The idea…

The idea does not come from nowhere.

I have been tracking it for a long time, and its trail leads me far, far, far back in time. It was probably forged in my mind since my childhood readings, by the hand of Jules Verne, Emilio Salgari, and Henry de Monfreid, unforgettables… Following in their footsteps, I soon discovered that this same idea marked my first steps as a precocious adult and allowed me to escape from a suffocating home and an authoritarian father, at that time an ultra-orthodox Catholic, rigid psycho, always ready to brandish his hard leather belt to apply his punishments, marking my flesh with whips. And it is thus, fleeing from those sad circumstances, that my precocious adult walk begins. At the age of fourteen, I embarked as a cook aboard the M/V Caroline, an old merchant ship built in Germany in the late thirties of the last century as a transport of troops and military supplies for the war that was coming, but that at the time when I embarked on it, it was already flying the Cypriot flag and was dedicated to less warlike tasks. Well, from there -where else? – the idea must have come from…

The author of this blog in the early seventies of the last century. Family album photo.

North Atlantic, July 20, 2018, on board Kif Kif. Photo taken by the author evoking that merchant ship, the MN Caroline, aboard which he arrived at the port of Staten Island, New York (USA), in the early seventies. In the archives of some local newspaper, there must be traces of that 14-year-old sailor at the helm of a sixty-four thousand tons merchant ship…

Later on, other authors filled my head with dreams: in disorder, Joshua Slocum, Bernard Moitessier, and Vito Dumas…. Chichester and Knox-Johnston I don’t think they left much in writing behind them, nor did Eric Tabarly, with whom I had the opportunity to sail once aboard the classic cutter Jolie Brise in the Bay of Brest, but their exploits also left a deep impression on me.

One day, out of the blue, a new series of fortuitous conditioning factors precipitated the idea and crystallized it, giving it physical form, a place in space and time. And this is how the Kif Kif Project, which takes its name from a plastic sailboat found on the Internet and negotiated at an excellent price, began to take shape in 2017. (Kif Kif is just a modest floating ingenuity of fiberglass and resin, ten meters long and two meters seventy-nine centimeters wide, built-in 1972 in a shipyard in Devon, England, based on plans by the well-known Dutch architect Ericus Gerhardus Van de Stadt and bearing the bombastic name of Seacracker 33 series).

The picture shows a longitudinal plan of the Seacracker 33 series designed by Van de Stadt.

More elements shape the idea.

During the more than fifty years I have been sailing, I have added a few thousand nautical miles to my wake. Perhaps that sum would go around the planet several times. Five…? More…? Less…? What does it matter? The fact is that I have never sailed the Indian Ocean; I have never sailed a single complete round of the planet, and I think it’s about time to remedy that. At my age, to leave it for later would be to leave it for never, which is already too late.

Sky map by Rijksmuseum is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0