“Ayúdame! Ayúdame!” It’s a call for help. I just turned around a point and misjudged the wind so the genoa was caught by the wind and the line snapped from my hand into the water. The main sail swung to the other side as I didn’t have it open enough. I reach for the genoa line and the helm veers to starboard.
Captain Cool comes up from below laughing and asking what he should do. “I don’t know! Ah… Grab the wheel!” I quickly rescue the line and adjust the genoa. Then I run to the main and look at CC with confusion. “I’m trying to sail with butterfly sails. The wind is coming from the stern, so why can’t I?” He shrugs his shoulders, smiles and asks what I’m going to do.
I was insistent that this time when we go sailing and he says he’s going to keep quiet and let me do everything, that he really does stay quiet. Hmmm…
I forgot to add, this happened upon exiting the marina….
I take the helm back and he asks what I’m going to do. I reply, “We’re about to turn again and the wind will be in my favour. I’m going to wait.” He laughs and asks if he can go back inside to be quiet. I laugh and say “For now!”
I took what I call the shortcut so we don’t have to go all the way through the channel. We always go through the channel when we have passengers because it is a smoother journey. However, we are alone and I like a challenge and big waves.
As we get closer to exiting the bay, the gusts of wind are stronger and I’m having a hard time steering. I want to trim the sails, but can’t leave my post because if I don’t stay on course the boat may veer where it’s too shallow. I am determined to get through the bouys solo…
Then a huge gust of wind comes and I turn the helm all the way to port side, but it’s not responding. I’m getting closer to the bouys and the waves are really crashing so I sheepishly shout through the wind, “I need some help!” CC comes out and asks if he can give me a tip. I say what I think should happen first. He makes the adjustments and we are out of the entrance bouys and in the big open sea.
Wow!! How big and beautiful it is today!! The waves are coming up from the stern (behind) and I don’t have much experience steering or even sailing in a strong downwind. Of course CC can’t help himself and he starts giving me tips and lessons. Which of course I am grateful for because I really have no idea what I’m doing!
All I know is that I love looking behind me and seeing a wave approach us as if it’s going to swallow the boat and then it gently rolls underneath, lifting us up and back down. I quickly get the hang of how to steer the boat to stay close to the course and do well when I concentrate on the steering.
The wind is so strong, the waves are so beautiful and the smile on my face is only half the reflection of what my heart feels. An hour into the sail, my face hurts from smiling. I feel so alive and so free!
I have to admit, there is a small level of fear. It is really hard to steer the boat and CC is coaching me on how to rescue him in this kind of sea should he fall overboard. I’d rather not think about that manoeuvre. But then again when I feel afraid and excited, I know I really am alive and I respect life that much more.
As CC worries the line that’s towing the dinghy is going to break, I am concerned about the huge cargo ship that is leaving the channel and crossing our path. CC asks what I think and after my response, he says it doesn’t matter if I tack now or later because it will go faster than us. We are not on a collision course.
So I sit back and watch the roaring sea, feel the wind on my face and my teeth and admire this massive ship which is one of the most serious risks a sailboat has. I remember all the metaphors I have made about the sea and life. I feel truly at peace.
The great thing about sailing with CC is that he understands how I feel about sailing. He leaves me be to think, to bask in my peace and to enjoy being in the exact moment where I am and nowhere else. He just keeps quiet until I make a comment about the beauty around us. A beauty we both see and feel with every bone in our bodies. It truly is a pleasure to sail with him.
As we get closer to our favourite secluded lagoon, the sea calms and I am once again in charge of the boat. I drop the anchor as the remainder of the sunset illuminates our lagoon and the silence embraces me and calms me after the excitement of the sail.
We take a skinny dip into the lagoon and wait until the last of the sun fades away so we can play with the plankton in the water. It glows with each movement of our hands and lights up the lagoon like the stars light up the night sky.
A perfect ending to a perfect day.
I may not have sailed all by myself, but I learned something more important. I have a lot yet to learn and a lifetime to learn it.