By Eduardo Rincón Gallardo ● January 2013
On Christmas Day I got up rather late but wanting to make it a special day. After breakfast I asked my friend and compadre Chopon to go with me to Nuevo Vallarta. No. I insisted serveral times. No. Last call. No. Well, goodbye.
I arrived in Nuevo Vallarta and at one window of the Estudio Café I found Luli. “Ma’am, would you let Federico come out to play with me?” “No, he is still in his pijamas”
Well, since no-one wants to play with me I head to the docks and to “Spirit Bird” all wood and bronze, two masts, 44feet overall and twelve tons, beautiful at her 47 years of age.
Without giving it much thought, I let go of the bow line, pushed her from the dock and leapt into the cockpit, there I let go off the stern line and pushed the throttle easily forward. Feeling her moving the way she responds to your commands equals to an adrenalin dose you cannot obtain by other means.
Once out of the marina I sailed further away from the coast in order to maneuver freely. It was not long before the sun started to send the wind in my favour so I could unfurl my genoa against the wind and turn, fill it with wind energy and turn the engine off and start to travel, to travel in time and space, and in so many other dimensions; because this is the way we have been traveling for the past three to four thousand years, and who knows what amount of vibrations fill the sea from all those navigators and travellers who enjoyed, suffered, battled and dreamed great intensities during their journeys. Sailing, with the wind as their only accomplice.
Well, there I was, joyously enjoying, the wind , the sun, the sea, the landscape; feeling like the Sovereign of the Seas, when I realized my lack of foresight. I was lacking a cold beer (preferably a cold Pacífico) What a pity! All this beauty and me without a cold beer! Well, I tried to convince myself that all that surrounded me was something very few people could ever enjoy and I was very fortunate to have it and should not be so lusty.
After a little while l see another Ketch (two mast vessel, like mine) sailing in my same course. I keep my own but try to give her space in case she wants to overcome us.
She keeps coming closer and I let her steal my wind because I am in no hurry.
When we are close we say Hi! and I ask them if they have a beer for me. The captain says “down under” and sends a girl to fetch it, sailing past me in the meantime. When the girl comes out Captain looks back at me and says: “Sorry, too late”. I sign-tell him to throw it in the ocean and he tells me: “you sure you can fish it?” I Say: “Try me”.
So the Captain (thinking it a waste) drops the can in the water and I follow it with my eyes, a couple of seconds later I see it about twenty feet away, I dive and swim and catch it.
” I have a beer, now I had better catch up with my boat”
I swim back to Spirit Bird (I always leave a line behind to hold on to in case I fall) and I reach her.
But i cannot get back on board, She is sailing too fast and the strenght of the water will not let me get back on board with the line I put out for that purpose. I use all my strenght, my arms, my hands, my legs, but we are going too fast and my strenght is running out.
It is strange, when I am piloting I keep maintaining the route; but this time I put the rudder in such a perfect route that Spirit Bird handled like she was on automatic pilot, never sails flapping or slowing down for about twenty minutes.
During all that time I tried to climb with my arms and legs but I just got exhausted.
After several trials I decided to tie myself to that line and give a break to my hands, arms and legs and think of other alternatives rather than crashing or grounding. I decided to let go of some line and try to lasso the stern frame. My arms were so tired it kept falling back, somehow It would have worked because I never panicked. however, my friends from “Ketch22″ made a new pass, close enough so they could hear my: “Hey! I can’t get back on board!”.
They did a trial loop but came not close enough. On their second loop they let out a line behind their boat so that I could let go of mine and grab theirs and pull up to their boat.
“Ketch22″ has a stern ladder just like the one I installed on my formar boat “Drifter” and I held on well, but I had to ask the Captain to help me up “my hands are exhausted”. With his help, in a moment I was aboard Ketch22.
My first words to the Captain were: “Things a man will do for a beer”
Brenda said: “I am Brenda, this is my husband Ken and this is my daughter, Allison”.
I, with with great pomp and ceremony, said, “Delighted to meet you. Now, would you mind taking me to my boat?”
We reached Spirit Bird, she continued on a perfect route; as soon as I could I jumped over and hit the rudder in order to avoid a collision against my benefactors, I thanked them, they told me they were going back home to San Francisco (Blessed last loop decision where they found me) and Brenda asked me: “Where’s your beer?” I lifted it, opened it, took a big swig and toasted with them “¡Salud!”.