What does the weather forecast say? It will be good but a little cloudy. Which weather forecast have you seen? If it is issued by the local body, we’ll be safe: the others, on the contrary, never get it right.
This is the ritual context that usually takes shape on Friday or Saturday morning, just before the traditional Sunday trip: a parade of boats finally reaches the open sea at about 10:00 and then comes back home at 06:00 in the afternoon. This way, like in a normal job, eight hours have been spent at the sea.
Both on the way there and on the way back, the sea is rough and waves generated by outboards cross against the tidal flow or just out of the lagoon, causing some difficulties for small boats.
This is the typical summer celebration that involves the Mediterranean’s sailors between mid-June and late August before abandoning the sea from winter to fall and spring time.
And there the eager owner of a two-story iron jumps the gun and raises the bow, by devouring hectolitres of fuel, oblivious of the troubles his small sloop has suffered especially when, with the sails still lowered, it feels its “Girmi” attached to the stern blending the air out of the sea surface.
Where are the feared tutors we are all afraid of?
Their blue-and-grey hulls terrify us when we invoke our confused memory and try to remember the endless list of what the latest decrees have established that we must have on board. We undoubtedly lack something or, at least, everyone will have its own interpretation of things.
Yet, provoking a 2-metre wave in front of a boat of just 4 metres is not a crime even though I sincerely think it’s a sacrilege.
Unfortunately, however, this ostentatious arrogance can occur even many miles off the coast when inevitable autopilots, which are able to plot the perfect course of a port-to-port crossing, prevail over the incapable yachtsmen that are happy to touch the small sail in trouble while their boats can navigate with the only wind’s propulsion.
Who can contradict me when I say that sailing is passion while navigating under power is just ostentation?
It’s precisely from these encounters that the deep roots feeding the ancient sailors’ distrust towards powerboats emerge even if I honestly must confess that I happened to see some rare episodes of flawless boating etiquette where, although far from the coast, the careful pilot interrupted his plane to respect the weak route of a sailor.
Vice versa, I also happened to see boats cutting a racing field when the wind blew at just 5 knots and, still today, I’m not ashamed that I showed off my broad knowledge of swear and of my ability in interlink them.
Unfortunately, our yachting habits are so limited in time that we spend most of the year at the berth, waiting for summer to go out all together like in a procession. I remember that Piero Ottone told us that Nordic people would benefit from our winters to enjoy cruiser significantly easier that those they are used to face in any weather and sea condition.
After all, boats sail very well even under rain and in the fog if their captains have the right knowledge and equipment to face such a situation.
However, most of us ( I honestly include myself in this list) have chosen the best raincoats of the market and bought the best books and manuals to sail in bad weather, at night and in any circumstance.
Our rubber boots are calibrated to face the worst storms, our wool hats and caps we’ve bought at the local shipchandler’s shop are water-resistant and they can preserve us even against Artic frost. But in winter… we prefer to go skiing or watch a match on tv, waiting for the next summer when everyone will join a new boat parade.