My ex-boss’s first mistake was to invite me sailing on her yacht. My record with sailboats is, to say the least, ominous. Any sailors with a belief in bad omens should not allow me anywhere near their gangplanks.
Her second mistake was to put me at the helm while she and her husband furled the sails at the end of our voyage that summer’s evening.
Previously, I had sailed with a family friend off the coast of East Africa in a yacht that also served as his home; a few months later, the boat caught fire and sank, leaving him homeless.
And then, in 1998, I spent a day aboard the Windjammer schooner Fantome off the coast of Belize. Ten days later, she was lost with all hands while attempting to ride out Hurricane Mitch. I am still haunted by the happy conversations I had with members of the crew so shortly before they met their terrible fate.
This was the baggage I took with me when, for reasons best known to her, my ex-boss asked me to spend an afternoon sailing on the Solent, the busy strait between the English port of Southampton and the Isle of Wight. It is a notoriously treacherous waterway, prone to complex currents and abrupt changes of weather. I approached the excursion with a sense of foreboding.
My apprehension subsided out on the water. Sitting in the stern, I watched my hosts as they dashed frenetically around the deck, instinctively ducking to avoid the unpredictable sweep of the boom. On the outward leg, we had the wind behind us. The sails billowed and the boat sliced easily through the water.
Returning to the mainland was trickier, but it was then that I was able to feel something of the romance of sailing. Tacking this way and that, we were subverting the power of nature, effectively using the headwind to propel us forward.
Although the yacht tilted to seemingly precarious angles, my two companions showed no concern and continued to scurry about, putting sails up, taking them down, dodging the boom. All the while, I was exhilaratingly buffeted by salty air and shards of spray.
In declining light, we set course for the yacht’s mooring on the banks of the River Itchen. After entering the comparative safety of the river, I was handed control. Almost immediately, I faced a problem. A major road bridge spanned the river ahead of us, and I hadn’t been given instructions as to which side of the central pillar I was supposed to steer.
With increasing desperation, I shouted to my hosts. They were temporarily deafened by the flap of descending sails. Torn between the two options, I froze. The yacht closed in on the bridge’s massive concrete support.
“Starboard!” yelled my ex-boss. It didn’t help. When she saw that I was still frozen, she corrected her third mistake. “Right! Right! Right!”
A combination of blind terror and nautical illiteracy had rendered me immobile. Her husband dashed to my side and steered the yacht to safety. I don’t know precisely how close we came to disaster. My eyes were closed.
We tied the boat up in silence. I went to my car, got in and wondered why the seatbelt wouldn’t reach around me. I figured it out eventually. I was still wearing a luminous orange life jacket. Reluctant to compound my embarrassment, I considered driving away regardless. But common sense prevailed. With a sheepish apology, I returned the life jacket to my erstwhile hosts. With my track record, they might need it in the not-too-distant future.
Celebrate World Vegan Day Nov. 1, with these vegan dishes from around the world.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
The Hotel AMERON Zurich Bellerive au Lac, forged from the collaborative efforts of interior design firm Monoplan AG and other cutting-edge design firms, bills itself as a celebration of the 1920s and ‘30s aesthetic. The story behind it is compelling as the building dates to 1928 and has connections with the early days of Switzerland's movie industry. However, there are several fun Mid-Century Modern and late 20th-century design touches in the public and private areas. Clearly, it's going for the "modern luxury" vibe Millennial and Gen-X business and leisure travelers look for when seeking a quality smaller property with a great location.
InterContinental New York Barclay is the perfect spot for luxury in the heart of Manhattan. With the 1946 Package, enjoy a two-night stay in the Penthouse Suite, an exclusive InterContinental75 cocktail lesson with a mixologist, 75-minute couples massage with Zeel, a movie screening on the Penthouse Suite terrace with classic films from the year of InterContinental’s birth with a premium 1946 vintage wine to enjoy.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
One of the many fallouts from the turbulent past 1.5 years of pandemic-related travel restrictions and lockdowns has been the rethinking and imminent restructuring of loyalty programs throughout the travel industry, from airline and hotel brands to cruise and rental car companies. Loyalty programs are more than a perk for customers; they can be worth more than the brand itself for the program owners and operators. For example, the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, is valued at roughly $6 billion, whereas its passenger loyalty program, AAdvantage, boasts an estimated worth of $24 billion according to a recent analysis by Financial Times.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Ayutthaya, Thailand, with us.