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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Civilised Adventurer

It was undeniable that my sedentary lifestyle lacked challenge and adventure. I began to yearn for the exhilaration of a modern-day quest – an expedition to set me apart from the legions of fellow couch-potatoes, vicariously participating in breathtaking endeavours from the safe side of their TV screens.

My aspirations were thwarted at every turn, however, by a disinclination to undertake any major effort or experience significant inconvenience or discomfort in pursuit of my heroic goals.

Then a TV documentary directed my attention to the quintessentially British pursuit of seafaring.

On 28 May 1967, Sir Francis Chichester had become the first person to sail single-handed around the world.
On the 22nd April 1969, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston had become the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world.
On 7th February 2005, Dame Ellen MacArthur, had broken the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the world.
On 16 February 2009, Dee Caffrey had entered the record books as the first woman to sail solo around the world in both directions
On 28th August 2009, Mike Perham had become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

I noted from the documentary that developments in technology, particularly in relation to practicalities of sailing and navigation, had made the feats much less complex for the latter sailors.

I resolved to be the first idle, overweight, unfit, alcoholic Brit, who possessed neither a knowledge of boats nor an interest in sailing, to navigate single-handed across the Atlantic.

I had my butler commission a state of the art craft. It was a magnificent boat by any standards and included a number of unique features to my specifications. The sailing and navigation of the vessel were fully computer controlled, requiring no input from the sailor other than the pressing of a large and conspicuous red button at the beginning of the voyage, marked ‘Start Atlantic Crossing’.

The passenger compartment was also managed by a computer which adjusted hydraulic rams such that no motion could be detected by the occupant regardless of the severity of wind and sea.

Finally this compartment was sumptuously appointed, including supplies of the finest food, ready prepared for microwaving, and a selection of wine which would have done credit to the finest cellar. Onboard entertainment naturally included the Internet, myriad films, television channels and computer games.

The pedantic requirement to be unaccompanied on solo voyages initially posed a dilemma as it precluded the presence of attractive, available women. Technology again came to the rescue with state-of-the art, virtual reality pornography.

So it was that my butler drove me to the quay, I boarded my vessel, poured a glass of wine, donned the virtual reality suit and headset, and began my adventure.

It was five days into the expedition when my butler returned to point out that I had forgotten to press the start button. He undertook this task prior to his departure, and I set sail for the New World.

I had assumed that the sporting community would view my approach as tantamount to cheating. The psychopathology of all sportspeople and adventurers contains a significant element of masochism. I was, therefore, unsurprised at a deserted New York quayside. I was overwhelmed, however, by thousands of texts and emails from the international idle, overweight, unfit, alcoholic couch-potato community. At last there was a modern-day adventurer to whom they could relate. They had remained at home, but by closely following my webpage, had genuinely experienced the reality of my voyage – often emulating my precise activities.

Offers of commercial sponsorship and TV contacts followed for future expeditions.

My boat, The Civilised Adventurer, is now being adapted for a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. This entails adjustments to the computer software and hugely greater wine storage plus, of course, the addition of a tiresome new red button for my butler to press, labelled ‘Start Global Circumnavigation.’