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  • Brady Stroh

The Essence of Sailing

An excerpt from "Afloat" by Guy de Maupassant written in 1889



Afloat is a must read for all who love the solitude, freedom, challenges, terrors, tranquility, and contemplative nature of sailing a boat. Afloat is a sailing log... but a sailing log laced with the social, political, and personal commentaries of its keenly observant author.


"All is still, the soft and warm calm of a morning's springtide in the south; and already it seems to me as if I had left weeks ago, months ago, years ago, the talking, busy world; I feel arise within me the intoxication of solitude, the sweet delights of a rest that nothing will disturb, neither the white letter, nor the blue telegram, nor the bell at my door, nor the bark of my dog. I cannot be sent for, invited, carried off, overwhelmed by sweet smiles, or harassed by civilities. I am alone, really alone, really free. The smoke of the train runs along the seaside; while I float in a winged home that is rocked and cradled; pretty as a bird, tiny as a nest, softer than a hammock, wandering over the waters at the caprice of the wind, independent and free!"


The full text of Afloat is available through the Open Library.

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