Sailing has this wonderful benefit of making new friends all over the world. You talk to someone at a boat show or on the dock of a marina and, immediately you have a connection; the passion of sailing.
I have met so many people all over the world who share that passion and with whom I have kept in touch for years. Some of them have become close friends. Others? Well we have not met them yet but, as soon as we do, our network of friends will just expand.
Get two or more sailors together (preferably at a bar or over some drinks) and you will – I guarantee it – end up with hours of entertainment. Stories and experiences will be shared and friendships will be built.
On one of our flotillas it so happened that we had a French lady who owns a vineyard in the south of France and we assigned her on the same yacht as a couple from Oregon who happened to own a winery in the Willamette River area. They became fast friends and, needless to say, we were always sure to get the best wines for dinner with these three experts judging the local wines in the restaurants of the ports that we visited.
A few years ago, we drove through Europe, on our way to Spain, and stopped by the vineyard owned by this charming French lady, Floriane, and she filled our trunk with bottles of her delicious wine and she did not even want a Euro for it. Mila and I can’t wait to see her again soon and repay her for her kindness.
Many of our flotilla crew members have become friends and we even convinced non-sailing friends to become crew members; the latter with sometimes mixed results but these are stories for another time, at a bar and with a drink…
Earlier this year, when sailing back from Dubrovnik to Split, we had two couples from Houston on one boat and a couple from Canada on another boat. They were truly fun people and they recently spent a week-end together sailing in Houston. While it was chilly for the Texans and they had to bundle up, our Canadian friend, Joe, thought that the temperature, compared to Canada, was just fine, as evidenced in these pictures.
Yes, friendships made thanks to sailing are special and they endure. My “Admiral” Mila had to go back to Peru for her parents wedding anniversary and I could not go because of my recent ankle surgery (still in a bleeping cast for the next four weeks). My kids are in Illinois and I am in Florida so it was going to be a lonely Thanksgiving? Not to worry… Captain Joe, an almost real-life pirate character and sailing instructor extraordinaire, invited me to come over for dinner with his wife and some friends. We had a great time, good food and, of course, swapped a lot of sailing stories while making a serious dent in his Mount Gay stash.
Yes, sailing friendships are the best!