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…
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!
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.