Ready!.. ?


How many times I’ve heard comments like ‘crossing the Ocean? I cannot even think about that!’ or ‘did you do it in such a little boat? You must be a hero!’? Countless times. 

Yes, this is the typical reaction from people not used to the art of sailing, urban people who lives normal lives, drive cars, go to work, have normal vacations. As a reaction I tend to minimize and, indeed,me myself I never thought, never in my life that sailing for weeks without sight of land was something crazy, something supernatural, or even unnatural. On the contrary since my very first experiences offshore with a small 20feet I always thought that when you are able to spend a whole night sailing with no or little sight of land and you happily survived it in a balance with yourself, then the deal is simply just about repeating the experience for another night, and then for another one and so on. At this point the routine is set. You will easily find yourself sailing for a whole week with no pain. And after that you’ll repeat the operation, putting weeks in a row and you are an Ocean sailor…

But the routine we all are mostly used to is the routine of a land life. And me myself, despite having gone far into feeling like a sea animal several times, if I think about home then I have images of rolling hills and mountains. The landscape of Tuscany, not a seascape at all. And when I am back in this routine called home my brain switches back to urban habits, just like everyone of us.

It was in a period like this, few months ago, at the end of a Winter that saw very little sailing and no offshore sailing at all that was I am going to write about took place. 

I was driving, packed in a traffic not to be considered thick but crowded enough to let you think about how convenient is driving compared to cycling if not walking. It was one of those days on which you rush the whole morning and afternoon and at the end of it you look back and what you did is gathering a packet to the post office, paying a bill and buying something at the local shop. Days like this are so uncommon in a intensely crowded country like Italy.  

I was driving totally absorbed on thinking if driving trough that road was more convenient than choosing the other one in order to skip a bit of traffic or if the cue at the post office would have been short enough now or perhaps the best tactics would be passing by the grocery shop now and going to the post office by lunch time when everybody will be at home eating… crazy stuff like that…

I was driving filling my brain with all this stuff that will leave no sign in my life and suddenly I had this thought. I saw myself back in the days when sailing in the Ocean was what I called ‘life’ and I realized how difficult something like that can look when watched trough the filter of a land life. 

I went further on this imagination exercise and tried to put myself back in the mindset of a person not used to the sea or a weekend sailor. Packed in a car, loosing days driving from nowhere to nowhere. I have to work for a while, years normally, just to buy myself a boat. After placing her in a nice harbour I would have to go back to work for keeping paying the fee for the harbour itself. Then, in the spare time left over by my driving and working and all-the-rest activities of my normal life I would go to sail. Normally few hours every week and just in the good season. At this rate I would spend years to accumulate the long experience necessary just to start thinking about offshore sailing. And of course after those many years, when I would finally start to feel ready for it, I would feel that my first boat is not appropriate for offshore sailing and think about buying a bigger one and therefore postponing the big day of a few years more…

This is what typically happen in the life of the recreational sailor. It is the natural path for reaching the readiness to be an offshore sailor of a well determined person. And it is not an exaggeration. It is the best case if you are not a millionaire with a lot of wisdom on you. If you switch the example to a less determined person, of a person not keen to a big task like that, then you will easily see this person trying to focus on offshore sailing and thinking: ‘crossing the Ocean, that must be so difficult!’…


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