The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 106

Sailing With Salty

“Before I go would you mind walking down to where The Odyssey is docked and take a look at her for me?” Rich said.
“Some men will never pass up the chance to look at a beautiful woman,” Salty said. “I never pass up a chance to inspect a boat. It will me an honor. Odyssey, that‘s a good name.”
Rich walked with Salty at the old sailor’s pace to The Odyssey.
“She looks fine, lad,” Salty said. “She is sleek and has good lines. You have done her well. She looks fit. Now let me near her for a close inspection.”
Rich climbed aboard and helped Salty on board also.
Salty ran his hands over the deck and the top of the cabin as if touching the skin of a beautiful woman. He rapped with his knuckles against the wood. “You must be a craftsman.”
“Do you know Jake Washburn?” Rich said.
“Sure,” Salty said. “Taught him everything I know.”
“I went to him for help and advice when I was repairing her,” Rich said.
“He’s a good man,” Salty said.
“He’s the one who told me to come and see you,” Rich said.
Salty smiled, “He’s even a better man.”
“Do you want to sail her?” Rich said.
“If I don’t I’ll only wish that I did,” Salty said.
Rich hopped up on the dock and loosened the lines. He jumped back on board and started the engine.
“She purrs like a kitten,” Salty said.
“It’s like new,” Rich said. “It was hardly used. I had to clean it up a might, but I learned a lot while doing it.”
“Like I said, lad,” Salty said, “You have to be the master of everything, including a master mechanic.”
They putted away from the harbor. Salty helped set the sails and Rich let him take the helm. They spent two hours on the water before returning to Mohegan. As Salty held the helm he told Rich about everything he was doing to sail more effectively and why. He pointed out the things to look for and how to handle them.
The sailed around Mohegan Island
Salty steered for awhile and then let They Odyssey take over. He visited different locations of the boat looking at every detail and how she was reacting and holding strong. After an hour they sat quietly in the cockpit watching The Odyssey slice through the waves.
Salty watched every movement of the sails jib, forestay, boom, backstay, mast, and all the riggings. “She’s sturdy, lad; a tight vessel. I’d sail he myself, anywhere. By the time you cast off and hit dry land again, you’ll do it all by instinct,” Salty said. “You will just feel something and then react. You won’t even know you’re doing it. You can be laying in your bunk while she‘s sailing herself. You‘ll just feel something and know what to do. Boats will speak to you if you listen. They will tuck at your sleeve if you pay attention.”
“I’m glad you came aboard,” Rich said.
“She runs fine,” Salty said, “Good balance. Make sure you bring plenty of replacement gear.”
“I already have some on board,” Rich said.
The entered the small harbor on Mohegan. Rich maneuvered alongside the dock and helped Salty ashore.
“This was sure a good time, lad,” Salty said. “You’re welcome anytime in my home and if I don’t see you before you leave, god speed.”
“Thanks you, sir,” Rich said, “good words from a great sailor.”
“And if it’s not asking too much,” Salty said, “when you complete your voyage come and tell me about it. Tell me stories that will ease my longing to do what you have done.”
“It’s a promise.”
Salty shook Rich's hand and walked back toward his home without turning around. Rich watched the old sailor until he walked behind a small knoll. He was sad for Salty. It was likely this would be their only meeting, but one Rich would never forget. Rich thought for a moment, “If you live only to touch one life your existence has not been in vain.”