Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How Quickly We Forget

Marinas often have an informal book exchange located in the laundry area. I haven't found great quality books in ours, unless I want to reread Cujo, but I do find a few magazines. Recent Hello mags offer guilty pleasure. Old National Geographics are good for rainy days. Fresh Macleans supply snappy reportage on current affairs. Yesterday I found a couple of big glossy sailing and boating magazines. I like to refer to such publications as 'boat porn' because like regular porn, they often leave the reader drooling and fantasizing about completely unattainable vessels. In Yachting World I read an opinion piece about why we keep going back to sea; apparently it's because we have short memories. And I quote: "Sailing follows a mathematical formula. While this varies from individual to individual, based on the voyage type, the pleasure quotient is generally agreed to be 70 per cent anticipation, 30 per cent reality and the ratio of fun to non-fun days is 2:1... the start of a voyage, the end of it and the bits spent secured to land are the most interesting." In essence we forget the bad parts of boating and only remember the good. 'Never again' means 'maybe next year'.

The Vendée Globe is regarded by many as the ultimate in ocean racing; the only single-handed non-stop race around the world without assistance. In the 1992 Vendée Globe, Bertrant de Broc had to stitch his own tongue back on without anaesthetic after accidentally biting it off. In 1996, Peter Goss was forced to operate on his elbow with a head torch and a hand mirror. I'm not even going to pretend I endure comparable hardships. All I wanted to say is that I'd totally forgotten how cold it gets on a boat this time of year. I mean completely and utterly forgotten. And I swear, as I sit in the cockpit writing this wearing wool socks and pyjamas, a sailor preparing to haul out just walked by and said, "Are you STILL camping out?" I said, "Sure, this is just when things start to get interesting..."