Now that I am back on land and connected to the world again most friends and relatives are asking and asking about the crossing. Most of the curiosity is around how is leaving sight of land and how is spending a full day without any land on sight.
Well my natural point of view is very simple. You take your little 20feet boat and set off the coast, somewhere in the warm, cozy Mediterranean. Your destination is not far away but still the expected duration of the crossing is more than 24hours, considered the size of the boat and the tricky mediterranean winds.
You set a course that will fastly make you clear of the coast. Twenty miles after the same coast is a tiny blue strip under the hazy sky of Summer. Then is the blue. It get dark soon, you set the boat for the night, you set a watch system if you are sailing in a crew or organize your night at best if you are solo. The day after at daybreak the sun lights an all around, blue, flat horizon (if the sea is not hilly, on which case it won’t be flat:). You sail, you heat, you fish, you make love if the crew is the right one, you sail and sail until it get dark. That night you will have to cope with a land approaching your bow. You should perhaps reduce your speed in order to make landfall at sunbreak or sail full tilt with the wind on your stern and fly into that cozy creek for enjoying a night at anchor.
In any case the crossing will be over soon and the pleasures of land will from there on be more tastefull than ever for you..
Ok got it?
That’s the beauty of a short passage. Remember that day in the middle, the second day of navigation on which you woke up and went to bed in the blue?
Well, take that day, multiply it by twenty and you will very simply have what a long passage is. Full days at sea, one after the other!
Of course is not that simple and if for a short passage you can easily forget about your energiy balance and food supply, in a long passage these elements, together with sleep are to be taken in serious account and managed properly.
After few days, prepared or not you develop your own routine. Eating, sleeping, tuning the boat, all go to a time/energies balance that must be designed for being taken for indefinite time.
Of course a routine needs to be broken sometimes not to let it turn into boredness. Some skippers prepare a gift bag with cookies to be given to the crew at regular intervals. I count on my skills on cooking as an Italian to break the routine in a rather daily base and managed to cook different dishes almost everyday during the crossing. A special Mid-Ocean meal with meat, besciamel and Salento wine was the peak of our daily menus but an Indian lunch with lentils, vegetable stew and chapati has been very well aprreciated too.
Day after day despite some of my crew claming the sameness of horizons I always managed to wonder about the light, the clouds, the color of the sea, different seabirds and some fishes swimming inexplicably with the Momo for hours. I saved images that makes this passage a memorable experience!