Humanity’s affinity for water is undeniable. Think “holiday” and you will struggle not to picture a beach. Think of the colour blue and, not only will most consider it their favourite colour, they will also associate it with qualities of calm and wisdom. Go back to the first civilization in ancient Mesopotamia, and you will find Nammu, Goddess of the Sea, who birthed the first gods. Water as a source of spirituality and wellbeing is timeless and nearly universal. And so, it is no surprise that I am so drawn to it. I grew up next to the sea and spent half my young life in the water. Even the memory of the two times I almost drowned, when caught by waves, do nothing but put a smile on my face.
Unfortunately, I was never able to connect to the water in the way I wanted. Then, about 12 years ago I was thinking about the easiest way to travel to Southeast Asia. “By car, for sure!” I told myself, “but what about diesel, food and a nice place to rest… Hum…”. That is about the time I thought “A boat would solve all my troubles; I will sail with the wind and my house will be with me, so no worries there! Makes perfect sense!”
So I went online and delved into the yachting scene: what is it like, what would be needed, how much does it cost, and all that good stuff. The search was unanimous: owning a boat is a fool’s errand. It can be summarised by the dutch saying “buy a boat and work yourself to death” and the portuguese saying “boat owners only have three happy days: the day it is bought, the first sail, and the day it is sold”. This newly found information paused my search for a boat, but not the dream. Instead I decided to first learn how to sail, which sounds like the most logical starting point anyway! So that is what I did. Got some lessons and joined yacht clubs to get into the scene and prepare for what might be. Some years passed and things were moving at a slow pace when I got a sudden wake up call. I got a message that my cousin, of 30, passed away during the night. This is someone who I grew up next door to and with whom I shared a school desk from kindergarten all the way through highschool. I kept on delaying dreams because of money, while my body could turn on me during the night and that would be that. What a waste. So I decided to find a nice boat and go for it! Done and done!
6 years into owning Saetta, I can better understand all the advice and sayings. Saetta has bankrupt me twice and has been a major factor in my anxiety with all its issues and maintenance nightmares. But then again, it has given me much pleasure and peace of mind; the beauty of sailing, looking up to a clear night sky in the middle of the sea, or sitting at the bow feeling the boat cutting through the waves and listening to the sea against the ship. I suppose it is like any other relationship: you put in the time, sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, but you continue moving forward because you know it is right. And it has been so!
Too much has happened for me to write in one go, so I will bring up to date. Saskia (my partner) and I have moved into Saetta while berthed at Amsterdam. We are getting Saetta and ourselves ready for full-time around-the-world cruising life, with planned departure next April 2020.