Tainui and I romped west from Corfu in a fresh northerly breeze, with a sparkling azure sea and dancing whitecaps. Destination Riposto, 260 miles away in Sicily. It was a novel, wonderful feeling, to be sailing fast and in the right direction. At sunset the breeze dropped of course, and the uncomplaining Mr Ford was called into action yet again.
In Corfu an old friend and colleague Tatiana had brought her two children aboard for a taste of the sailing life. What a shock it was for this old fart. I had quite forgotten how much space and time children demand. Sam and Noa are delightful kids – smart, curious and enthusiastic. They had great fun, but Tanui has never felt so small, nor I so old. Their doting mother is endlessly patient, but I just couldn’t get used to Tainui’s transformation from ocean passage-maker into crowded, noisy and chaotic playpen.
I know people cruise with children and I admire them for it. But I don’t know how they manage. Being young and the actual parent are part of the secret. So is training your offspring to respect the space and privacy of others – sometimes, at least, to be seen and not heard. We just didn’t get to that stage. Fortunately the weather was settled. We found a pretty anchorage and the kids swam, ate, explored and argued while I wondered who and where I was.
After a week pottering about in the pretty bays on Corfu’s northern shore with Tatiania and her children, Tainui is now once again a sailing boat on her way. That is a good feeling.
Yes I know, I’m an old Dickensian curmudgeon.