Birth of a Sea Gypsy
When Fatty passes Wild Card’s tiller to her new owner, he discovers that his trusty vessel has fallen into just the right set of hands.
He should know. He takes part in marathons all over the world, even double marathons. Next year, he plans on competing in a 100-plus-mile footrace. “It is all in the head,” he says, tapping his. “Well, the feet too!”
What does he do to relax between marathons? Ironman contests, of course. “Pretty funny because at first I not know how to swim, and have to learn so I don’t drown, as you can’t win if dead!”
Robin is under no delusion that he’s ready for offshore voyaging. He meticulously plans his “free time” with the same intensity as his business hours. “I will take some sailing courses, and perhaps have a tutor help me aboard Wild Card as well. Once I am comfortable sailing and maintaining her, I will begin spreading my wings. This process is years, not weeks. I know that. But you have to begin somewhere. You have to start. So I start with Wild Card and the King of the Sea Gypsies!”
It doesn’t take Robin long to realize that the strongest member of my team is Carolyn. “Underwater, she hold breath longer,” Robin says. “Above water, very strong for female. In both places, strong in mind, too!”
We train from dawn to dusk, and we cram after dinner, as well. Robin is intrigued with our three sink faucets (fresh, semi, and salt), our solar array, and our wind generator. Plus, he wonders, how much can be packed into tiny Wild Card?
“How did you go four and a half months without reprovisioning or taking on water? It seems impossible in such a small space,” he say after we tell him of our time spent at an Indian Ocean paradise.
“The fish jump into the frying pan in Chagos,” Carolyn explains. “At first, we had fish every other night. Then nightly. Then for lunch and breakfast, too!”
Robin’s eyes sizzle with intensity. You can almost see the wheels turning in his massive head. “I want to be where the fish jump into your arms,” he says.
He says it softly, not as a boast but as a simple declarative statement.
Here is a self-actuated, self-made man, getting the best from modern America. Only a fool would bet against him.
Day after day we sail, we work on Wild Card, and we chat, like old friends. It’s wonderful to see, this lust for the open ocean from a landlubber who’s never experienced her charms.
Story after story, sea yarn after sea yarn, I tell him tales about how wonderful and generous and kind people are all over the world.
“You know the best part?” Robin asks me as we watch the sun hiss into the western mountain astern. “No guns! I will bring no guns! I will sail in peace with my fellow man, and in harmony with nature.”
“Excellent!” I concur. “That’s the Wild Card style!”
Just then, an inflatable detaches itself from an Island Packet at anchor nearby, and a couple putt-putts over.”
“Nice boat,” they say, as they soak up Wild Card’s graceful lines and no-nonsense hardware.
I say nothing and feel odd.
Robin’s pride of ownership is obvious. “Yes, she is, isn’t she?” he says with great happiness.
Cap’n Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander are plotting waypoints and heading westward yet again.