My life under sail part II
As part 1 is really my sailing C.V., I will now add to it by describing my thoughts and feelings about sailing.
First I'd like to make a distinction between sailing as a beloved hobby and professional sailing. I've done both, also on mechanically propelled ships, but I'll leave that out because I promised you "under sail".
When I sailed as a hobbyist, there was no room to develop a love-hatred relationship; if you love sailing, you do it whatever misery you suffer. Sailing as pro is totally different. To give an example: being contracted to sail a yacht to Nice, I did that with a lot of pleaure because this ship was one fine specimen, but once I passed Gibraltar the fun was over. A full week of nasty, cold, stormy weather delayed my arrival in Nice. Once there, three days late, smelling terribly after sevelal days without a chance to change my clothes, I hurried to the capitainerie (the harbour master's office) to report the unscathed arrival of his precious ship to my contractor and there met his son. This posh fellow was in a rage because I was late and, once aboard, ordered me to hose the ship down because it was white with salt.
I tried to explain him the state I was in, but he was adamant so, by now red-hot myself, I punched him overboard in one blow. Then I had to dive in myself to prevent the muff's drowning. I never contracted again.
Some say that the first black hole wasn't seen in the universe; it was there when the first yacht appeared in the water. Some say sailing is the art of becoming cold and wet whilst going, terribly slow and against enormous expenses, from Nothing to Nowhere.
I partly agree with both views, but I'm not that cynical:
Sailing is, sometimes, a hilarious, orgasmic experience with a blustering wind filling the sails, porpoises racing and jumping round the bows, white and green water spraying the deck. Sailing was also a dreamlike happening once early on a February morning, the last ice in the river broken by passing barges, with just enough wind to make some speed; the sun not yet above the hazy horizon but colouring the sky with a shy girl's blush, and a magical flight of more than forty swans whistling by, their wingtips just breaking the pearly, liquid mirror.
I'll never sail again, but I'll miss it till my very last second.