Digging through my lockers looking for something fun to eat I stumbled across a bottle of Caribbean rum, this could be fun I thought to myself. My last can of pineapple was served for dinner and the nectar of the islands made a perfect rum punch. writers and booze, go figure.
The Internet is down and I’m sick of all the books aboard so I pulled out my old log book for a trip down the islands of time. The boat was an old Ericson 27 purchased through probate, it set us back 2500 bucks and came with a brand new Diesel engine and the wrong prop. Day one we added new rigging, the sails were tired and we couldn’t coax more than 2.2 knots at 2200 rpm’s with that crap propeller. Easter weekend at Catalina was amazing but all too soon we had to get back to the mainland. We didn’t have a dingy so I jumped the shore boat for a ride to grab 4 lattes for the 26 mile sail to Seal Beach. It looked a bit nasty out so I asked the driver If she had heard the weather, she told me it was blowing 15 knots and should be a beautiful sail home. I remember thinking it looked a lot more like 25 but it all slipped from my mind. Julie my then girlfriend was very new to sailing and I didn’t want to scare her on the maiden island voyage of our little sailboat.
We had the main up before exiting the protected harbor of Avalon and the big jib want up just as fast. Less than five minutes after leaving the harbor and out of the lee of the island it hit us hard. The boat slammed over as I released the jib,, we were instantly out there and it was freaking crazy. I passed the helm to Julie who was already a rocking sailor after about 5 day sails. I got the big jib down while waves rolled across our decks burring me knee deep with every avalanch of water. I didn’t have any type of harness so I tied a rope around my waist and the mast on my way to put up the little jib. It was still way too much so I came back to reef the main sail. I had to lower the whole sail, reef it and then pull it back up. The swells were huge and half the battle was just staying on deck. I got the sail down and in the process the slug retainer fell loose and out went the entire main sail only held by the foot and Haliard. I looked back at Julie and smiled as I cursed the weather. I got the whole sail back aboard and fast to the boom, then crawled back to the cockpit.
One look back at the island and I was surprised at how small it already was, we discussed the sail plan and while still were over powered we went with just the little jib. I told Julie if she wanted to call it and head back to Avalon for a drink it was now or never. She asked me if we were in any danger and when I told her no she smiled and screamed into the wind. Sitting behind her, my arm wrapped around the winch to keep me from falling overboard I took pictures of the huge seas rolling right over our bow, it was beautiful and frightening all at the same time. Foam streaked across the surface of the water, the rigging moaned its mournful song and our little boat was booking.
Next thing I know I’m underwater having been slammed by a huge wave, both of us were awash as the cockpit was full of water. In the back of my mind my biggest fear is that Julie was going to flip her wig. I popped up searching for her face as and as she popped up drenched and sporting the biggest smile I have ever seen, she screamed over the wind, what the fuck! We got the boat back under control and continued on without a care in the world, this girl is a sailor. The further we got away form the islands the smaller and less steep the waves got until they were down to about 12′ with 25 knots of fairly steady breeze. Back at the dock a local racer came over and asked where we came in from, when we told him he asked if we would join his crew, couldnt get any of his buddies to sail on days like today. We both declined preferring out private little world. After the boat was all wrapped up, I gave Julie a hug, and handed her a glass of rum punch, she was and still is the real deal. There is no better feeling that being at sea with a good boat, a confident crew, and yo ho ho, a bottle of rum.
Where ever we want, we go. Captian jack Sparrow