Manry At Sea

By Cathy • April 18th, 2018

The above newscast shows one recount of the final moments of the Tinkerbelle voyage.  They are saying that their were 12,000 people greeting Manry.  The film (or the Q&A after) said that there were 50,000 greeters because there were people gathered in other nearby towns, hoping to catch a glimpse of the event if he went off course.  Who knows which is an accurate number. I suspect they had fake news back then too.  There were a lot of people from what I saw in the film.  Keep in mind that no one really knew for sure where he’d hit land.  Nor did they know exactly when he’d hit land.  So I found it amazing that so many people were gathered around.  Also, the feature film showed different angles of this moment so that you could see boats all up and down the coast; there were so many boats.  It was pretty beautiful.

“The Manry story was so different, and so beautiful, because it was an adventure story, and a happy story, with no villains.”
– Bill Jorgensen

When I go to a film festival, I’m looking for that diamond. Someone surely has to present what I call an initiation story. That’s a story where the main character follows inspiration, and a true desire, even though it seems ridiculous. Their desire goes against logic and reason. But they just have to pursue it. It’s burning inside of them. Challenges come their way, but the person of interest would never dream of quitting.

The story moves forward and concludes with a beautiful full circle ending. Of course, we, as viewers, don’t know how it will end, so our own fears arise. It shows us where we still have doubt about our own happily ever after. Such stories help us to let go.  I felt emotion when Robert hit some really big waves during a storm.  He did mention that he was knocked out of the boat six times during that storm.  But he didn’t seem to be emotional about it.  Maybe that is why I felt the emotion.  He may have been suppressing his feelings…had had to behave like a man.

Such a film is rare; and the way this documentary was edited and narrated was absolutely incredible. The director said he worked on it on and off for over twenty years. The film was an initiation for him too. I won’t forget it for a very long time.

Bob Manry was an ordinary guy, a copy editor for a big newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio, with a big desire. When he announced to his wife and mother that he was going to sail across the Atlantic ocean in a tiny boat, 13.5 foot sailboat, they said, “Great. We support you.” They knew it was a true desire. When Manry was late arriving in England, his wife was completely calm. “He knows what he’s doing” she said. A true desire is win-win. No one loses, and his voyage became an amazing adventure for his wife and children too.

One night a huge storm hit, Bob Manry took out his camcorder and filmed for awhile. He shared that he was tired because it lasted a long time, and he explained what he did to keep the boat stable. Mostly he just enjoyed his journey. He was prepared; nothing stopped him, or caused him to want to turn back. There was no serious drama in this documentary…just a series of beautiful moments. There was a little repair work to be done along the way. Like I said above, he fell off the boat six times. He got back on quickly. He said he likes being on the water, not in it. Me too! He NEVER pulled out the victim card. He just did what he needed to do, and he got back to his voyage.

I want to point out that his parents were missionaries. But he had no interest in religion of any sort. Church for him was on that tiny boat. That was evident.  When he was at sea, he felt that he had found the most quiet place on earth.  He didn’t say it was spiritual or mention any Godly connection.  But the love of that deep quiet hinted at how he felt.  It’s true for most solitary people. Our truth, or inspiration, isn’t as clear for us in groups.

While on the ocean, cruise ships, military vessels including a submarine, and even pleasure boats stopped to see if he was okay. Planes flew above him, and one dropped him a bag of goodies. The boat captains often gave him food or drink, so he sailed into port with a month’s worth of food remaining. Everyone likes to support a true desire; they sense it. I’ve always loved when ship captains give the three-horn wave or salute; that happened several times in the film.

The media outlets fought over Manry’s story, and so one network flew his wife and kids to meet him. They got a wonderful free vacation. The story was on every network; Bob Manry sailed into England surrounded by local sailors and fisherman. The footage was beautiful. Boats as far as you could see. I’ve come to associate England with their sailors…Dunkirk, Pirate Radio (IMO one of the best films ever), and now Manry at Sea. It’s what they do well! They know how to give a great sea greeting. All the boats went out to greet Manry, and they sailed back in with him. That’s a warm welcome. On shore, 50,000 people were waiving him in and taking photos.  I suspect some were gathered in pubs, watching it on the news.  It was a great occasion.

