Sailing On Akara-Hime…Part 2

From my new book, currently being written. Hope to have it completed by next summer. It is in rough draft. It has not been edited as yet.

Writing like this gives me a nice and welcome respite from the Covid 19 madness. I can escape to my own world of past adventures and excitement without a care in the world.

“Akaru-Hime” had had a mad capped crew on that trek. My brother-in-law, Sid, the owner;  a Brit, who was professional sailor named Nigel, hired by Sid for his professional nautical acumen; Nigel’s useless tit of a girlfriend, and a couple of other hangers on who knew nothing about sailing but much about the stoner life. Useless! And, to make matters worse, Sid suffered from chronic case of sea sickness. And while he loved sailing dearly and always dreamed of taking “Akaru-Hime” home to Japan, all of his sailing experience to date had been in relatively sheltered waters. The open Pacific was much less welcoming and forgiving for someone like Sid who was prone to the sea malady and was always in a constant state of heaving. Alas for Sid, the dream of sailing to Japan was not to be.  He decided at Honolulu to call it quits. Sad given that the English translation for “Akaru-Hime” (a-ka-roo-hee-ma) being “Bright Princess” the Japanese patroness of sailors, born of a red jewel…sad indeed.

Most sailors do get sea sick. If they say that they don’t they’re bullshitting. But most sailors get over the motions sickness fairly quickly and adjust and adapt to the fluid environment.  They get their sea legs. But some, like Sid, never get over it. So it was that Sid had to abandon this venture. His vision of coming home like some prodigal sailor’s son came crashing down on him like a tsunami drowning his dream. He asked Nigel to carry on with “Akaru-Hime” from Hawaii, and to sail her to her new home in Nagoya Japan.

Tits had left and the other two stoners flew back to CONUS[1] – literally and figuratively.

And that’s where I came in. Nigel and I would take Akaru-Hime to Japan!

“Hello.” What does one say when one comes calling at a sailboat? ”

“Ahoy there?” That sounds too cartoonish, like Popeye to Olive Oil.

“Anyone home? Onboard?” Nigel?? I knew his name.

Nothing. Silence except for a slight clanking sound coming from a loose halyard somewhere on some boat somewhere in the harbour and the relentless caw of the seagulls. Nothing. I was beginning to sweat in the mid afternoon sun. There was no breeze to speak of, no cool northeast trade-wind that I had read and heard so much about.

It was bright, blindingly so. The same acuity sensation one gets when exiting a dark movie theatre on a hot summer’s afternoon. I made a note to myself to get shades as soon as possible.

Dropping my kit bag into “Akaru-Hime’s” cockpit I decide to have a look at what will be my home for the next few months, my foreseeable future. From the perspective of the G35 finger float, on which “Akaru-Hime” was tied, I took a good look at her from end to end or stem (bow) to stern. She was, in the vernacular, a sloop rig. That is she was equipped with a foresail, or a sail properly positioned when raised ahead of the mast, then a mainsail, the main propulsion, providing the primary source of horsepower for the boat to move through the water. That sail’s foot or bottom portion of the triangular shape was attached to a boom, along a track that went from the mast to an end cleat, of a thingamajig contraption on the end portion of the boom. The boom itself was connected to the mast via a universal joint such that the boom could move from side to side and up and down. A topping lift, or a line attacked to the end of the boom then running up to the top of the mast, parallel to the backstay, or metal line that was connected to the top of the mast and a chain plate at the transom or stern, rear end of the boat, held the boom horizontal, about 6 feet off the deck of “Akaru-Hime’s” cockpit. The forward, or leading edge of the mainsail, the luff, was down as was the trailing edge, of the mainsail, or the leech, stuffed in a seaman-like folds to the boom and protected from the sun with a mainsail cover.

[1] Continental United States


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