Sunday, January 20, 2019

Moana inspires a new generation of sailors

A Polynesian island

I have a theory based on my grandnephew Ziggy's propensity to navigate the seas to Te Fiti, the legendary island from which the demi-god Maui stole the heart gemstone. Ziggy gets in his boat (a cardboard box with a noodle mast) and uses his oar (a plastic shovel) to navigate to the place where the sky meets the sea. Ziggy is not quite three years old. We haven't figured out a sail yet but he wants the sheets to pull on like Moana does in the movie. The entire time  we are 'sailing' he sings the last two lines of the refrain in an indistinguishable language ad nauseum until he reaches the far shore.

Polynesian canoe
When we reach the destination (I am his navigator but he says I can't be because I'm Nana not an alligator!), we get into the dinghy (a wooden box) and I have to paddle ashore and beach the boat. Then Ziggy has to run around the island searching for the place where the heart fits before we set off and do it again.

Half the time he tells me I'm doing it wrong. When I ask him if he'd like to go sailing with Nana he lights up and says 'yes' emphatically. But when I show him our boat, it's clearly not adequate. A 57-foot ketch does not compare with a Polynesian canoe with outrigger. Oh no.

So here's my theory. There are thousands, if not millions, of little kids hooked on Moana watching the movie over and over and dreaming about crossing oceans to save their people. And when these kids grow up, they are going to want to learn how to sail. So let's not screw it up. Let's not teach them to go around in circles around race marks. Let's teach them to sail off to the place where the sky meets the sea to find that far away land of our ancestors. Let's not kill the dreams with lots of yelling. After all, Moana was self-taught. Let's remember that it's still possible to become a sailor without first being a racer.

By the way, Disney is about to launch their own channel so they are letting all their contracts with Netflix and other streaming services expire. They caused a run on CDs of Moana when it disappeared from Netflix just before Christmas. Apparently, the CD was selling online for $75. You see, there's a force unleashed here. Disney will be the salvation of sailing one generation from now. Yes! Let's go with the flow.

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