Sailing in the Same Boat

“Why do Africans not swim?” I ask Ayo. “The Middle Passage,” he answers. “For you white people, the water is a playground, for us, it is the point of no return.”In a fusion of cruising and performing, two men – one black, one white – are preparing to retrace the Atlantic Slave Triangle on their expedition, “Deep Water/High Seas.” Martin Hubbard and Ayodale Scott will anchor in the
Author:
Publish date:
instory_sb_2

“Why do Africans not swim?” I ask Ayo. “The Middle Passage,” he answers. “For you white people, the water is a playground, for us, it is the point of no return.”

In a fusion of cruising and performing, two men – one black, one white – are preparing to retrace the Atlantic Slave Triangle on their expedition, “Deep Water/High Seas.” Martin Hubbard and Ayodale Scott will anchor in the UK, West Africa and the Caribbean, visiting the same ports their ancestors sailed through two centuries ago. From their 37-foot trimaran, Sameboat, they will perform “Black Men Don’t Float?,” a 45-minute piece meant to transform a tragic historical reality into a cross-cultural understanding – one that addresses their roots while confronting the racial issues of today.

The show, written by Martin and Ayo, tells of a white yachtsman single-handing around Africa for charity who collides with an African migrant in a canoe. They end up on the same boat and are forced to coexist amidst their differences. The audience – many of whose ancestry also relates to the Middle Passage – watches from the side decks and harbor walls.

instory_sb_4

In a sense, the play mirrors the story of the men aboard. Martin hails from an upper-class anglo-catholic family from Britain. Ayo grew up in a Sierra Leone compound where four extended families shared a living space the size of Martin’s drawing room. Yet, through art and sailing, they found a way to be in the same boat together. “At its most basic, the trip should provide an honest record of a white man and a black man facing up to their cultural and personal differences and heritages,” explains Martin.

Martin and Ayo have already discovered the challenges of funding their trip. “We have no shortage of inventiveness and commitment,” says Martin. “Our obstacles have been mostly financial and organizational.” Because the Atlantic is considered International waters, national arts alliances are unable to fund their journey, so the men are hoping to eventually pay it off through revenue from their website, books and lectures. Meanwhile, they are solidifying their crew and tour dates for a trip they hope will begin in autumn 2009.

“Lie back and float,” I say. “Black men don’t float,” he answers. “Yes they do. It’s a myth. Black and white people, they both float.”

To view videos of Martin and Ayo, check out the following:

A glimpse of life aboard Sameboat

A preview of their show, Black Men Don't Float?

Martin and Ayo perform portions of another show, Mami Wata

Related

IslandPacket349

Boat Review: Island Packet 349

After years of quiescence in the wake of the Great Recession, iconic Island Packet is back with its new 349, a re-boot of the old Estero that not only looks great, but takes the Island Packet style of sailing performance to a new level. Design & Construction First among the many ...read more

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more