A Sentimental Journey
"Ocean racing is like standing under an ice cold shower, tearing up thousand dollar bills," WFB muses. On May 30, 1975, he set out at last on the Big One, crossing the Stygian frontier from Miami, Florida, to Marbella, Spain, in his schooner Cyrano--a 30-day cruise accompanied by his son and a few friends. The color-coordinated Cyrano is, well, luxurious: wall-to-wall carpeting, original oils in the lushly illuminated saloon, an almost silent ("most expensive") generator, air conditioning, picture windows, extra portholes, a bar, a piano and other first-class navigational needs. The lackadaisical crossing is breezily told from a pastiche of journal and logbook entries by several hands, all of them touched with WFB's own panache for arch euphemism, a kind of spreading verbal disease that overcomes all in his company. Says he: ". . . on board a boat I have found that I do not like to change my seat at mealtimes. I care not where it is, but care that I should be at the same place during a cruise. . . . It was widely suspected that my querencia at the center of the table was selected with considerable forethought to my derivative unavailability for errand-running." Such light-catching gives a soft undramatic glow to an otherwise wistful burble.