I believe that sailing is the utmost expression of freedom. Not having to deal with roads, crossroads, traffic lights or tailbacks; we have become used to a life in which, when all is said and done, every little trip is full of stress because of traffic or the various other restrictions which a city imposes willy-nilly. I believe sailing is a form of freedom which is difficult to compare to other things. It's true that merchants and Bedouins, on their camels or in their caravans, crossing the desert probably think the same way when they have endless sands in front of them and without being able to see more than a couple of hundred metres away, but I prefer the sea to the desert. Slipping the moorings, leaving the port and being able to go almost anywhere you want is, for me, a rare privilege. You can spend the night in a harbour or in a quiet bay, or choose to dock in one of the many islands scattered all over the Mediterranean.

One can choose to sail at night after having set a safe route and organised sailing shifts to arrive at another island before the morning breaks. It is not as dark at night as one might imagine, I was once sailing at night and observed some curious dolphins checking out my boat, an obvious sign that even they do not sleep at night, as so many people believe. One can also sail all year round. One winter I found myself moving the boat from one port to another under the snow, a beautiful experience, but I prefer the spring and summer when you can stay in shorts, or not much else, and feel the wind and sun on your skin. I don't believe that sailing is difficult or only for those who are physically well prepared and trained, especially when it comes to boats like mine; it's another thing when we are talking about a regatta, or a 470 or other regatta sailboats of that type which need a lot of preparation and a reactivity, in those situations the margin of error can be really very small.

Coming back to our sailboat, I have seen sailboats of under 10m which have been sailed by a couple of Dutch or English people who, along with their children, entered the Mediterranean from Gibraltar after some months of navigation. They didn't seem to be too stressed from the voyage, on the contrary, the children, as soon as their parents dropped anchor, were in the water splashing about like fish. It was in that moment that I got to thinking about how growing up in a certain environment shapes us; I imagined those same kids, on any given Saturday, in a shopping centre with their parents yelling at them to not run around, not to do this or that, to come here, to not go over there, to be careful or else you will get a cold etc. A few years ago a friend of mine took me sailing with him and his family, he had three children, and the most frequent question we asked ourselves was "Why don't we stay and live on our boat?"

Unfortunately, not everything is possible in life. I believe that a united, harmonious crew is very important on a boat, not only because there is very little room and very often the people don't know each other very well, but because the sea, from my point of view, is a wonderful school of life, it allows us to understand our limits. Moreover, I feel the relationship is a bit like a father and his child, it warns you that you're pushing your limits, but at the same time it allows you to learn from your mistakes. I'd love to speak more about the sea, and I have many books about it at home and on the boat, and I'd be able to go on about it for hours, but I believe that the sea is best lived by the person, both on and below, because sometimes the unknown, which probably scares us a little, can, in the end, become a friend for life and eventually teach us about freedom.