Sleeping for a week or two in a tent on the beach, waking up in the morning and having breakfast while someone reads passages dedicated to the history of pirates, then understanding the difference between load-bearing and upwind winds and that between stopping, winding and gas nodes; and finally go out to sea, sailing. All this dedicated to able-bodied adolescents or with mental or physical difficulties, indifferently and all together: these are the courses of “Mal Di Mare”, a residential sailing school that hosts groups of children between 5 and 18 years old every year since ’95, but even before that, a kind of cultural center of the sea, almost a social center, nestled in the alleys of Trastevere in Rome since 1986.
The founder and animator of Mal Di Mare is Mauro Pandimiglio, who also this year hosts about 40 boys and girls per course, with the mission of “bringing them back to life, in this terrible period that has deeply shaken the youngest”. Successful mission since the courses are full from mid-May to mid-September.
“On this terrible occasion – says Pandimiglio, in a conversation with Adnkronos – I believe that the use of outdoor education has been underestimated, and especially at sea where the risk of contagion is close to zero. Last year, a worse period than this, we have been stubborn to stay ‘on track’ and present, precisely because we believe that it is necessary to have free and open spaces for the youngest. The pandemic has taught us how important it is to be together, to touch; the children, who make the group their reason. And it is a pity that the school and the Ministry of Education have not seized this opportunity: because it is not the pandemic that has closed the children but the measures taken to deal with it, and we adults we treated them as objects to be moved and maneuvered “.
By now the experience of all sports facilities is not consolidated, and even more so that of a sailing school like Pescia Romana: therefore a mandatory buffer before setting foot on the site, continuous sanitation, no contact with the outside: “you live all together here, you sleep in a tent on the beach, do all the chores in turns and together, as is customary at sea in a boat “.
The first courses of Mal Di Mare, Pandimiglio recalls, “also included experiences of nautical camping”, wandering on the boats called dinghies, landing on the beach, spending the night there and starting the next morning: “now it is more difficult but already the experience a week or two camping on the beach gives back a lot of that kind of life. ” What to say about training is an understatement: “the sea is a great teacher, and some needs it imposes are clearly evident to anyone, at any age”.
On the beach 35 dinghies, daily outings with instructors, arming and disarming, and the rudder in hand, a first experience for almost everyone: “and space for seafaring culture. This year we dedicate ourselves, every morning, to readings on the world of pirates which is often told in a distorted or superficial way. Last year it was Moby Dick “, concludes Pandimiglio. And starting the day with pirate utopias is certainly a great help in overcoming the period of seclusion that Covid has imposed on everyone.