Word of the expedition doesn’t seem to have spread far in Italy, or maybe the Italians just aren’t into the local contact concept, so in theory my support here is rather thinly spread. If that had been a worry it didn’t last long. A few hundred metres over the border, at a semi-secret beach under the railway arches, are the first examples of Italian openness and hospitality: a cup (plastic, of course…) of prosecco from one group; then G&T, a balcony to sleep on, and some fruit for breakfast from another. Next day I spot a labouring Hobie Cat way out to sea. Curious, I head out to investigate and so meet Giacomo and Francesco – two young lads setting off that day on the start of their Giro d’Italia. They are overloaded and real slow, but sitting down and taking turns they can put the hours in, so by the end of the day we are sharing beers and the unofficial race is on! For a few days we trade positions in the Ligurian Sea, before they shed some weight, buy some paddles, do a night sail and then disappear over the horizon for good. The only way I could match their mileage would be to ruin my fingers. Good luck to the boys, I wish I had started proper adventures at their age.