I called Lucas:
Me: ‘Hey mate, you know how I was gonna buy that Yacht?’
Me: ‘I got it.’
Lucas: ‘Oh, shit … Wow that’s Awesome mate.’
Me: ‘Your gonna have to fly over to Italy and help me learn to sail it’.
It did take a bit of convincing him, but a month later we were sampling local beers and wines in Monopoli and organising the last of the paperwork.
I had enlisted a ‘pilot’ to help me learn to sail on the trip from Monopoli over to Split (Croatia) but due to a translation error he booked another charter a day later assuming we wanted to use the engine and get there as quickly as possible.
So Lucas and I would be left alone in Split to fend for ourselves. We went out on the town and decided to head out the next day.
It was the worst conditions we experienced on that particular trip, certainly not out of control looking back but well out of our skill level at the time.
Nagging doubts soon came to the fore during this first sail, saying repeatedly to myself: “You’ve bitten off more than you can chew, Riley” … ‘If that sail shreds you can’t even afford a new one, Riley”… “Should have learned first then got the boat Riley!” … “Are you really cut out for this, Riley?”
To be perfectly honest I was scared.
Not for my safety (although that was another doubt pinging around in my anxiety-riddled brain) … but scared about having made a mistake of colossal proportion.
Not being the owner of the boat, Lucas seemed a lot less concerned as I’m pretty sure he suggested we get pissed drunk and have another crack tomorrow.
We got the sail in eventually but the noise of it smashing around was extremely unnerving as I had no idea how much was normal. We turned the engine on and motored back into Split for another night out.
A truly horrible feeling to have those thoughts spinning around that evening and it wasn’t until the next day we went out and the weather gods were kinder to us that I could finally begin to relax.
We belted straight over to Croatia was because three couples who are some of my closest friends were doing a “Sail Croatia” and Lucas and I were going to tag along behind them.
I had told them to cancel and that I would take them myself on my boat but they told me it was apparently “too late to cancel”.
I think they weren’t 100% on my Sailing abilities just yet.
Learning On The Fly
For those of you that think learning on the fly is dangerous and stupid well you are kind of right I suppose.
But without that kind of attitude you wouldn’t get the boat would you? And having bought the boat you wouldn’t leave the harbour until you’re a Doctor, mechanic, electrician, master of knots and ropework, physicist, and fully-bearded Salty Seadog.
You Can’t Ever Have It All Covered
I’m reminded now of the novel Dove, and I am not unmindful of the staggering amount of time, effort and cost to us taxpayers which was involved in this escapade by three teenagers who sailed to Lanai in an old lifeboat.
It was a pretty big goof up on their part, and I doubt very much if they are front page heroes to their friends, as I am sure they now feel pretty stupid about the whole affair.
But what really gets me is this trying to equate the attitude of “We wanted to see if we could do it” with your correspondents’ propositions about “this dry rot affecting the youth of our nation.”
Think what the elimination of the attitude of these boys would have meant to the world.
Would Columbus have discovered America?
Would the Wright brothers have flown at Kitty Hawk?
Would Mount Everest have been climbed?
Indeed would our Hawaiian ancestors have ever discovered these lovely islands?
A little red-blooded urge to excel, to do the impossible, to see what is over the next hill and to take little heed of the consequences—these are as American as Apple Pie.
It is obvious that the angry critics of these boys had probably never walked a neighbor’s fence, swam a forbidden hole, pushed over an outhouse on Halloween themselves?.
Irresponsible? Yes. Thoughtless? Yes.
But dry rot in the nation’s youth? Baloney.
The letter was signed: Gene Weston.
Now I’m not suggesting for one second that anything I’m doing is remotely comparable to the story of Dove I’m just saying that a bit of that kind of attitude is good.