When the Wrong Sail is the Right Sail
Call it fate, karma, or kismet. Call it whatever you like, but some encounters, and the sails that turn up with them, are meant to be. From our October 2012 issue.
“But I told you!” said Carolyn in exasperation as we were about to cast off from the Finike Marina, in Antalya, on Turkey’s south coast. “This sail is totally shot!”
Alas, my wife was correct on both counts: She’d told me in Thailand, a year and 8,000 ocean miles ago, that our working jib needed replacing—and now it was obvious that the sail was almost completely worthless. Sometimes I squeeze a penny a bit too hard, and this was a perfect example. Frugality’s fine; being too cheap isn’t. I’m forever tacking between the two.
The problem was that we had neither time nor money to order a replacement headsail if we wanted to cruise in Greek waters this summer. In addition, my personal income was dropping along with everyone else’s in the West—and we were attempting to sail the same number of ocean miles on fewer and fewer pennies. When you’re truly down to the bone, it’s difficult to “cut out the extras” because there are none. Our cruising belts were so tight that it was getting hard to breathe.
But I’ve never allowed logic or rationality to get in the way of a good sail. We were in the Med. A glorious summer awaited. And I wasn’t about to allow the future to intrude on the present.
But damn it, the sad condition of this jib, which was faded and beginning to tear, was a real setback. Our engine was already running. We were just about to cast off for the Aegean Sea. “I can nurse the sail for a couple of more miles,” I said breezily. “It’s been hanging in there for 12 years and 70,000 miles. Surely I can squeeze out a few more.”
Carolyn looked doubtful.
I smiled, brushed the dark Italian hair from her lovely brown eyes, and whispered softly, “‘We sail around the world on the pennies that Scotsmen throw away,’ remember?”