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John Lennon...The Old Man of the Sea
155 Posts
6 May 2010 - 1.42am

I recently finished reading John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman. 

There is a really fascinating story that I'd never heard about John in it.  Like a lot of us, he turned 40 and began to feel the need to do something adventurous.  So he bought a small sailboat and took lessons and tooled around Long Island with Sean. If you've ever sailed (I've done just a bit), you understand the appeal of guiding a vessel under wind power from a specific point to another specific point.  Unlike power-boating, you have to think the trip through.

Anyway, having learned the basics, John took a bigger step.  He hired a 43-footer to sail on from New York to Bermuda.  His crew was "Cap'n Hank" and two others.

Cap'n Hank was a character.  He had lived a counter-culture life in the 60's, so he and John bonded.  He of course new all about the Beatles and Lennon, but surprisingly didn't recognize John when they first met. 

The forecast was good weather and smooth sailing.  However, out in the middle of the Atlantic, things got nasty.  A gale-force storm blew up, with 20-foot waves tossing the boat about.  This was seriously dangerous for a boat that size.  The two mates got violently seasick and worthless.  Only Hank and John were unaffected (John explained that while quitting heroin "cold turkey", you learned how to subdue nausea).  Hank directed the boat for over 48 hours through the storm before he told John he had to take over...Hank was too exhausted to continue.  John was terrified at the prospect and told Hank that he only had these "little guitar-playing muscles."  But he accepted the duty.  Hank showed him how to handle the boat in the crashing waves and whipping wind and then left John to take over.

After a little while, John was master of the sea, shouting at the storm, daring it, cursing it, and having the time of his life.  And he actually piloted them through to safety.

The seasoned seamen were duly impressed, and Lennon himself was astounded and excited.  When he got to Bermuda, he was full of life and actively started writing songs again.  The result was his first album in years "Double Fantasy." 

Shortly thereafter, he was murdered.  The loss is even more acute when you see he was finally at peace with himself and excited to be alive again.

The following people thank Celebrated_Mr_K for this post:

Sitarday's room
4618 Posts
6 May 2010 - 4.04am

Celebrated_Mr_K said:

I recently finished reading John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman. 

Shortly thereafter, he was murdered.  The loss is even more acute when you see he was finally at peace with himself and excited to be alive again.


Wow that's interesting!! That's a book I'd like to read about the Beatles thanks for sharing!!


Edit : I mean about one of the Beatles…

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie……

Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower…

Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go.

Beware of Darkness… 

2252 Posts
6 May 2010 - 11.47am

Ok, reading just the title, I thought it was about John not really being dead, and living up north some where as a hermit. I'm glad it's not!

I first heard this story on Behind the Music. It made me very happy. Go Johnny, go!

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!

478 Posts
6 May 2010 - 7.26pm

Yeah, that episode is simply glorious. To add some flavor, Hank not only didn't recognize John, but didn't care a dog's shit he was an ex-beatle. John had to build his position in the boat from zero.

The following people thank Marcelo for this post:


I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.
John Lennon

5 Posts
14 August 2013 - 10.03am

Really interesting topic,

thanks for sharing.. :)

The Beatles Summed in 10 Seconds -> http://y2u.be/oTlxatsUdpI

243 Posts
14 August 2013 - 5.18pm

Fred Seaman tells the same story in his book. John was especially moved by the experience because it made him feel very connected to his dad, Alf, who worked as a stweard on ships, making him a "man of the sea."

The following people thank mccartneyalarm for this post:


"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

7065 Posts
5 December 2014 - 1.39am

Royal Gazette article on the couple who now own the sloop.


Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

1474 Posts
5 December 2014 - 5.58am

Amazing story, thanks for bringing this thread back to life.

The following people thank Oudis for this post:


Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

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