Rancho Santa Fe Toastmasters hosts author John Silverwood

By Gwen Mecklenburg

Members and guests of the Rancho Santa Fe Toastmasters gathered Oct. 1 to hear the incredible story of a local family’s sailing adventure around the world on their 55-foot catamaran, the Emerald Jane.

John Silverwood, a veteran blue water sailor, was fulfilling his life’s dream several years ago when he, his wife, and their four children, ages 3 through 14, left their Rancho Santa Fe home to live aboard ship. It became a sailing classroom in an ever-changing maritime world, a place of beauty and also hard work. Two years and 18,000 miles later, one fateful night changed everything. The voyage ended in a violent shipwreck on a submerged coral reef, deep in the South Pacific, as the family was heading to Australia. Breaking seas pitched tons of seawater on the Silverwoods and their vessel — a baptism to a long night and day of unimaginable pain, terror and despair… and its answer. They were born again in courage and faith. Silverwood wrote a successful book about his family’s experience, titled “Black Wave.”

Members of the audience got to partake of storytelling at its finest, as Silverwood recounted his extraordinary experience. Toward the end of his talk, he alluded to the pivotal role that a message in a bottle played in his family’s survival. Conveniently “out of time,” Silverwood offered no details. Like any good storyteller, he left his audience wanting more.

RSF Toastmasters meets every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the RSF Community Center. Guests and new members are always welcome. Come and sharpen your own skills of storytelling, public speaking, conducting better business meetings, and more. Whether you are a housewife or a business leader, you’ll learn useful skills in a fun and supportive environment.

For more information on John Silverwood, visit

Photos/Jon Clark;