It’s Boxing Day 2012, quite different from Boxing Day 2011! I am sitting on a sofa with a log burning stove, a glass of wine and have had the luxury of the company of friends and family for the last few days. There is plenty of hot water for a shower, a comfortable double bed, a fridge full of fresh food and a toilet that doesn’t move. And yet……..
Living on a race yacht for a year had its own values – freedom, independence and knowledge. A world where you decide your own fate and health and safety rules do not apply. A world where skill and experience are respected rather than money or appearance, where the most battered boat may still gain the highest respect due to the number of sea miles she has done and the knowledge and willingness of her crew, At sea, age is generally a bonus and what counts is lives (seas) experiences and not a shiny coat or a new pair of khaki trousers!
Life at sea and lack of space necessitates sparse living and a focus for only what is needed. A new filter on Christmas day so much more welcome than a Rudolph jumper. The lack of clutter is quite liberating as is the way that children are different at sea. We met a family on the way to Singapore, they expected much more of their children – to be able to look after themselves and keep safe, be strong when the going got tough and to make their own entertainment without electronic gadgets or plastic toys. Also, an ability from the children to talk and engage with anyone as a result of them making the most of the land based opportunity to socialise.
There is no sense of class or wealth at sea, of possessions, clothing or appearance. The Ocean is master and subsequently we quickly return to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, much else is forgotten. On land it is hard to imagine being truly free of the influence of others and society yet in the oceans the only influence is the weather and the waves. Simple living, unfettered by politics, social trends, employers or other people’s lives had such an appeal.
So, guess what, it is definitely back to sea for me. Two races planned for the first half of 2013 and hopefully another big challenge for 2014. But, I’ll stick to Christmas Day on land as I’m thoroughly enjoying my wood burning stove, great company and glass of wine 😉