When Brandon Cristiano was a little boy, his mom told him that if he really tried, there was nothing he couldn't do. Apparently, he believed her because now he and two other mariners have embarked on a sailboat adventure they hope will take them around the globe.
"What did I do wrong?" Brandon's mom, Jackie, who is now my wife, asked me yesterday as we were driving home from Amelia Island, FL, where the Emerald of Pleiades, a 50-ft. Flying Dutchman-12 blue water cruiser, is being repaired following a lightening strike that knocked out its electrical systems.
"You told him he could do whatever he wanted -- if he just put his mind to it," I told her as her eyes welled with tears. "He believed you."
"I told all three of my kids that," she said, "and while the other two are extremely successful and I'm proud of them, they aren't giving me gray hair like this one."
While we were with Brandon over the past few days, he took great care to demonstrate the sturdiness of the boat and the features that make it worthy of such a voyage. Perhaps he was trying to assure his mom that there is no need for worry.
Brandon is no novice sailor; he's a certified sailing instructor and understands everything there is to know about the sailing vessel that he will navigate. He also is in tremendous physical condition and prepared for what he knows will be an extremely demanding journey.
The owner of the boat, Kyle James Davis, was Brandon's sailing student in Thailand. He asked Brandon if he bought the boat would he "help" sail it. Brandon said, "of course." And then after he bought it, Kyle asked Brandon how far he wanted to go. Brandon said he has always wanted to circumnavigate the globe.
So that's what they are doing. Simple as that.
Meanwhile, his mom -- while proud of her son and his adventurous spirit-- can't help but worry.
"Why couldn't he just take a little sail up and down the coast, stop in and see us, and just have a good time?" she asked. "Why does he have to sail around the entire world? Who knows what could happen?"
But that wouldn't be Brandon. He is not one to simply take a nice quiet sail along the coast or in the Chesapeake Bay, which is near where he grew up in Maryland. Not only is he a sailor, he's a world class chef and author of a book about baking bread (available here).
That book, which I edited, is filled with stories and anecdotes, such as how he learned to cook as he stood on a little red stool and watched his mom.
And did he simply work at restaurants or fancy resorts in the U.S.?
Yea, he did that.
But then he took off for China where he managed a pasta factory and ended up cooking for the Beijing Olympics, among other things. He's worked as a private chef on yachts in Thailand. He's a marshal arts maniac. He's one hell of a drummer. He writes. The guy never quits and he has no fear. You can learn more about him here.
But now, Brandon, along with his former student Davis, and a 22-year-old ship's mechanic, Jacob Allen, are about to embark on this globe-circling adventure. They're prepared and ready for whatever challenges -- or dangers -- might confront them.
For his mom, that's not much solace.
"I should have just tied him to a chair," Jackie said.
"Yea, that would have worked," I replied.
For more details about this planned journey, please check out yesterday's blog here.