I went with my children to see Disney's latest movie, Moana, recently. I normally view family cinema visits as an opportunity for a nap - we pay €30 or so, and I get to sleep for an hour and a half whilst everyone else is entertained and fed.
This time, though, was different. For those that don't know, the movie is about the mainly ocean-based adventures of a Polynesian girl (Moana) and a demi-god called Maui. It was an opportunity to see some sailing on the big screen, so I braced myself to stay fully awake for the duration to see what I could learn to improve my sailing.
But, to be honest, there wasn't an awful lot I could learn from the movie - the techniques on display were far more advanced than I could cope with. Some of the trapezing was incredible - I would even say it was unrealistic if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. And there is a capsize recovery technique, using a magical fishhook, that is incredibly efficient. I'll need to watch it again in slow-motion in order to fully understand how it is done, but I'll certainly be heading to the chandlers to buy a large fishhook fashioned by the Polynesian gods as it would clearly be an advantage on a breezy day.
Moana also uses the tried and trusted technique of choosing a top sailor as a crewmate so she can learn quickly - but she takes it a step further than most by selecting a demi-god rather than a mere human. It becomes very clear that she has made a wise decision as her sailing advances at an astonishing rate, and I'll be enlisting the first sailing demi-god I find to help me next season.
One other idea to improve my sailing was also inspired by the movie but, on reflection, I fear it may not work. Moana sails particularly fast when being chased by a kind of volcanic fire monster, approximately 50 feet in height, and with the ability to shoot burning projectiles considerable distances. At first it seems obvious - find a 50 foot volcanic fire monster and have them launch projectiles at you in order to improve performance in major regattas. But, if you think carefully enough, there is a flaw to this idea: There is every chance that it may speed my competitors up just as much as it speeds me up, so I've decided to mothball this particular plan for now.
According to my wife and children, there were also lots of life-affirming bits about inner-strength, and working as a team, and caring for the planet, but these must have occurred between the sailing bits and I was somewhat distracted trying to each as much popcorn as I could until the next bit of sailing came on.
But they seemed to enjoy the movie, and I got some excellent tips for my sailing, so everyone was a winner.
I do look forward to my next family cinema trip though. I missed my nap, that was for sure.