Paolo Villaggio, Fantozzi
9 mins read

I have traveled a couple thousand miles in the ocean. I have taken part in some Italian, European, world, Sunday and, above all, “wicker wine bottle” championships. I have had some medals, even if made of tin, around my neck.

Wonderbra adMoreover, as a top model said in a popular bra ad, I can’t cook. So?

So, every time I visit a boat show , taaa-daaa! I transform.

As soon as I set foot in a boat show, in any boat show, I believe I am myself but everyone around me sees a housewife run away from home.

The enchantment

First of all, as soon as people see me coming, Harry Potterthey hide their boats. Sailboats, in particular. They secure them to their berths so tightly that, if you want to see a side, you have to enter the boat next to it and look at it from portholes.

Then, they remove everything that can stay on the deck or that can suggest navigation.

Sheets, halyards disappear, don’t even think about sails!

Everything is so plastered and immobilized that even Harry Potter would open his eyes wide before this enchantment: Arresto Momentum!

Seen for the stern

Sterns. Sterns. The only thing they let me see are sterns. And we indirectly go back to the above-mentioned ad.

Flintstones, boatBut I don’t give up, I want to take a closer look and try to understand what is special about these boats that everyone shows and that everyone wants to see when stationary.

To be honest, I must admit that I am not one of those nerdy sailors who know every single rig, designer, solution, hull and material.

I’m not one of those who walk around the ports to list every single variant of back-stay. Rather, I am one of those who prefer sailing. Me, I understand boats in only one way: by using them.

But, here, this is not possible and so… we will pay our visits.

First of all, I have to register and give lots of personal details. Why? I don’t know. I wish the interns of the marketing office have fun when they will have to copy them.

In some cases, I have to queue up, in others I am said to come back later ( and they know that: I won’t come back but, maybe, they have already understood that we, unaccompanied housewives, we are terrible customers).

And, finally, I climb on board.

The visit

Usually, themad Madam Mim visit inevitably starts from the cockpit, where the two helm wheels are quickly shown to me. ( They are always two. It doesn’t matter if you are on a 30-footer or on a maxi yacht: you don’t fail to have two wheels!”).

I am reassured by the fact that sheets and halyards are always well-hidden, with everything in order.

I can barely realize the structure of the mainsail sheet and the number of winches that…uuuuuuush! I’m sucked below deck.

Here, they show me: the galley, the oven, the dinner table, the sofa fabrics, the lockers where to accommodate computers, sunscreens and additional microwave ovens.

Heart of a boyThe wide cabin, the separate bathrooms. Have you seen how bright it is? Here, there are the cutlery drawers and there, if you want, you can even install an air conditioner.

Someone even shows the detergent locker, located under the sink.

Another carefully shows me how to hide the chart table: there are even those who have defined it ( and I know that they will read this article) a souvenir from ” Heart of a boy” that anyone uses anymore.

I am told that the dinner table can be opened, lowered or even equipped with stools; a man opens all drawers and cabinets with lights inside while another shows me the BBQ. Nobody bothers to go to the bow.

And what about the bow?

However, I’d like to find out more about navigation tools, structure‘s material, draft and whether, among the countless design lights, there is the only one I really need: the red light for night navigation.

And I ‘d like to tell them that I’m not interested into boat interiors, I have never used a microwave oven in my life and that, if you catch a 30-kg tuna fish in the ocean, a freezer is certainly more useful and that, if the dinette table is convertible, I might need it to sleep on it during my crossing.

When, before two models which are very similar to each other, I ask a seller why one of them features a keel-stepped mast while the other doesn’t have it and which is the technical difference between them, he explains to me that they are the same but someone doesn’t like to have their mast below deck.

When, before very sharpen chines, I ask another seller: doesn’t this boat heel? He answers me: ” Don’t worry, those who use it (that is me) knows how to use it.

When I dare ask which type of fore sails the boat has, everyone looks at me and seems to congratulate me: “Yes, they’re here. We also have a Code Zero”.

Since I’m obsessed with maritime safety, when I get back to the deck, I always ask where Epirb and safety equipment are located.

None answers to me. Are they maybe superstitious? Finally, someone opens a locker at random and tells me that I can accommodate my life raft there.

The classification

The most frequent key words at boat shows are:

WiFi, Microwave Oven, BBQ, Cabinets, Sun Pads, Carbon, Code O, Bowsprit, Master.

Best Seller, ex aequo at both extremes:

Happy Housewife” Award: Happy Housewifewith no hesitation, I give this prize to the Elan’s seller who never stopped talking without never taking a breath, giving me the possibility to run a finger on the special anti-condensation cover in the bathrooms that prevent water drops from forming after shower. He even gave me two business cards ( the second is a back-up one, ahahah) and he shook my hand strongly like he had never had a nicer customer than me, telling me ” So, can I give you a quote?”.

“Regretful Housewife” Award: I give this price to X Yachts’ seller, of whom (unfortunately) I haven’t the business card. After having seen me exhausted by his colleague who questioned me about my personal details, he lovingly took charge of my case on his X 46 and classified me as a pain in the neck rather than a happy housewife.

First of all, he told me about straightnening ratio and keel weight! So, he showed me the life raft compartment! ( a specific locker situated in the cockpit) and brought me to the bow to see the self-tacking jib.

Recessed jib furler” , he whispered to me; then, he praised the teak in the cockpit and the non-slip (standard) deck house instead of synthetic teak (optional-chic) and, after having guided me gently below deck, he raised the floor plates to show me the deep bilge.

Which is why he will have my heart forever.

Johnny Depp

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