Boat living is one of the undisputed trends in modern boating. So many people dream about it, more and more people are able to do it for long periods of the year. Leaving aside the outcomes, not always positive, but entirely subjective, that this public demand has brought to boat design, today we want to talk, between the serious and the facetious, with tragicomic irony, about the purely “playful” issue ofgoing boating or life on board in general.
When you imagine your life on a boat, you dream of quiet, deserted bays, crystal clear waters, dawn awakenings with a dip, sunset aperitifs, primal contact with the sea and the wind, long sailings always with the right breeze. Close your eyes and imagine all this wonder. Fantastic isn’t it? But this is not the case. No, no. Now we tell you what the reality is like.
You have recently turned 40, you finally have good and solid economic stability, you are in love with your partner, and together you dream of turning your life around. Dream of a boat. She is even more passionate than you, she buys all the boating magazines, Italian and foreign, you read them together, you prepare for the big step. And in the end you do, you buy the boat, no matter whether it is new or used. You buy it. But you want to take it slow. “We leave first from a long summer cruise, to settle in.” “Great love, I can’t wait, I’m so happy, I almost want to go fishing in the boat too, so you can fulfill your other great passion,” she tells you. You think, “wonderful, this is really the woman of my life, this is the dream of my life.”
And here you are. First day off, the boat is ready or almost ready, and you want to leave right away. In one day you jump through hoops to prepare everything. You load the galley on board miscalculating the time, it is 3 p.m. in July and it is 79 degrees on board, sweating every inch of your body. “No big deal, we will study the timing better next time.” It is almost sunset, set sail. There is a residual light breeze and the bay where you will spend the night is only a few miles away; it is sailing. The water makes a magnificent sound under the hull, the boat rows beautifully. You embrace each other. “Love you will see what a baiette I have chosen to spend our first night at sea, it will be just us,” she looks at you with her eyes shining, a night of great love is in the offing.
Drop the sails, start the engine, enter the bay, and there are at least 40 boats, just a few meters from each other. She asks you, “but love didn’t you say a deserted bay?” “Honey I know, it was marked in a magazine among the coves where you can be alone in peace.” “But love if it was written in a newspaper how is it possible that no one knows it?” Little harm thought, we find a corner to anchor, tomorrow we will think of new routes. You calculate the wind, the weather forecast, give bottom between a German who greets you cordially and French people who look at you suspiciously. You put the tender in the water to prepare a second anchor, just in case, you jump into the water with the mask to check that both are holding well, better to be safe. You are already a tad tired, but what a beautiful life on a boat, the best is yet to come.
Aperitif with the last lights of the evening. Sweet effusions. And you sneak toward the forward cabin hand in hand. Your boat is about to turn into a love nest, but suddenly. “Love but how hot it is, let’s open the drum a little, patience if someone hears us.” With a marpy look you lift the window, a pleasant coolness comes in, and you dive on her. “Ziiiiiiiiiii.” But what is it? A stinking mosquito has immediately snuck in to disturb your peace and quiet. Quiet. She orders you, “Chase it away at once, you know I’m sweet-blooded.” With two karate moves you knock her out, but to do so you have stood up and hit your head. You’re not at home jeez, be a little careful. You set up some kind of tarp to keep more mosquitoes from re-entering. Calm is restored. She continues to look at you languidly. You kiss her. E….. “teng teng teng teng.” But what is that noise????
The flapping halyard. The wind has picked up a little bit. You have to go and fix it better, otherwise you ruin the mast, you ruin the halyard, a disaster, you snap out to fix it. You open the boat, you run, you fix her, you go back to her in the cabin and “Ziiiiiiii”, you left it open and a mosquito came back in. She snorts, you chase after the evil insect, and in the meantime….ma what happens, you see from the porthole the Frenchmen’s boat dangerously close, they flinch and shout. You jump on deck, so does your companion. You have two anchors and they have one, so with the wind the boats move differently. You touch each other, swear at the Frenchman. You fear the masts will cross. You run to sail some anchor to get out of the way. You get rid of the Frenchman, but realize too late that you had bottomed out on the German’s anchor. You shove it. The German sets off in a drift, obviously toward you. If he was friendly before he now shouts the few Italian words he knows: “Italians, mess, pizza, mandolin, Berlusconi.” Going through all your technical notions, march forward, march backward, pull up, pull down, right, left.
You divvy yourself up. You breathe, she was incredibly calm and even helped you, you’re already a crew, it’s okay. You drift away from the heart of the bay and go farther out to sea, give bottom again. You return to the cabin, time to stretch out and she is asleep this time. Of course, it’s 2 a.m. now, she’s tired. Patience. You doze off too and…. “ciaf ciaf ciaf ciaf”….she’s up undertow. Eh what the f— you think, just a bad night. “Love how about we go back to the harbor for a while, there’s room anyway and we’re close,” and tomorrow we’re back on the move. “Maybe it’s better you’re right come on.” Full throttle, screw the sails, you head for the marina, which is only a few miles away.
At 3:45 you are comfortably at the berth. There is silence. There is no undertow. There are no mosquitoes. There is no wind. All right up, we’ll spend the first night in the harbor, no big deal. You fall asleep. “Gniii, gniii, gniii, gniiii.” You are exhausted. What else is going on? The mooring line spring squeaks. You had read that it was important to change them periodically, but you were content to keep the ones in the berth you took over. Your loss. Get out. You devise a rope system to try to have less load on the springs. You can. She has since fallen asleep. Just as well. Reaching out, it is now dawn. You fall asleep by his side. A maximum of an hour passes, and a ray of sunlight straight as justice penetrates through the porthole ending exactly on your face. 3,2,1 on board is 40 degrees.
She wakes up. sullen. You basically didn’t sleep a wink. Look at her. She looks at you. “Love that then if you think about it, at the end of the day, if we’re being honest….that little villa in Argentario isn’t that bad, there’s even the beach just a stone’s throw away.” She looks at you, smiling. “And maybe on Sunday we go for a boat ride, and we also go fishing.” It really is true that in the end, if you believe in it, the happy ending comes.
Editors’ note: We would like to make it clear that no cruiser was mistreated in the making of this article, that sailing is wonderful because everyone can experience it in his or her own way, on a cruise, in port, in the Ocean, or wherever he or she pleases, and that the author of this article is a racer, modest, and a cruiser, repentant.