The array of sails danced about the rippled water in elegant organic coordination. They weaved around each other in a busy but beautiful swarm, gliding silently along the narrow channel. As noon approached, the sun lit the gleaming white sheets and sails with a majestic intensity below the clear blue sky. The only sounds coming from the water were the occasional shouted command and rippling of a luffing sail. The crowd on the boardwalk chatted amiably as they saw off their friends and family or found their way to the waterside restaurants for lunch. It was a perfect day for a regatta; the winds were just enough to power the sailors along at impressive speeds but only ripple the surface of the fjord. I watched the dance attentively as I made my way up the boardwalk, intentionally slowing my steps to prolong the peaceful moment.
It’s a holiday weekend here in Tønsberg. My lack of familiarity with the less well-observed Christian holidays leaves me a bit unsure of exactly what was being memorialized on Thursday, but I expect most of the Norwegian vacationers who have converged on this quiet little town over the past couple days don’t really care why they had the days off. I walked out to the office in the late morning after my last WOD at Øya Crossfit, partially because I like to do my job searching there and partly just because it’s a nice walk on such a beautiful day. My walk takes me along the harbor, where dozens of boats of amateur sailors were warming up for the day’s regatta. I don’t know the details, but I never saw them come back, so I think they’re racing all the way around Nøtterøy. (By the way, I actually asked, and it doesn’t quite translate to “nuts island”; apparently, it comes from “njóta”, which in Old Norse translates as “to enjoy” or “to benefit from”.)
I’ve forgotten how clean and peaceful a mode of transportation sailing is. Assuming, of course, I find my way into the financial means, I could see myself owning a sailboat. It wouldn’t be just a hobby for me, though. It would become a primary mode of transportation. Indeed, it could become a primary residence as well. A proper ocean-going vessel would be a similar investment to a small house, or perhaps the result of selling said house.
I’ve complained many times about the financial impediment of crossing oceans without commercial air travel. This could be my solution. Perhaps that’s how I retire. I’m not exactly planning on retiring, but if I get to the point that I don’t want to work for a while and the travel bug bites again, a lap around the world in a 40-footer sounds like one hell of an adventure.
However, I’d need a crew. Maybe I’d put together a few friends or locate a few able seamen looking for free passage. Or at that point, I might go with my family. I’m still very ambivalent about the prospect of having kids, but I might need a couple deck hands…
Thought to be continued.