Indulgence - An Interlude from Seamus
23 October 2012
An Interlude from Seamus.
We’re heeled well over on the Port tack. The windex is steady at last, a shooting star falls across it’s orange arms. Not to worry the closest point of approach is not registering on the AIS yet. The wind shrieks in the rigging as she plunges and rolls, rolls and climbs. One hand for the ship one for myself, ease the main a little, let her settle, less slamming now. Away to the North there is a stroboscopic display as sheet lightning highlights the black underbelly of fat storm clouds. They have already swallowed the Plough standing up on his sock the last time I looked. A different lurch – I duck as a grape shot of spray slashes across the canopy and the blindfolded outboard. There he stands clamped to his bracket, with his clenched tiller-fist raised in salute to the split backstay. That’ll teach him with his choking mix-rich habit. Skulking below him, are two bulbous headed fenders. Before noon they will squeal with delight.
I gaze at the huge wheel rim twitching to the prompts of the auto-helm. Earlier I secretly watched him and the huge quadrant at work when I played an LED pencil light through an after bunk vent.
Our hankie headsail casts a grotesque shadow across the main. It swells and fades as its projection dances and flares from the top of the leech down through the sail number to cut the foot at the vang. A series of taut pencil pleats channel the white mast-head light like rays racing to the straining first reef-point at the boom.
Now there is a faint steady loom clustered over the horizon. I hope it’s not time yet to call my replacement.
I don’t want to break the spell, we dance on and on, exploding masses of green tinted water out from our starboard bows. Andy will enjoy a great shot of the dramatic African dawn. Binoculars quickly – yes a flash of the ‘Ilheu de Cima’ lighthouse between the port shrouds. Land Ho, this IS Indulgence.