Let me be prosaic and speak about the Great of the past today.
Most of us, sailors or dreamer sailors have settled our dreams of blue water sailing around the accounts of few sailors of the past.
Joshua Slocum, a former Merchant mariner and captain, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe solo in a sailing boat at the end of the 19th century. He spent years for doing so, enjoying the life on shore in every island and continent he stepped in. His arrival was cheered as a special event in remote as well as non remote places and he used to raise founds attending talks about his sailing experiences.
More than half a century after Slocum, Bernard Moitessier, born in Indochina (what later become Vietnam) from a French family, has been the first man in the planet to sail around the world solo without stops. He is an absolute myth in the sailing community.
He made one and a half circumnavigation in his ketch named Joshua (after Captain Slocum) after resigning a big prize in money he would have won if he only headed for England when he was sailing in the Atlantic after already crossing his previous route (therefore officially completing one circumnavigation). Despite his great technical accomplishment he persecuted a basic sailing style.
Scared by their account of huge seas or weeks of heavy conditions, passionate about the solitude that these guys tasted during weeks at sea long before the age of satellite communication we all fell in love with the lifestyle they were able to carry along the way on their sunny voyages.
Cheered by local people, always pampered as special guests, they enjoyed the best in every place they stepped in. Sailing and sailors were still special categories at their time though Moitessier lived the beginning of a different era. The era of concrete sailors-zoos. The marinas.
Reality today? Well, sometimes we feel like our best dreams are broken.
The modern society confined the cruiser sailor in a special category of mere consumer. A sailing related consumer of goods and services. In a Country with no sailing tradition the behavior of a sailor is surrounded by indifference when not attracting attention as a potential money-maker.
Is this all we can expect by life at sea?
I am keeping sailing because I am convinced that magic and surprise still worth the sacrifices of life at sea for those who sail despite the indifference of the world on shore.