Tuesday 15 April 2008

Dalí's boat

Salvador Dalí sailed a llaut; I saw it once at the Barcelona boat show, bright yellow and named Gala after his wife and muse.

Recently as I hurried through the new industrial estate outside Cadaqués I was happily surprised to see the llaut Gala. She’d shrugged off the front corner of her tarp for a sniff of the Tramontana and was looking quite sprightly despite her years. Apparently the llaut is due for restoration. I found it easy to imagine Dalí with his cane and moustache, his wife artistically sprawled, as they pootled around the rocky coast of Cap de Creus.

Dalí’s house at Port Ligat was originally a fisherman’s cottage that grew over the years with Salvador in residence, eventually sprouting eggs on the roof. Amongst the surreal images around I particularly liked this ‘dinghy with tree’ and these sundials, the first is by Dalí and the second is in his style though I don’t know who it’s by.

I’d taken Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander to read (for the third time) knowing that O’Brian wrote the Aubrey/Maturin books just up the coast over the French border in Colliure and that he, like Dalí, was inspired by the Mediterranean light that plays over this rugged landscape. It was a pleasure to read of Jack Aubrey’s adventures as they seemed to be taking place just over the horizon. Aubrey, in command of the 14 gun sloop 'Sophie', captures the 32 gun lateen rigged xebec frigate, 'Cacafuego', in a brilliantly audacious action and while I was wondering what a xebec might look like I came across a model shop in a Cadaqués back street with one on display.

Enjoying the wind and the light.


Baddaddy said...

On the matter of xebecs... Did you ever see this post?



Ben said...

Yes I did Gav, I remember being struck by the story told in the song.

I like the idea of a small boat with a lateen foresail and balanced lug at the mizzen.

Hopefully this summer I'll get to sail in a lateen rigged boat, a chance to check out it's reputed qualities.