I am delighted to have Lexi Rees guest posting today to tell us all about her nautical adventures. Over to you Lexi:
Hi Mai, Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Obviously, you know about my new book, but I’m not always writing. I spend a lot of time sailing, as you might guess when you read Eternal Seas.
Until I met my husband, the only time I had set foot on a boat was a car ferry to Mull, and a school cruise (on a converted car ferry) when I was about 15. But he is a keen sailor, so I gave it a go. We started off doing the Spring racing series from the Isle of Wight. It was cold and wet, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. “Better a happy boat, than a winning boat,” the skipper used to say. Although I did notice that he only invited my hubby to the join the very competitive team which he won a different series with every year.
Before we even thought about getting a house together, we bought an old boat in Italy and spent a few years doing it up. We then sailed it from Italy, all the way through the Greek islands, and into Turkey.
I haven’t seen many kids’ books where the sailing described in it is realistic so I wanted to bring my experience into Eternal Seas.
I purposely avoided putting Finn and Aria onto a large galleon style boat as it would be impossible for a family to crew it. Even in Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow steals a ship ready prepared for sailing. The Alcina is based on a live-aboard family that we met in the Greek islands and their boat, Indianna.
All the terminology in Eternal Seas is nautically accurate – gybe, galley, windlass etc. I didn’t want to lose the impact by saying “change direction”, “kitchen”, and “anchor lifting machine”.
Over the years, we’ve been joined by many friends, and the arrival of my son which involved adding a lot of netting to the boat and some changes to the routine: “prepare to tack” became “move the baby to the low side, prepare to tack”. The boat is a bit like a giant jungle gym. Kids do tend to pop up through hatches like a jack-in-the-box so supervising is hard work!
It’s hard to pick favourite sailing moments, but being joined by dolphins on the bow is always amazing – the dolphins feature in Eternal Seas. I haven’t seen any dolphins for a few years now which is worrying. We did get joined by turtles last summer though which was a first for me.
If I had to pick a single landmark, sailing through the Corinth canal was spectacular, and we had my dad and uncle on board too so it was a great family trip.
For me, it’s not just about the physical sailing, it’s about the family memories. The sunset drinks, the lazy days where there is not a breath of wind and you spend the whole day swimming and reading …