Waiting to sail

by Chuck June 5, 2003

There's this moment, right after you hoist the sails and turn off the motor, when the wind fills the sails and the boat starts to heel. The motor falls silent, and you can hear the water splashing past the bow and gurgling past the transom.

Pull the tiller up a little, and the bow falls off and the sails fill and the a little spray kicks up over the deck and you're off across the water. Playing the tiller and the sheets, feeling the wind and the waves.

That moment you connect with generations of sailors heading back into history and forward into eternity. For an hour, a day, a week you use man's skill to harness the power of the Mother, not to impose our will on Nature as we so often do in this day, but to cooperate with the world we find around us to move us where we want or need to go.

It's been a long time coming this year. Odyssey's transom was more work than I anticipated. Little League seemed to expand to take over our lives. The farm needed more work than ever to get under control this spring. Cats and dogs and chickens and children and deadlines at work seemed to pile up an endless screaming demand for more and more and more of my time...

But last night I put the last of the gear aboard Odyssey. The anchor is stored below. The tiller and the rudder are waiting on the cabin seat ready to be shipped. The safety equipment and flares and ropes and fenders and cushions and all the many things that need to be aboard are stowed in their places on board. I tied the halyard shackles to the new halyards. I spread the sails out on the lawn and refolded them to ease the strains of being packed into sail bags for the winter.

Soon. A day. A week. Maybe two. And then we'll be out on the water and the motor will be off and I'll pull the tiller up and the sails will fill and the only sound will be wind and the soft gurgle of the water closing behind Odyssey as we rejoin the sailors.



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