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.
I rolled my eyes. The Turks are so passionate, so loving, so—crazy! I’d just let Nadire read a pre-publication copy of my latest how-to marine book, and she’d been far too effusive in her praise. The only part of the manuscript that puzzled her was how often I’d mentioned the word “karma” in a missive about yachting on a shoestring. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
A week or so later, Carolyn and I were both finally decompressing into Full Cruising Mode. She’d fallen into her Kindle, and I was lost in marlin-spike seamanship. We’d already completely forgotten what day of the week it was. The only problem was our crowded Psérimos anchorage.
Perhaps we’d anchored in the only good holding spot. Anyway, a number of boats had anchored the proper distance ahead of us, then dragged down while setting. Now two boats, the giant catamaran Papillion from England and the small monohull Froggy from Sweden, had ended up too close. At first I’d glared at them, before I caught myself. Hell, I don’t own the ocean or its anchorages. To atone for my selfishness, I rowed over and invited them to Wild Card for sundowners. Bill and Lois, the Brits, were a tad skeptical. “Don’t worry,” I reassured them. “I’m not selling anything. We’re just desiring the pleasure of your company.”
A few hours later, we were all are laughing in the cockpit of Wild Card as Lou Lou and Pelle vividly described their wonderful North Sea adventures aboard Froggy. We quickly became cruising buddies, easily bound together by our mutual love of the sea. Just before leaving, Bill asked to buy one of our books, but I turned him down. “No commerce,” I scolded as I gave him a complimentary limited edition, signed and numbered, that we’ve privately printed for just such occasions.
“You know, we could use the money,” said Carolyn, ever the practical one, later that evening as we prepared for bed.
“Yeah, we could,” I added. “But friends are more valuable than customers, even if you never see them again.”
A week later, we were sailing in the lee of Kálimnos when we were hit by our first meltemi. It was far stronger than I’d been led to believe, with ferocious 45-knot gusts accompanied by vicious, choppy seas.
At first, I was perplexed. It sounded like a cannon shot, loud and stunning. We were deeply dipping our rail to port. Then I ducked as a white dove fluttered past my head.
A white dove?
No, wait a minute. They were billowing paper towels blowing in the wind astern. Huge paper towels. Two-meter by two-meter Dacron towels, being dispersed by a 42-foot-long paper-towel dispenser on our forestay.