Life as a sailing bum

Here is one for the boys at the office....

Another life ago, when I was just starting my university studies, I would disdainfully look down on the unemployed and seemingly unemployable surfer types (“wax heads” to use the colloquial term) at my local beach. “Good for nothings!, Why don’t they get a job and do something useful with their lives? Social leaches the lot of them”…

Little did I know at the time, that the condescending attitude was in fact misdirected envy. It took a decade of wage slavery for me to realise that they had had the right idea.

Spend your youth playing in the surf and sand, chase women all day, keep fit, get a decent tan and live without a care in the world.

My long haired hippie looki

I suppose most of them are now married, in debt up to their eyeballs making mortgage payments and loosing hair worrying about how to set aside enough for their children’s education. So be it, they had their care free days.

Mine start now…

So what if I’m a bit older. At least I’ve acquired enough material wealth to forego the monthy queues for unemployment benefits! I was even able to afford something more substantial than a surf board to play with.

Time to let my hair down… thankfully I still have plenty… and become exactly what I’d belittled so many years ago. An itinerant, a bum… albeit one with some means.

I guess it’s my turn to be looked upon with scorn… or unrealised envy. 😉


So, how did you get into sailing?



Now that’s a question that brings back fond childhood memories, and I’m sure every sailor has a compelling tale to tell in answer.

For me it all started on the island of Mauritius at the age of 6 where my brother and I hired a little yellow sailboat for the day with the proceeds of our gambling habits.

Gambling at the age of 6?

Indeed! I owe my sailing passion to lady luck and the one armed bandit…

Old Slot Machine

Old Slot Machine

My brother and I had made a habit of hanging around the three slot-machines at a nearby resort.

What else were a couple of boys on holiday with too much time on their hands to do?

Anyway, occasionally a guest would tire of our incessant stares and hand over a few coins for us to try our luck on an adjacent machine…

We had a foolproof technique… gingerly pulling on the slot machine lever we would gaze as the tumblers whirled willing with all our might for a winning combination…. Somehow it worked because we always won!

Not that that always did us much good. Most guests would collect our winnings at the end of their loosing spree (I guess the rational was that it was their coin in the first place) and say their goodbyes… However on one memorable occasion, an anonymous tourist decided to let us keep our winnings!

A yellow boat

A yellow boat

What joy. We could suddenly afford to hire the boat we had been zealously eying for days.

At some point I’ll dig up the old colour photograph of that first days sailing and post it here, but it will have to wait awhile as it lies half way across the world in a dusty cardboard storage box that has not seen the light of day for 5 years.

The sun was shining, the sea crystal clear and the view magnificent. Who could fail to fall immediately in love with a sport having had such an exquisite introduction.

Those were happy carefree days.