Sailing Long Distances


Ibiza, Santa Eulalia, was the next challenge. This time regarding the weather, namely thunderstorms. After almost thirty years of sailing, there were rare occasions that we spotted thunderstorms on the open sea. Those in the Baltic are nasty ones. The sky turns black, gets pitch black, and the wind jumps to gale force, all spiced up with a heavy downpour. A sailor is best advised to reef the sails in time. If not, the boat is a little toy on the sea. We left Ibiza at five o’clock, a pitch-black night. Stargazers might have loved the clear sky. The low pollution of light on the island made myriads of stars visible. Some fast ferries running between Formentera and Ibiza crossed our paths, and we had an open sea of fifty miles in front of us. Further south, we spotted enormous lighting that illuminated the entire sky, and I smiled. A semester in physics popped up in my mind when we had to calculate the electricity power of a thunderstorm expressed in money – yes, engineers can be a poco loco, a little crazy. The result of the given cloud was something of five Deutschmarks at that time. I was close to thinking how long it would take until a trendy activist discovers the waste of energy by nature when a second cloud west of the power waster joined in. That drew all our attention, and we counted three thunderstorms spread between Ibiza and Denia on the Iberian peninsular. Travel 4 © The American President Samuel Johnson said, ‘Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged at dawn.’ In sailor’s words, nothing focused our minds on here and now as the bad luck of getting struck by lightning. The boat is made of steel and safe by the nature of physics. Honestly, that thought wasn’t as comforting as I was hoping. A good deal of luck was on our side, and the three clouds wasted more energy until they were exhausted. As an excellent European citizen, I followed mainstream, quickly blamed the thunderstorm and bolts of lightning on Putin, and felt like a happy, super-empowered sailor. Massive rainclouds accompanied us during the daytime. Friendly enough, they didn’t drop any water on us – a being at the right spot and time story.