I am writing a new story. I am about half way finished. I have written three other books as shown here at the top of the page. I like to put draft excerpts out there to see how they are accepted. Any comments are very welcomed.

One could always work in Honolulu or Waikiki. That is why I had no time for Keith. He was lazy and solely dependent upon his wife for his financial well being. On top of that I had no respect for him. As I became familiar with the off-shore sailing life I came to realize that he was exposing his family needlessly to real danger. His twenty foot Cal (California) 20 was not a safe platform for off-shore ocean passage, especially in heavy weather sailing. She was small and very confined and not sufficiently robust to come through a challenging storm or sea. She was designed for inshore day sailing. It seemed to me that Keith was fulfilling his own selfish dream on the cheap without consideration for the safety and well-being of Peggy and Katie. His actions were a form of domestic abuse if you ask me. He didn’t, but I felt sorry for Peggy and Katie.

Update: Peggy and Katie left Keith in Hawaii and returned to Hamilton Ontario. I never saw Keith again or heard from him after I departed Hawaii.

I came across many personalities there at the Ala Moana Yacht Club. To say that the off-shore cruising lifestyle bred many of life’s unique off the wall characters would be an understatement. Idiosyncratic would be an apt description for many of the people I met. One of those was Skip. His introduction to all of us at the Ala Moana Yacht Club was legendary. He was a Yacht Club favourite. Verbose to the core. He held court at the clubhouse bar and could be found there most afternoons, prior to his alcohol induced afternoon nap. He always had a story to tell…almost always a humourous, exaggerated embellishment of a tale.

His arrival at the Ala Wai was loud and boisterous. It was on a Friday, late afternoon. The sun was beginning its final descent into that green induced bright flash of an Hawaiian sunset. Suddenly this forty-five foot ketch appeared in the channel, full sail, moving erratically to port then starboard as she made her way toward the turning basic and visitor’s slips of the yacht club. That was a no-no. Vessels of that size were required to come into harbour under power, not sail. Luckily there was only a slight breeze blowing. Nevertheless, trying to call him up on VHF Channel Eleven to follow protocol was fruitless. Those of us at the bar and restaurant ran outside to the upper deck to watch this nautical catastrophe unfold. Disaster was in the cards and, like the anticipation of a wipe out at the Indy 500, it was on all of our minds.

Suddenly there was a loud commotion on the upper deck. A woman appeared. You could not hear her but you could tell by her body language that she was not a happy camper…erm sailor.  She was furious at something or other. Her arms were flailing, wildly: in complete synchronicity with an erratic bobbing of her head. She was clearly upset, mad as a hatter. As the boat began to close in on us and come within earshot of the clubhouse her voice became discernible.  A loud, terror stricken, a banshee of expletives poured out of her mouth and they were all directed toward her as yet unseen antagonist.

In a few seconds a sun bleached mop of hair appeared from the lower companionway and cabin. A very tanned and muscular man in knee length bathing trunks and a tie-died tee could be seen. He was your typical southern California surfer dude. As he came up from below he began to drag up, haul up and throw suitcases and duffel bags into the cockpit. At the same time the woman was howling at him and throwing bits of boatsam[1] at him. We could see this as his arms and hands went up in a defensive mode to shield him from the woman’s onslaught. Then, in an instant of time, he looked right at us. His attention was suddenly engaged toward us. A look of fear, but explicit understanding of his current situation and predicament came over him in an instant. He was no longer interested in his female assailant.

“For fuck sakes, SHIT. Jesus H Christ.” He cried out. And like a mad maritime dervish he began to take control of his boat. First, the foresail came down like a stone. Luckily the halyard was free of any obstruction and he was able to run up forward and grasp the sail and force it into the pulpit area of the bowsprit. Secure. Good thing too as the boat was drawing closer and closer to the foreshore. Running back to the transom area of his boat,  he dropped the mizzen and as he did so the boast suddenly veered up and into the wind, as light as it was. The sudden lurching movement of the boat and her unscheduled course change scared the woman. She stopped her attack immediately to grab a secure handhold.

Skip left the main up, went below and flashed up the diesel engine. It sputtered, choked, coughed and then idled confidently. He came back up topside jumped into the cockpit and thrust the boat into gear. Good thing too as he was dangerously close to collision with the main dock of the club. Altering hard to port, he maneuvered the boat slowly out into the middle of and safety of the turning basin, he methodically lowered the mainsail from his position in the cockpit. The sail came down without incident and Skip secured it to the boom. All at once the woman recommenced her insane diatribe of Skip, his entire family and all of his ancestors. She was mad, insanely mad.

Skip ignored her rants and taunts and screams and maneuvered his boat toward an assigned berthing slip that was adjacent to the green lawn of the club’s inner foreshore and its towering palms. As he was nearing the slip he began to yell at the woman, giving her as good as she was giving him. They were entirely oblivious to us, the cheering section. We were all enthralled with the show unfolding before us. The colourful, descriptive expletives that came out of his mouth were very entertaining and would make a pirate blush.  He secured the boat and then ran up to the foredeck with the suitcases and duffel bags. He threw them into a heap of the foreshore lawn. He turned to the woman, picked her up and tossed her frame onto the suitcases as if she was almost weightless. Luckily for Skip and for her she was not hurt.

“I never want to see your ugly puss ever…E.V.A.H. Do you hear me? Understand? Ever. It will be a cold day in hell before I let you grace your fat ass on “Sheila” ever again.

The woman got up, brushed her bruised ego off, grabbed her self esteem and a couple of the duffel bags and in a huff walked briskly toward the entranceway to the club. She came back for the suitcase and without saying a word to Skip, picked it up and walked back to the entranceway. Her gait and expression were of silent determination. She let out one last curse before disappearing into the late afternoon twilight that was the evening light. She would hail a cab from there.

“You…you…you will hear from my lawyer….and by the fucking way Skip…Per, you, you were never a good lay… asshole.”

“Whoa!” an ensemble of groans, hoots and chuckles came out from the peanut gallery above.

Skip looked up at us on the deck, suddenly aware of our presence. He laughed aloud and gave us all a big high five.

“Twenty one days of holy terror…gents. Forty five feet of misery. Finally over…for good.”

Skip had left San Diego for the South Pacific. Hawaii was planned as his first port of call.

“Words of advice? Skip offered us. “Never bring your wife along for the ride…unless you’re cruisin for an instant divorce on making landfall. Never again…And…and whatever you do never name your boat after your wife. I am stuck with “Sheila” and her memory throughout eternity or my immortality,”[2]

And then…

“I’ll be right up.” he added. “Oly’s all around.”

We fought among ourselves to see who would be the first to give this larger than life sailor a beer.

[1] Boatsam. topside junk of a sailboat that cannot be classified as flotsam.

[2] It is okay to change the name of your boat on assuming ownership but very bad luck changing the name sometime after taking ownership.

Have a great weekend. Read ya Monday.