We live in a time when so many lost people think it’s all about what you say. Be politically correct. Say what is proper and good. Authenticity is rare these days. Those sailors and fishermen that gathered to greet him said nothing to Manry. They just sailed with him for awhile. It was all in what they did. The love was overwhelming.

I didn’t know about this story; it happened in 1965. So the story was fresh for me. I didn’t know how it ended. But I realized it would end well when I saw him take off. He wasn’t excited. He just loved the ocean. He saw it as beautiful and interesting. He had no enemy. How could anything go wrong?

The only sad part of the film was in the notes after. He wrote a book about his voyage, and he bought a bigger boat. He sailed for a few years with his wife and children. That was a very joyous time. Then his wife was killed in a one-vehicle car crash a few years later. They said he quit sailing. He remarried, but then he died of a heart attack a few months later. He was only 52. It didn’t feel tragic. He obviously did what he wanted to do. But I wondered if he had another idea that took him to another place in time. In that way, his death would be a continuation of his life. That makes sense.

The life he and his wife had together was rare. Total trust, total support, and freedom to do what they loved. You don’t find that in Hollywood movies very often. They are all about drama, win-lose, and battling the opposition.

The stories of the Old Testament and Hollywood have sold us a big lie, that you don’t have a great story unless you suffer and strain. They push the good-evil, right-wrong, and win-lose story. There has to be tragedy or an enemy, or the story is worthless. If something comes easy, it’s not a story by Hollywood’s standards. I say bullshit to that. When we are truly inspired, and we trust that inspiration, it’s all just a great adventure. The ending is assured. That’s the message of Robert Manry. He lived a story worth telling.

It’s important to note that Bob Manry didn’t wait until he could afford a yacht to fulfill his dream. That made it so much better. It showed us who he was…a guy who lived within his means, but his means didn’t stop him from totally living. The filmmaker clearly loved Bob Manry, and that allowed us to love him too. I’ll take a Robert Manry over a Tony Robbins or a Wayne Dyer any day. He’s not trying to be our inspiration or motivation. His trust in his own inspiration gives us the right to do it too.  That’s a huge gift to others.

As I’ve often said before, an initiation story gives, and it frees everyone it touches a little. The director and editor were at the screening; they were a testimony to the fact that Bob Manry, the shy copy editor from Cleveland, is still giving to us. I hope this film gets distribution. I put in my vote. I want everyone to see it, and I want to see it again!

PS: His boat was named Tinkerbelle, like the Peter Pan character with an added “e” to make her feminine. But this wasn’t a Peter Pan Syndrome journey. He was making his little boat his feminine. He was honoring their partnership. He listened to her every inch of the way. If you are ever in Cleveland. The boat is in a museum there.

If interested, you can read more here: http://www.robertmanryproject.com/the-man/

It is interesting what he says about the people who are divided at the triangle bottom.  Both are false.  We often look at the supportive ones as right or good, but the others are the opposite.  That is what occurs at the triangle bottom.  Most people live at the triangle bottom, and they will see you through their eyes.  But that doesn’t mean that what they see is true.  To do something like Manry, you have to get to the top.  You have to see it your way; then you don’t let them fuel you or negate you.

Here’s more of the details on his trip.  It is interesting because he had accumulated a lot of first-cause knowledge and some that was second-cause.  But it was clear in the film that the dream was the driving force; the knowledge was secondary.  That is key to why he was successful.  I love that he took candy with him, and the fact that he had hot food to eat.  The fact that he was able to send mail by meeting up with a big ship was so cool.  I was amazed that he even thought to write letters.  You really did see the camaraderie at sea.  It was sweet; I agree that we could use more of that on shore.

 

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