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Pierre’s boat

Sailboats in Normandy

Photo by Katie Botkin.

Pierre’s pride and joy is Motus, his sailboat, which he insists on showing me on the way to the coast. He tells me we’ll have our after-lunch coffee aboard. He shows me the shiny wooden interiors, the three sleeping cabins, the dining area, how the toilet works, the navigation equipment. We sit below deck and have strong percolated coffee with sugar and he tells me about his sailing trips, how people work together in such a small space over weeks on end. How it is being on the sea through the night and through the day. Everyone has a job, he says; if you’re bad at navigation, maybe you do the dishes all the time. He tells me I need to come sail the Mediterranean with them sometime soon. I nod seriously. The thought that comes unbidden to my mind is: I’m not sure how much sunscreen I’d have to use to make that work.

As we pull away in the car, he notices that I’m quiet. He asks me if this is my thing or if he’s actually boring me. “C’est que je suis en train de reflichir,” I say. I’m just thinking that I’d really like to do it — sail around for a week or so in remote corners of the Mediterranean, sleeping in those narrow cabins, and navigating above deck in the wind and the salt spray. Not this summer, but maybe next summer. It’s something to plan for.

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