Making Waves: A Set With Guy deBoer


From radio waves to ocean waves, avid sailor and broadcaster Guy deBoer is no stranger to either one. He takes in the world with eyes that are the light blue of ocean water over sandbars. At 6’5” tall, Guy approaches with all the similarities of a tall masted sloop moving over well spaced rollers; there is a quiet purpose to the way he moves. As a long time resident of Key West, originally hailing from New Orleans, Guy’s development has been nourished with the colorful, high level vibrancy and culture these locations have to offer. Growing up in “oxygen rich” environments seems to give birth to more artists, musicians, poets, painters, and explorers per capita than any other. Whether that magic is in the air or in the water (I suspect it’s concealed in the space in between both) isn’t exactly clear, but one thing is certain, it’s the perfect mix to manifest reality from dreams.

With a Dutchman for a father and parents whose relationship began on an ocean vessel, Guy was predestined to a relationship with the sea. He describes the conception of his sailing career with, “My father was raised sailing, and my family joined the New Orleans Yacht Club and the Junior Program and that’s where it all began.” As number four of six children there was no lack of sailing partners and team building skills growing congruently with his love of sailing. Couple this with some of the sailing firsts of that era, like solo circumnavigation and the Golden Globe Race, and you have all the proper ingredients for the recipe of a dream in the making. With the premonition of a pioneer, Guy recalls, “I was in junior high when the first Golden Globe race went on, I learned about it and was totally fascinated by it. These were the first times anybody ever did these things and I dreamed about doing these things. Our home was full of books that my father had, naval architect and engineering types and he was always designing models and building small boats and that’s what I thought I wanted to do”.  A seed was planted.

When I asked Guy who some of his inspiring influences were, he said that Buddy Melges and Bernard Moitessier were notable, amongst many others. This should come as no surprise: both of these individuals represent the bookends of the sailing paradigm, one far right and one far left. Buddy Melges, one of sailings most well known racers, represents the structure of Guy. Melges, raised in a boat building family backed with financial influence and aid, used his base and birthright to catapult his capabilities into the sailing world with prosperous achievements including multiple Olympic medals, national and world titles, as well as inductions into the Americas Cup Hall of Fame and the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Melges, known as the “Wizard of Zenda” is one of the greatest champions the sport of sailing has ever seen, a notable structure from which to model an outstanding goal. 

If Melges is the right handed structure side of Guy then Moitessier would certainly be the left handed life force of that structure. Bernard Moitessier, a French born national raised in Vietnam, was known as the “Vagabond of the South Seas” and had a reputation for being a non-conformist, aka Pirate. Moitessier, with the fastest time towards the end of the inaugural Golden Globe Race and predicted winner, bailed on the race and set course for Tahiti deciding to reject the “commercialization of long distance sailing”. The humble nature in which Moitessier decided to pass on instant fame and world recognition can be found in his manner of resignation where he used a slingshot to launch his message onto the deck of a passing ship, his reason noted “because I am happy at sea and perhaps to save my soul”.

Guy deBoer is the embodiment of both of these mentalities with a well rounded nature that lends itself to the description part Naval Officer part Pirate, using both the left and right hands to place a firm grip on the balance of his essence. Listening to his experiences throughout our interview, a line from Jimmy Buffetts “Son of a Sailor” kept coming to mind, “Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks and learned much from both of their styles”. The sharp discipline of the early morning routines with which Guy conducts his life is balanced with his desire to willingly participate in what is arguably the most arduous and dangerous of all modern day sporting events, the GGR.  These opposing threads provide strength and structure, making it easy to see where his inspiring influences have carved their path of purpose in his actions, range, and projections.

Guy is one of twenty three captains represented by 12 countries participating in the Golden Globe Race. Making its debut in 1968, the GGR is formidable in its outline alone. It’s a solo, non-stop, 30,0000 mile race around the world that rounds all 3 major southern capes, uses only sextant and paper chart navigation, and takes place on boats between 32’-36’ that have to predate 1988. Alone at sea for around 200+ days is an accomplishment in itself. In addition, the race falls into a new genre in the world of competitive sailing called ‘Retro Sailing’ stipulating no boating materials pre-dating 1968 are to be used during the race. This means no electronic chart plotters, GPS, auto pilot, water makers, cell phones, digital cameras, basically any standard issue modern day sailing implements. Guy says, “With the rebirth of the GGR in 2018 I learned about it again and now that I’m at this age, I’m not a young man anymore, I’ll be 66 when the race starts, it’s a great thing to have it be the beginning and the end of my sailing career. It’s all a bucket list thing and I’m going to pursue that.”

According to Rumi “What you seek is seeking you”. It’s an incredible phenomenon, to those aware of it, how life seems to give us hints on what is to come. From a seed planted in a dream at a New Orleans Yacht club during adolescence to the actualization of reality over 50 years later, we are witness to an arch in transcendent reality that should make us all question our own. Guy represents the true world of the Pioneer. Over 5,300 people have successfully climbed Mt. Everest, over 600 astronauts have been to space, but only around 140 sailors have ever completed a solo around the world sail, let alone with limited navigation equipment. This is a class all its own, the dream world and the physical world coming together. Guy’s pioneering perspective, “When you grow up sailing from a very young age your dreams develop what you want to do, what you want to accomplish, and I’ve accomplished so much in my sailing life that I wanted to do, this will be my one time for a solo non-stop around the world race.”

The waves we make in this life create patterns in the sand underneath, the reverberation of our actions. One has only to look at the pattern in the sand under Guy’s waves to see he is made of heart, his KonkLife publication tag line summing it up, “Dedicated to Serving the Community”. Guy is a catalyst for well being, reaching out to others without resources, without representation, simply without. Guy is an example of how self actualization can be achieved though the power of helping and representing others, even if you don’t personally agree with their agenda. It’s having the awareness to know that the singularity is made of duality, the whole contracted of parts, each with a purpose. For Guy, it’s not about shouting his personal message from the rooftops, but rather, providing an outlet for humanity to share theirs. KonkLife’s catch phrase is “The little network with a big voice”.

Rev. Al Sharpton said “Dreams are for those that won’t accept reality as it is, so they dream of what is not there and make it possible…The world is made of dreamers that change reality because of their dream, and what we must do is we must give our young people dreams again.” Guy deBoer is a perfect example of this truth.  He is a visionary, a proven creator of what is to come from what is through the power of dream, dedication, and community service. Guy has proven that although the culmination of his sailing dream from a junior sailing program to an around the world racer may be represented on the surface as one man alone on a boat, the reality is that, underneath it all, it is a vast web of interconnected souls that reach out and rely on each other to not only prosper and thrive, but to dare to change the very nature of our reality into something more.  

When I asked Guy, “What do you want the people to know about you” it would have been easy to brag about the staggering amount of personal accomplishments that had to be achieved to even apply for entry into the GGR, let alone be invited to race in it, or the mountain of work it had to be to create and sustain a newspaper and online publication as well as a radio show for such a duration, but he didn’t mention a single one of those things. What he said secured my respect for Guy deBoer as an person and gives me hope in humanity: “I think of myself as a people person. I have a small group of close friends and I treasure them. I wouldn’t be here racing without that group of friends. It’s through these friends and supporters I’m about ready to leave to go to the race.  Having them as well as my family backing me has been wonderful.” An individual who shares the spotlight of accomplishment with the candles that helped to create it is an individual who can be trusted, with insight, honor, integrity, and virtue.  In a world with an excess of rough water shifting the sand, it’s beautiful to see someone creating some patterns of providence.  In the famous words of Mission Control to another group of Pioneers, “Good luck and Godspeed”.

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