The Story Behind The Song

I was invited to my nephew’s eighteen birthday celebration. Which was a little different than most. A long weekend with two or three of his mates, his dad (my brother Andy), and a couple of other old guys, who’ve been mates with us all for a lifetime.
We had an absolute ball. We spent the weekend sailing around Mallorca. Sailin glorious sunshine by day, swimming in crystal clear sea and stopping each night to drink and eat way too much in a different harbour or cove with a beach bar.

I sat down a couple of weeks before to write a song to commemorate the occasion.
I knew I’d have a chance to play the song during the course of the weekend.

The Songwriting Process

The title for this one came first. A quick brainstorming session, writing down all the words and phrases I could which had anything to do with sailing or leaving home.

With the song’s title  ‘Sail On The Tide’ nailed, I moved on to writing rest of the song the song. I tried to put myself inside my brother’s mind. His eldest son had ‘come of age’ and would soon be heading off to university.

I decided to focus on the day of a son leaving home. I sketched down my outline plan and timeline as below.

  • Verse one – the two of them sharing a silent coffee together on the big day.
  • Verse two –  the moment has arrived and they get to their feet.
  • Verse Three – his sons walks out of the door and reality hits.
  • Bridge – A rational, philosophical round up from the father.

The Lyrics


You tip up your coffee to drain the last drop

You’re not much for talking, if I start I won’t stop

We both know you’re leaving and it’s time way too soon

But there ain’t no pausing the sun and the moon.

As you lift up your eyes to meet my own

You smile me the same smile I have loved

Reach out with the fingers I watched grow

with the hand I’ll be letting go of



No words pass between us, they’d just complicate

We both understand there’s no need to translate

Our journey together down this narrowing path

Has given me more than I hoped or could ask

As you rise to your feet to leave me

I can sense that you feel you should stay

beside me forever to please me

but it can’t be that way



Sail on the tide boy, float on the wind

Don’t look behind you and don’t say a thing

Write me a letter when you reach that shore

Tell me that you found what you’re looking for

and I’ll bathe in the water of sorrow and pride

Like all those before me, as they sailed on the tide.



The moment has reached us, we both draw a breath

And I feel the aching begin in my chest

You turn to distance and walk through the door.

I reach for the table, to keep my knees from the floor

But the moon above you is waxing while mine is well on the wane

And I know that you’ll be a man son when we meet again





And I break my heart as you slowly close the door

Its only mother natures order, all that we’ve been working for

But I hope feel this mixture of joy and pain some day

For to truly love a sailor, you must let them sail away




If you enjoy the song or have any observations, criticisms, or  advice on how it could be improved, please add comment below.