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.
We had a wonderfully rowdy meal together. They insisted on returning in the morning to hoist me aloft for a little masthead rewiring job I’d planned. We gave them, as always, one of our special books, signed and numbered.
While a watched pot never boils, it often bubbles immediately once you glance away. As we were saying good-bye to our French guests, running lights appeared alongside—and a grinning Papa Gosh appeared on Gliki’s rail, casually tossing over a sail bag on the way to his mooring.
The minute the bag hit the deck, I knew it was all wrong.
I’d waited in vain, stupidly. It wasn’t the right size and shape, and it bounced wrong. I peered in. It was a brand-new spinnaker, not a jib.
I sighed, glumly, and noticed the sail bag Jimmy on Blue Moon had dropped off. Maybe it wasn’t too terribly small after all. It was a windless night with a full moon, and I was now truly up the proverbial creek without a paddle. What did I have to lose? So I hoisted up the Jim’sal, which had evidently been stuffed in the wrong sail bag, because it fit our 42-foot hoist like a glove.
As Papa Gosh rowed up after dropping off his guests, I was internally laughing about the absurdities of the cruising life and its amazing, beautiful ironies. Papa Gosh took it all in cosmic stride. “So I brought back a different sail, and the one you wanted arrived because you waited. Excellent! Now you have two new sails for Wild Card, a jib and a spinnaker. What did I tell you, Fatty, when we first met? Not to worry, eh? That everything would be all right, correct? Well? Isn’t it?”
I had to admit that it was, better than any sailor with empty pockets could possibly hope for.
The following morning, after I’d been hoisted aloft by the French boys, Carolyn and I headed out on the next leg of our 7,000-mile journey back to St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was rough outside the harbor. Wild Card romped along at eight knots with her new racing Jim’sal from North Sails. There was a lot of spray and wind. I knew I’d be losing cellular coverage soon, so I dialed Nadire’s number in Istanbul fast. It wasn’t easy to hear her voice on the other end, so I quickly blurted out my story of Papa Gosh and the Right/Wrong Sail. I wasn’t sure we were still connected, but then I heard her laughing. “I get it, Fatty, I get it! It’s karma!”