Her name was Lolita. And not every port she carried me to over the years was charted in degrees of latitudes and longitudes.

On a flat sea her keel sat deeper in the water than twice the height of most men. From her teak deck, which flared with her hull like a dancer’s hips, her mast towered nearly 80 feet. And her length, from the stem to the stern, was an inch shy of 57 feet. With the wind bold in her sails, Lolita, the third and last vessel of that name that I have owned, was exhilarating as she knifed through the waves, leaving a foamy wake and a stinging, salty spray.

But like most things that matter, my gleaming sailboat, named for my dear wife, was much more than the sum of her parts, much more than could ever be suggested in her simple specifications. I trusted her to not only win sailboat races around the globe for me and my crew, I trusted her to sail me out of the storms of earthly preoccupations and into the places where serenity meets fulfillment as snugly as the sky meets the sea.

Not so long ago, drifting in this ephemeral place of open sea and open mind, I found myself contemplating what had brought me to this marvelous moment in my life. I had logged more than 70 years, a life that began in uncertain waters to find sweet swells of an enchanting childhood shared with my twin sister, Frances, then early success in international banking. It has been a life marked, sometimes painfully public, by dead seas and heady trade winds, too. It has been a life that ...

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