This summer William Woodward shifted gears and decided to take to the waters for some reflection, introspection and distance from the life he was accustomed to. Now that he is back, we sat down with him to get the scoop on how his endeavor changed, challenged and impacted him.
What was the influencing factors that led you to take to sea?
The main factors leading up to this trip were a) wanting to take on the type of trip that is both difficult and long term as well as b) covid. Covid had affected both Captain Eric and my work, and while the world was isolating, the best way we found to isolate was on a small boat at sea.
Did you have a daily routine/ what did a day in the life of a sailor look like for you?
For sure, we definitely settled into a normal schedule out there, it’s actually one of the best parts of the trip. There were standard boat watches, we had coffee at sunrise, and lots of time for reading.
Most Challenging moments?
About half way across we both became really fed up with the type of motion that our boat was taking on. Since we were sailing directly downwind for a majority of the offshore portion, we were sailing a technique called “wing in wing”. This was great for our speed, but not great for boat stability. We’d find ourselves rocking side to side, making LOADS of noise, and making any semblance of restful sleep all but nonexistent.
Most Laughable moments?
I think we laughed more in conversation about the wild dreams that we had. We definitely operated on some strange level of sleep deprivation, which I think led to a huge increase in vivid dreaming.
Something you learned about yourself and something you learned about your captain that you didn’t know prior to leaving?
What I learned about Captain Eric: He is so detail-oriented. I see so much engineer in the way he processes problems and solves any problems that we faced. I noticed that in myself I am wildly optimistic.
Let’s talk food…walk us through your favorite meal and worst meal?
Favorite meal: We caught fish along the way, and the Mahi Mahi sashimi that I prepared with coconut rice was out of this world.
The worst meal: actually wasn’t a meal. While we were offshore we washed our French Press and coffee mugs with salt water and unbeknownst to us that RUINED our coffee. Oh, and we also had this odd dehydrated soup that did not play well with our digestive systems!
What was the first thing you did when you got to land?
What was the hardest thing for you to give up in order to set sail?
By the time I got back to the mainland, I definitely missed Ruby (my van) and my friends. This journey was such a different thing than what I normally do that I didn’t have time to focus on what I wouldn’t have along the way.
Interview with Ambassador William Woodward
All Photography by William Woodward
Follow along his adventures at @wheretowillie