The wind whistles, the ship hisses gently rocking through the waves, it is calm. The white sails are filled to the brim. The sun shines from the blue sky. The seagulls roam the air on the horizon. Occasionally you can see the dorsal fins of a dolphin school. A chilled cocktail in hand.
One or the other beginner may imagine this or something similar, especially if he has never been on a sailboat before. So you can see it in the brochures of the manufacturers of sailing boats. However, that's bullshit.
The wind almost never fits. There is either too much wind or too little. If there is too little wind, the ship stumbles through the waves because the tension that the sails otherwise provide is missing. If there is too much wind, the ship often stabs into the waves, there are violent blows.
Sometimes the sun shines. Then it burns from the sky, is reflected by the water and you have to close your eyes to be blinded. The sunglasses only help to a limited extent. Sometimes it rains. Then you sit there in rain clothes and look between the gusts for the freighter that you were still on AIS has seen. A cloud-covered, overcast sky is my favorite personally.
It is by no means quiet. The water sloshes in the fresh water tank. The wooden interior panel creaks against the outer shell of the ship. Every now and then waves crash against the fuselage, which does dull blows. If the ship hits the waves too hard, it will crash like a hammer. The ship's bell often strikes loudly. In the background you can hear the whimper of the electric autopilot. When rolling, all glasses clink on the shelf. When the engine is running, there is also the constant roar of the diesel. Hour after hour. Day and night.
Relaxation often turns into boredom. With a small crew of two people you are permanently tired because there is not enough sleep. You have to be attentive, but you always run the risk of falling asleep. This is bad, then you might drive other boats over or be taken to the club yourself. Again and again you have to look around to see if another ship is not hiding. This is almost never the case, which is why the body wants to doze, sleep, and rest again.
Old swell, i.e. moving seas, can often still be felt in the water for days. To do this, the sea is moved by the current wind. The gentle rocking motion becomes a hard shake. Every movement that you make in the ship leads to bruises. There is always an edge somewhere to bump into.
Jens is disadvantaged. When we have been in port for at least three or four days, every day at sea is like the first. It feels like a new sailing trip for him. That is why it is not worth doing the big kitchen magic on the first day of the sea. The fish are fed with this stuff. So on the first day of the sea there are canned goods that won't stay there for long. After that it is over, then Jens endures the most unpleasant rolling and pounding movements and can sear onions and meat. The first day is always for K *****.
The goal is not getting closer. At a speed of five knots, it takes about 50 hours to travel 250 miles. Then you can see on the chart plotter how every tenth of a mile is counted down. This can be nerve-wracking, especially if you don't get the five knots, if you have to turn up in a headwind and effectively move to the target with just two knots. When the tidal current takes two away from the five sailed knots. Or when all of that comes together when you're sailing on the spot. At some point you arrive anyway.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Because it's great. To see the vastness of the sea, to feel the emptiness. The reward is, for example, the great sight when the light of the afternoon sun is reflected in the water and all around is just the horizon. When a dozen dolphins play with the ship. Then we live the moment. Then there is boundless relaxation and inner peace.