I am Diyana Minkova – the daughter of the yacht maniac Plamen Minkov. My love for the sea flows through my veins and before you think ‘how trivial’, I will hurry to tell you how my innate love for the sea and yachts turned into yacht mania.
I witnessed the metamorphosis of my father’s obsession from our inflatable boat to our current yacht – ‘Condor’. When I was only four years old, my parents got me on a sailing yacht for the first time. We were on a vacation somewhere by the Black Sea coast and we were having fun with our inflatable boat all day by the beach, but on my father’s birthday we rented a small sailing yacht and sailed offshore, where our inflatable boat couldn’t get. People say that small children don’t have many real memories, but what I felt then repeated every time when we were drifting on the waves.
When we bought our first yacht ‘Iron Lady’, I was already seven years old. I remember one of our first voyages – I stood at the front – on the bow of the yacht, watching the vast blue sea and told to myself that despite the fact that my life is in the city, my heart is at the sea. I knew I felt love, yes, love to the sea, the wind, the sailing.
Now I am not a child anymore, but I continue to stand by those words even more emphatically.
My love for the sea and sailing turned gradually into a yacht obsession through all the summers that I spent every day on the ‘Iron Lady’.
At the beginning I was only running around as quick as a flash, carrying around food and drinks for us and for our guests, entertaining the people around me with my childlike ‘competent’ statements on all issues. I listened to the big captains talking with special and strange marine terms. I was learning to tie sailing knots by carefully observing the repeating movements every time. I watched the crew working as a team – the two captains Plamen Minkov and Kosta Kostadinov, and my brother Minko Minkov, who was eleven-year-old cabin boy then. I absorbed every moment, remembered every movement and every command. These people taught me to sail.
While I was growing, I started getting more work – from cleaning and arranging the yacht to pulling the sheets and holding the steering wheel. I knew every corner of the ‘Iron Lady’ and could hold the course without any deviation, because I was feeling every wave, every breeze, every capricious desire for movement of the yacht.
Today I am most proud of my skills to participate on equal terms with men when executing the orders of the captain.
The moment the captain says ‘set sail’, we are all aboard, knowing our roles. First of all, unmooring (untying) the ropes, weighing the anchor and setting sail, then undeploying the fenders and breathlessly expect to come out of the port to hear the command ‘hoist the sail’. Every member of the crew knows his/her place for lifting the sails. My brother and I understand each other with a single glance. Finally, the captain turns off the engine and our hearts are filled with supreme pleasure, love, with our maniac love for nature, sea and sailing.
I love every second of this routine process, which is the same to this day, irrespective of the yacht. Our crew has grown and different sailors and captains are part of the various voyages.
I love to be a sailor, I love to pull the ropes, to adjust the sails properly, to tack and jibe, to adjust and tie the ropes and to yacht, of course. To be commanded only by the fury of the wind and the sea, to move by sense – that feeling is unique and one-of-a-kind.
A wise person, who is very dear to me taught me a verse that could describe my love for the sea:
‘The sky, the sea, the heart,
three words, three secret riddles.
The heart, the sea, the sky,
three worlds, three endless abysses.’