Ueshiba does not seem merely tossed about from shore to shore like a hapless raft in these seas.
Perhaps our apparent disagreement is over nothing more substantive than the use of the word "merely."
I believe we agree that Ueshiba was seeking a liberation of some sort.
Of course, if one is seeking liberation of any kind, of necessity one begins with one's own conditions. The danger, as I see it, is that western students of the way established by Ueshiba (and I hasten to add that what I am about to say has been frequently raised as a critique of a common pattern among western students of some of the more esoteric eastern religio-spiritual traditions with which he engaged) begin by searching for liberation from their own cultural conditions and end with the adoption of an alternative system of bondages that have less to do with the larger forward trajectory of their chosen vehicle than they have to do with the particular constraints their chosen vehicle was designed to leave behind.
In regard to the mismatch between both the comparatively vertical structure of eastern culture and the putatively more horizontal structure of western culture, and in regard to more specific political tendencies and factions that can be observed in the career of the Founder (whether one views them as congruencies on the one hand or as tides, winds, shallows and hazards to be negotiated by a skilled sailor as in your analogy), this seems to me to be an area that necessitates great dangers that can only be safely navigated with the assistance of unflinching willingness to examine both historical and current circumstances as they are, and a commitment to critical thinking regarding both those conditions and the choices one makes within them.
In that respect, I would be very surprised indeed if we didn't both agree that very few things, even though they may partake of this or that, are merely
this or that and regret any infelicity of expression that may have created a misimpression to the contrary regarding my views.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't again thank Peter Goldsbury for the way in which in he has taken the matter of aikido's history and transmission in hand and pursued just such an approach in this series of articles. The series thus far has been has a major step forward and all of us who have been following it are beneficiaries.