Back aboard Blue Dove, it is as if I had never left. As I had hoped, reconnection (both with the boat and with Madam) was immediate and seamless. There are two differences – first, we are in Netherlands and second, Maxine as owner is now in control. She is as wonderful and as exasperating as ever, but I can honestly say that no red wine has been spilt in the cockpit.
After 40 years of yacht ownership and skipperdom I am now taking orders from another. It is surprisingly easy for me, although I have to be ridiculously careful about coffegrounds in the sink. The rôle of the chart table on the other hand, once this navigator’s sacrosanct place, has changed!
Miss Perfect still struggles a bit with the Australian hovering over her shoulder as she assumes all responsibility for all things. Quite unnecessary, given her competence and experience.
Netherlands is small and remarkably flat, with millions of bicycles, only average weather and water everywhere.