Run Before the Wind
April 27th 2017 in the blue water near 20 degrees latitude
Webb turned the boat slightly to catch the best wind on the beam. The Wanderer was making 20 knots again. The 80 foot sloop was in her element the mast creaking the sail rippling. She was rigged main sail and jib tight against the lines. The boat was heeled over to starboard and he stood at the port wheel watching the sails.
Webb was trying to get the most he could out of her before nightfall. He was tired. The Wanderer was six days out of the Bahamas heading south to Antigua. She was averaging just under 200 miles a day. He should make landfall in Antigua tomorrow. Webb was ready for a few days ashore, a little golf, fine food, a desk that didn’t move when you typed. People, Webb was ready to see and talk to other people for a few days. He loved to sail solo. The Wanderer was set up to be single manned but he did get lonely after a week or so. The boat was equipped with satellite internet so he could keep in touch with folks. There was even a live feed coming off the mast and cabin cams that went out to the web, an idea of his friend Keith to put the voyages of the Wanderer online for people to see.
Webb just ignored the cameras most of the time. It wasn’t like he went around the cabin naked anyway. It was pointed at the main cabin area the part of the boat he only used at night. The Wanderer was his home now though he still had the beach house in Malibu and the apartment overlooking Central Park in New York. The apartment was leased at the moment. The beach house was empty awaiting his return in the fall where he’d spend the winter. The Wanderer had wintered in the Bahamas last year after he had taken her around Cape Horn. That was a hard sail to be sure but you had to do it once in your sailing career. He had done it the prior winter taking the long route then up the coast to the Caribbean.
Webb had flown back to LA for the winter from there. The Wanderer escaped hurricanes and the storms of the fall in a not so safe harbor. But now he was bringing her home this spring south but then through the Panama canal this time. He had written two books over winter and was now finishing the third as he sailed south. Maybe in the Hotel in Antigua he could finish it and start on something new.
Webb settled back on the seat of the cockpit and corrected the wheel again. He felt at ease on the ocean but as always just a little edgy. You may love the sea but never trust her. This was his fifth year sailing Wanderer. His divorce finalized just over six years now at 42 he was at ease with his decisions in life. His ex-wife had remarried and was apparently unhappy. They were still friends in an odd way. No children after 4 years of marriage probably helped that and distance. Jennifer still sent him the odd late night email when she’d been drinking. Slightly pornographic and stating she missed him. He never responded to those waiting for the apologetic one the next day. He would still send her manuscripts to read and comment on. She actually was a very good editor and critic, her ideas and comments always cogent and helpful.
Webb reached for the tablet next to him and checked his twitter feed and email. The usual on twitter a follower commenting about the latest book, another follower on the Wanderer account asking a question. He responded to both quickly. The beauty of twitter is that all your responses had to be short and to the point so you were thoughtful but curt. The email was light a confirmation of the hotel reservation in Antigua, another note from his agent about some offers for one of the Robert Flint novels from Hollywood. Webb kept three twitter accounts. The first was for the Wanderer and her travels. The second for his primary Pen name Robert Flint. The third for his other pen name Alice Chanceby the most popular of the three.
Alice was by far the biggest seller of his pseudonyms. The books written under that name were romantic novels with drama and angst. They were mostly serialized with one character right now going into the eighth book it would be her last. These actually were the most enjoyable to write. He could let his romantic nature go wild. They were quick paced and enjoyable even though they even made him cry occasionally.
The wind shifted and Webb reached over and corrected the course slightly looking at the Nav system to see how it compared to his desired course. It was taking him slightly west. Webb adjusted the sails and got back on the desired course. The speed slowed by about a knot. He was still on line for landfall tomorrow. Webb looked to the west as the sun started to dip below the horizon. The large orange disk started to melt into the sea producing, orange, red and golden hues across the horizon. Webb lived for the sunset on the ocean. It and the sunrise were one reason to sail. The peace and challenge the other. He settled back to watch and knew he’d be up into the midnight watch again. Then rig her for the overnight and get four or five hours of sleep. Such was the way of the solo sailor.
He knew he should feel complete and comfortable but she was still there never forgotten, moving on without and never really moving on. He wondered what Kacey Lawrence was doing right now. He really had no clue but it was something that he’d thought about every night for the last 17 years.
Please comment and let me know what you think this is the start of a new original fiction.