The Littlest Mermaid!


This little rebel princess belongs to the family on Gentilina, the previous two interviews. I had no idea that she would accept to tell me about herself because she just turned six years old and I’ve never seen her still for more than two minutes in a row. I tried imagining to sit down with her and ask my questions, but while talking she dances, jumps on the rigging of the boat and constantly listens to music or draws and annoys the cats of the boat that in her hands don’t look much like predators!

Leilani loves fairy tales and legends. In fact, her little figure wants to turn into a strong Amazon with arrows and armor. She even builds herself bows, makes arrows from bamboo and hunts all the monsters. She is a very talented artist, very often she comes to our boat and rings the bell holding wildflowers in one hand (the fairy seeker, as she calls them) and a drawing for each of us in the other.

Leilani dances…constantly. On the bimini of the boat, in the cockpit, on the dock, on the beach (often it happens on the notes of Dead or Alive – “You spin me round (like a record, baby!)” or to Sia – “Rainbow”, LSD – “ No friends”). Often she drags someone she likes to participate in her lessons. And she is a severe teacher, you get to repeat the ballet exercises until your muscles give up. Yes, your muscles will give up well before Leilani!

I could go on and try to narrate her fabulous world, and she keeps everything interesting and fun, but here is her interview: 

Tell me about your life before becoming a sailor and a liveaboard. 

I am originally from Italy and I lived in Novara for 3 years. I used to go to kindergarten and I would cling to my mom if my favorite teacher wasn’t there. My mom or my dad would come to pick me up.In the evening usually I would have dinner, either with mom or dad and Valerio, my brother. Later on, I played with my toys… My favorite one was the panther and I drew a lot.

– Who do you sail with?

I sail on my boat Gentilina, which is very beautiful… I heard we should change it, but I don’t want to… to me she is my little cub! She is my favorite boat! I navigate with my brother, Valerio and sometimes I get nauseous… but it is not only my problem, it happens also to my two cats, Pacho and Vicky (once she puked in our friend’s Luca luggage, he was our guest with my uncle Federico). Of course, there are also my two parents, Marina and Fabio.

 – What is it like to liveaboard with your family? 

It is beautiful to sail even though sometimes I get bothered by nausea. I like it very much when I see dolphins and they come to visit me every year for my birthday ( except the last one because we are living in a marina, but they came around on our beach in the port!)! Also, flying fish are a lot of fun.

 – Do you miss living on land and what do you miss about living on land? 

I don’t miss living on land, and however, sometimes we go back to Italy by airplane. I miss my panther a lot, my dinosaurs, even though I have to admit that I have a lot of toys in my little cabin! I very much miss my grandparents and my cousin Matilda. Sometimes they come to visit us aboard Gentilina.

 – How do you study? Do you like it? What are you interested in? 

I do not study yet, but I am learning how to write and read!

(The other day she was in punishment, she was closed in her cabin for the time out. After a while, she slipped a note to her parents from under the door saying: “ Let me out please!”… she is smarty pants when she needs something 🙂

 – Do you have hobbies? Who taught you about your hobbies?  

On a nice day, I like playing on the beach. My dad put up a swing here in marina Mandraki. When we sail I like going on the bow to check if there are dolphins around. When we are on an anchorage, I like playing in the sea and diving from the boat. I love pretending that I am a mermaid. This year I’ll ask Santa to give me a mermaid tail so I can play in the water with my inflatable unicorn… When the weather is ugly I like watching movies and playing to book games  (an interactive book that you use with dice) with my brother, my dad, or my mom. I also like playing on the tablet,  but my parents don’t allow me to do it every day.

 – What kind of boat do you live on?

I live on Genilina! It’s the first model of Oceanis Beneteau 430, now they made more of the new ones which are more spacious (but just a little bit more). However, I prefer my little cub Gentilina.

– What do you love and hate most about your boat? 

What I like the most about Gentilina is my cabin because in Summertime it stays cool and I also have a compartment under my bunk bed where I can keep all of my toys. During the Wintertime, I like my aft cabin because it stays the warmest.

– How long have you been sailing? 

It has been about 3 years now.

 – What’s the best thing about sailing and your favorite moment while sailing?

The best moment is when dolphins come around the boat and when, at sunset, the sky and the sea become pink and the sun turns peach color.

– What are the most memorable anchorages and places you sailed to?

My favorite place to anchor is Vido, it is an island in front of Kerkyra. I like to go on the island and explore because there are pheasants and bunnies. Also, Moni Island is quite gorgeous. The water is turquoise and on land, there are peacocks and free deers. Lakka and Paxos are amongst my very favorite ones too. I spent a Summer there because my mom worked in a shop. Paxos is the flower island.

 – What is the craziest/scariest thing that happened while sailing?

The craziest thing that happened is when I puked on my 100 fairy tales goodnight book. I didn’t actually puke on it, but almost, it was a close call.

 – If you could change your boat’s name to anything else, what would it be and why?

No! You should never change the name of the boat because she will sadden.

 – What is your dreamboat?

I don’t want to change the boat! Gentilina is my favorite boat in the world. But if I had to sell her, I’d love the boat that my dad showed me, the Comet 50. I liked it very much because everyone would have a cabin with a private bathroom!

 – If you could pick anyone to sail with, who would it be? 

I would like to navigate with my cousin Matilda and the other cousin Gaia. Matilda is an expert in rollerblading and my cousin Gaia is a professional dancer, she is specialized in Pole dance. Dancing is my big passion! I dance all the time…. on the beach, on Gentilina, and on the dock.

 – Share a funny story while sailing

 One time my grandfather was crossing the passerelle and he fell into the water. A girl came running to take a selfie with him being unfortunate.

 – Do you have a favorite myth/legend

My favorite legend is about Amazons. I think they really existed. I like them because they were strong and had gorgeous armors! Also, I like Ariel the little mermaid.

I told ya she is the littlest mermaid!

 – What is your dream? 

 I would love to learn how to do magic and turn into a mermaid, or a unicorn, or to become an Amazon! I would like to become a mom and I wouldn’t dislike experiencing an adventure like Star Wars.

 – Do you see yourself living on a boat when you get older?

 Yes, I would love it, with many kitten cubs, a dog, and a wolf!

 – What is your idea of freedom?

Freedom is to do what you please! 

Meeting Leilani and taking a dive into her magic world was like having a surprise color fest. The colors and the stories she shares are such a refreshing point of view that I hope we’ll sail for a long-long time together!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve says:

    Thank you for a beautiful story, about an exceptional young girl.


  2. What a truly wonderful story, so beautifully told. Thank you. xx


    1. Thank you so much for checking this post and leaving such a nice comment! 😊


      1. Sadly, they sold GENTILINA, my heart is so sad. 😥


      2. I know it, they are like family to me and we all miss Gentilina. But they are not giving up on adventures and, maybe someday, they’ll be back on a boat!


    2. Thank you so much for checking this post and leaving such a nice comment! 😊


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