Summary: How to move from stagnation to stimulation. A look at the man who had stagnated at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years.
Don’t Let Your Life Stagnate
Charles Swindoll shares this story in an issue of Leadership magazine: In 1965 the Viet Nam War began to stagnate and bog down. Another story caught the attention of the world “On June 1, 1965, a thirteen-and-a half-foot boat (only a few feet longer than a surfboard) quietly slipped out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts for Falmouth, England. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage. Its name? Tinkerbelle. It’s pilot? Robert Manry 47, a copy editor for the Cleveland’s "The Plain Dealer" Ohio’s largest daily newspaper, who felt ten years at the desk was enough boredom for a while, so he took a leave of absence to fulfill his secret dream which he had held for 30 years,
“Manry was afraid, not of the ocean, but of all those people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So he didn’t share it with many, just some relatives and especially his wife, Virginia. She was his greatest source of support.
“The trip? Anything but pleasant. He spent sleepless nights trying to cross shipping lanes without getting run down and sunk. Manry on his second night is becalmed, dead in the water, in a dense fog, in the middle of busy Atlantic shipping lanes. He sits, terrified, as potentially deadly cargo ships pass on either side. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless.
Manry has good days and bad. He battles storms and enjoys the sun. Tinkerbelle has sat for hours at a time, "becalmed." On his best day, he sails 87 miles
By the time he is three-quarters across the ocean he has been swept overboard six times, saved only by a lifeline. He almost collides with a sleeping shark, he breaks two rudders and, during the first storm, he loses radar equipment. For a short time on the last leg of the journey, he is reported lost.
He left U.S. shores with no fanfare. He expects nothing more when he arrives. He has $700 to transport himself and his boat back to the States.
Manry is 40 pounds underweight but in good spirits. His calculations were impressively accurate. He arrives seventy-eight days in Falmouth, England two days after his August 15 prediction and with plenty of food and water to spare.
“During those nights at the tiller, he had fantasized about what he would do once he arrived. He expected simply to check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then the next morning see if, perhaps, the Associated Press might be interested in his story. Was he in for a surprise!
“Word of his approach had spread far and wide. To his amazement, thee hundred vessels, with horns blasting, escorted Tinkerbelle into port. Fifty thousand people stood screaming and cheering him to shore. Robert Manry, copy editor turned dream, became an overnight hero.
“His story has been told around the world. But Robert couldn’t have done it alone. Standing on the dock was an even greater hero: Virginia. Refusing to be rigid when Robert’s dream was taking shape, she allowed him freedom to pursue his dream”
Robert Manry died of a heart attack in 1971 at the age of 52.