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.
Kléftiko turned out to be an amazing place, full of giant pools of water amid the lofty rocks, just perfect for spider-webbing two yachts into. We were soon aboard the pristine Gliki, which was so bright and shiny next to our shabby, storm-weary Wild Card.
Papa Gosh was flitting from one conversation group to the other, playing raucous drinking games with each. I don’t drink, so I forced my wife to uphold our vessel’s honor. “Put your liver on the line for American yachting, babe,” I whispered to her. “At least match him shot for shot for a couple of rounds.”
“I’d die of alcohol poisoning within minutes of consuming that much ouzo,” she said, totally intimidated by the man’s prodigious intake.
It was quite a boat party, spinning more wildly out of control with every bottle uncorked.
At some point, Papa Gosh wanted to let out more scope on his anchor, and he started to go aft to switch on his windlass.
“Just let out the clutch,” I suggested.
“It doesn’t work that way,” said Papa Gosh. “I wish it did. It’s a pain to always have to use the electrics. I even called the factory in Sweden and complained about it, but they said this windlass model only lowers electrically.”
Now frankly, there’s something about expensive, pristine yachts that bring out the devil in me. Plus everyone was drunk and I wasn’t, which always puts me in a feisty mood.
“Do you have a jackhammer?” I asked. “Or maybe some explosives?”
For the first time, I saw Papa Gosh’s smile slip. His teak decks were immaculate. He might be crazy, but he was neat crazy. He glanced nervously over to the rust-streaked, gelcoat-gouged hull of Wild Card.
“Er, no,” he said.
“Then give me a sledgehammer,” I demanded. “Give me the biggest one you’ve got on board.”
He came up from the engine room with a decent-sized ball peen hammer.
“It’ll have to do,” I said. “Any eye protection? Or some headphones to dampen the sound? No? Well, we’ll just have to take our chances, then.”
By this point, the entire party had stopped and gathered around the foredeck to watch. Some shielded their eyes; others held their ears.
I dramatically reared back the hammer as if to strike a mighty blow, but then I only barely tapped the salt-stuck (and now unobtrusively unclutched) chain gypsy as the chain began to gently pay itself out with gravity.