It is easy to get bitten by the boating bug when you live on island with beautiful weather. My first experience was when I was a pupil at Bellver International College and through the school we did sailing courses at the Calanova yacht club. My experience was on a little sailing boat called the galleon; six pupils and an instructor. It was all rather fun, we would set sail and go out into the Bay of Palma.
I thought it was a rather nice little jolly and to be honest I didn´t take sailing that seriously. Day two and my first day of punishment, I had to sit in the dinghy with the senior instructor after making a complete hash of folding the sails. Day three I was allowed to return and this time I took it seriously. I was allowed to take the tiller and I thought that I was the next Admiral Nelson. By the skin of my teeth I passed the initial course and moved up to optimist, a small “one child” boat.
These little boats are great fun and we would head round to Illetas beach...I was sailing solo and loving it, until two mates and I decided to play bumper cars in our little boats and the next day I was back in the dinghy again!
I left boating until I was about 20 and I purchased my very own dinghy (probably because I had spent so much time in them when I was a child!). It was rather ancient. In fact I was told that it had taken part in the Dunkirk evacuation! The engine, was of similar origin, but even older...if I recall it had its first taste of sea water during the Battle of Jutland! I had a friend who owned a yacht in the Club de Mar, who allowed me to moor my impressive craft next to his yacht. To say that it was the cheapest vessel in the Club de Mar would have been an understatement.
I think the key-ring on the yacht next door cost more than my boat! I boldly told everyone who would listen that I had a yacht in the Club de Mar! My Sundays were spent trying to get the engine started or paddling back to the mooring. Great fun. One day and the engine was functioning at full steam and I got one of the mooring lines tangled around the propeller. Luckily Astilleros de Mallorca lent me a knife and it was back to base at full steam, (well about three knots).
My dinghy didn´t survive much longer and soon it became a permanent fixture in my parent´s garden. Years later I bought my first “proper” boat, it was four metres long and had an outboard engine and was moored along the Paseo Maritimo. In those days the boat came with mooring. It was great fun. I never ventured too far.... I use to go to the Cathedral and back, which would take about 40 minutes.
My neighbours were all experienced boat hands of a certain age (they made my outboard engine look young!) and I was showered with abuse every time I left port and returned. I never realised that the Mallorcan language could be so colourful. But it was happy days and it was great fun...in fact I got to a stage that more often than not I would stay in port, soaking up the view and ducking the abuse.
After about a year, I thought that I was an experienced boat hand and decided to splash out on a llaut fishing boat. By this stage I had the right paperwork and I purchased a six-metre llaut. I was told by my neighbours that a llaut gave you only two pleasures; the day you bought it and the day you sold it.
This was not the case but you do need time for a six metre boat, something that I do not have a lot of and after two years I sold it and this was the end of my nautical adventure.