October 9th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
A postcard of Ua Pou

Today I reached some not particularly startling conclusions about why, really, the sailing life is not for me.  Above anything else is the almost total predictability of it all.  The weather changes, that’s true, but tho’ that has a violent effect upon the course one makes, the effect upon one’s life within the boat is negligible.  Which explains in part me detailing the dinner we eat.  It is one of the few things that is different from day to day, + is consequently of huge importance.  I just said that the course we make does not affect our life aboard.  I should make a severe qualification to that, in that it does have a substantial effect upon the atmosphere.  When we are making good progress, all is well.  Unfortunately, the weather has been appalling, + we’re getting nowhere.  This depresses all of us.  Even Doug, I think.  When we are in port, he claims that he is only happy when out at sea, but events don’t seem to confirm this, since he gets very ratty and bad-tempered about our lack of progress.  And it’s his tantrums – there’s no better word – are what upset me most.  He had grounds, it must be admitted.  Just about every time he sticks his nose into the cockpit, a huge wave breaks over the side + soaks him.  But I think that any adult that I respect would contain his anger, or even see the funny side.  Doug breaks out into a torrent of rage that doesn’t abate for about 10 mins.  I find the whole thing hugely embarrassing, + have come to dread him doing things which might go wrong, since the results are so predictable.  I was talking of our progress.  All last night we were completely becalmed, so we had 12 hours of nothing.  However, respectable sailing for the rest of the day.  I cooked shepherd’s pie for dinner, which was excellent (tho’ I say so myself.)

Tricky coping with such things in a very small container that none of us can get out of. It is remarkable, in the circumstances, that we managed to cope as well as we did. So this diary, as well as talking things over with Val, of course, was my way of letting off steam. And so focuses on the difficult moments rather than the vast majority of the time when we all got along absolutely fine. Just so you don’t imagine this was some sort of Mutiny on the Bounty situation developing here.

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