The “van life” has had plenty of wind in the sails in recent years, but the “sailing life” hasn’t forgotten to open the floodgates either. Embarking on short getaways or long-distance trips on the water is attracting more and more Quebecers. Marie-Pier Grenier and Adrien Bernier Nadeau, embarked since 2018 on a project allowing them to live all year round on their sailboat, have signed a magnificent book in which most of the facets of this way of life are discussed and dissected.
At the turn of their thirties, the prevailing winds changed for this couple, who were nevertheless well anchored in their daily professional life. By weaving an entrepreneurial model allowing them to give sailing lessons in Quebec in the summer, to welcome all-inclusive guests on their boat in the Caribbean during the winter and to offer long crossings to train more experienced sailors. , Marie-Pier Grenier and Adrien Bernier Nadeau have been sailing for several years, without a home base.
It is not only their story, but also the fruit of their experience that they have recorded in The Beautiful Life Sailing – The Art of Sailing Life. Illustrated with captivating photographs, the chapters of the book cover the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of a stay on the water, whether for a few days or a few years: demystifying daily life on board , logistics, cooking, choice of boat, management of relations between crew members, coordination with professional activities, eco-responsibility… but also the favorite destinations of the authors.
Even if, like the author of these lines, you suffer from seasickness on a simple paddle board, discovering and understanding this reality through the book is already a journey in itself. Still, the question arises: is the sailing life for me? Marie-Pier Grenier will bring some back to earth.
Those who have the job profile will certainly be tempted to take the first step. The sailor recommends, in this case, to get started gently, with a course at a certified school or for a few days, or even a night, in the company of a sailor friend, if you are lucky enough to know one. . The flame still flickers? We can intensify the courses and consider investing in a first modest boat. “It will not necessarily be the boat with which we will go around the world, but which will be used to spend a summer in the Magdalen Islands, to sail on the river. If the stars are still in your eyes, you can start shopping for a sailboat more suitable for a long-term lifestyle and get started, without waiting for the perfect moment, because it never comes,” says Marie-Pier Grenier.
How much time should I plan for preparation? It depends. Objectives, crew, sailing experience… a host of parameters come into play, Marie-Pier Grenier prefers to advise remaining flexible and open, without setting too rigid a framework. “We may plan to leave in a year, maybe the boat we need will not be on the market…”, she illustrates.
La belle vie sailing is not only full of excellent tips for setting up its maritime projects, it also destroys certain myths. Including that of the eternal illusion of “total freedom” supposedly offered by the life of sailing. For the duo of authors, there is no need to hide their face: “Our clients always expressed this reflection, but we did not understand this feeling. Yes, they free themselves from the pressure of a social framework, but only to fall into a completely different environment of responsibilities. The freedom we gain on one side, we lose on the other. Marie-Pier Grenier holds up several examples, such as the vagaries of the weather or damage on board, capable of annihilating the desire to travel.
It is also necessary to know how to manage harmony on board, because the challenges follow one another, sometimes in a restricted environment. Sacrosanct communication is essential, in listening and respect. “It’s not just the captain who will make the decisions, you have to ask yourself if the crew is ready to continue”, underlines the entrepreneur, who insists on the importance of the general accomplishment. Everyone on board must feel that they have a role to play, a target, whether it’s blogging, writing a book or studying remotely. Among their many counterparts crossed over the rivers, Adrien Bernier Nadeau and Marie-Pier Grenier have seen great successes, but also failures. “In the majority of cases, it was the project of one and not necessarily the other, who did not necessarily feel valued, had no goal, no objective, no personal achievement,” they confide.
But when the chemistry settles, it can operate, even in the family. A chapter of the book is also devoted to clans, showing us how entire tribes manage to flourish thanks to their marine way of life, organized according to their needs. Children can be “homeschooled” or enrolled at a local school if they drop moorings on an island for a session. “It takes skills, know-how, but they are beautiful models of inspiration,” believes Marie-Pier Grenier.