not to.

Amy is bold in a way rarely seen, bold with charm and poise, bold with grace. After graduating from uni she saved money earned as a waitress and is seeing the world. Like so many backpackers she lives from her small pack and a smaller purse. Hostels and camping out over Hiltons and caravans is the way they live. Like all backpackers her wardrobe is in her pack, unlike most she has an uncanny way of looking fantastic and ever changing, all from things carried in a small pack. I will so miss her constant changes and eloquent attire made from near rags as she bounced about the boat like it was a Cosmo shoot.

Her dedication to fitness was unparalleled in Furthur history. I would arise early only to find her standing on her head in a yoga position on the pilot house top or doing those goofy squats. I enjoyed many a long run with her, Ok I started with her but never could not keep up but she always waited doing those goofy squats again, the grace part in action.

Amy took to life on Furthur instantly; she too learned the ropes fast and enjoyed doing so. There was nothing she did not want to learn; OK we are still working on the bowline knot, hahaha. In no time I knew I had a good reliable crew and could relax. This was about the time we set out on a 1500 mile trip to Borneo. It is easy to love the cruising life in Thailand, all party, short hops and easy going. Crossing four countries is another story. Both Amy and Marina loved it, loved the night watches the long days and the unknown.

So, yes, a sad farewell is coming in a few days, I will miss both of them terribly. Both know they are welcome back anytime and I hope they will return. Both are headed to great adventures and wonderful times. It will be a sad day when I lower the Canadian and German flags from the crew halyard. But not to worry, the “planner” has it covered and I hear Iranian, Aussie and Spanish flags are in the wind.