12 April 2011

Terra Firma



I’m a bit behind on posting, but in my defense it’s difficult to write when the words move up and down on the page. Yes, I’ve been back on land more than 24 hours – but the seasick sensation hasn’t exactly ended.  Something about inner ears and ‘Mal de Mer’ turning into Mal de Terre… 

This past weekend we took the maiden voyage on our new sailboat.

It was a long time coming. The boat – my husband’s dream since well before me. It became mine too – as happens when you marry a sailor, live on the sea and together produce three smaller sailors. Our sons were on Optimists shortly after they walked and now sail competitively. I am as committed a ‘sail mom’ as all soccer moms out there who don’t run around and kick the balls either. It was a question of time until the inevitable sailboat ‘Mindblower’ entered our lives.

The selection process was exciting. It involved countless boat shows, travel to several countries lining the Med and many visits to boats of the chosen model. Once, we drove four hours to see a ‘practically new’ boat in ‘perfect condition’ – only six hours on the engine. ‘Perfect’ of course, not exactly a spot-on description, ‘severely banged up’ far more accurate here. While I expressed considerable consternation and my husband some less considered, choice words about wasting our time, the broker explained. It was during the few hours the boat was used that it capsized. Yes, one would have thought it impossible for a boat that size, but... Oh! Perhaps he should mention - the owner drowned in the main cabin during the incident– hence reason for the sale – poor guy definitely couldn’t use it anymore!  That the broker hadn’t thought it necessary to mention this prior to our trip was fortunately one of the few lows in an otherwise interesting process.

It involved lists. If there is a way to guarantee making my husband perfectly happy (at least one I can write about) it involves making boat lists on Excel spreadsheets. Lists of indispensable items, lists of safety equipment, lists of nice-to-have items, list of toys-for-the-boys and lists of items I have never heard of nor have the slightest idea what purpose they could possibly serve.

I enjoyed it. It was wonderful to see the M-mens so excited, especially with feet firmly planted on that heretofore taken for granted surface known as terra firma. From the flat calm of our living room, I selected fabrics and cushions and imagined the adventures we would have crossing the Atlantic, sailing the Arctic and seeing polar bears in the wild.

But we began with St. Tropez. An excellent call on my husband’s part.  No polar bears, but great shopping. An easy cruise to try out the boat, whilst remaining in view of shore (which in my now expert opinion, is highly overrated as a fixed point to help with seasickness.)

We set sail. The weather was gorgeous and the sea calm. A lot riding on this first trip – mainly me. The Sail Mom who had never sailed. The amazing wife who went along with the purchase of a depreciating asset based solely on the absolute assurances of the M-mens that I ‘would love it.’ They looked forward to the trip with great anticipation, I with minor apprehension.

I had every right, needless to say. We anchored the first night in the Bay of Cannes and while the four M-mens ate the wonderful meal I had pre-prepared, I fed the fishes off the back of the boat… By 3 in the morning I was dry heaving and even my non-worrier husband was hyper-stressed, offering to drive the boat anywhere I wanted and take me ashore. I finally kept down two Dramamine and fell asleep.

And miracle of miracles, the next morning, it was better. The sea calmed as I found my sea legs. We sailed to St. Tropez, had a fantastic weekend, and I think I might really like the boat. The question now we’re back is if I will ever like land again – when and if it stops moving!

1 comment:

  1. You remind me of my mother! My father went through a string of "holes in the water into which you pour money". My brothers and I all grew up sailing and loving it. My mother never really learned to sail, but she did learn to enjoy being on the water... when the weather cooperated.

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