In Key West, With Italians

Sailing aboard Lorenzo Santin's Melges 24 Uka Uka has been a rewarding experience, both professionally and culturally.

This is a test (but then what isn't?). What a world we live in. I'm writing this on my phone from the legendary Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, Fla. It's 75 degrees, the emerald green water is 72, the wind is 15 knots, and I get to go racing every day on a very cool boat, the Melges 24. I'm a lucky guy.

It's already been a pretty long winter in Seattle.

I was thinking today how interesting my sailing has been since I started sailing with Italians some years ago. I'm here with the ukauka team, as I have been for the last two years. It's a great program. The owner, Lorenzo Santini, sails with us, with three other strong and committed guys who are great sailors. I'm learning things every day. They're also very nice guys, thoughful and generous, though fiercely competitive. Communication is sometimes a challenge. My Italian is quite rudimentary, better on the water than on land. Luckily, they all speak English pretty well. I'm sure I say some pretty funny things, by accident.

The program is first class. New boat and sails, all the spares, staying in a nice place, etc. Nevertheless, there are some pretty big cultural differences, which are hard to ignore. There are times when I have no idea what is going on. I do get lonely somtimes. Nevertheless, on balance, it has been fantastic for me. I've learned so much about so many things, and I've been given so much oppotunity to practice my craft at a high level. I'm looking forwardto a great week. Ciao tutti!