Copyright Caravan Publishing 2011
Published by Caravan Publishing at Smashwords
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It was the second day out of Cardiff. Ken was already feeling the loneliness of the sea. The weather had been fine, as forecast, with only a gentle breeze to push his thirty year old Nicholson 38 onward to the Canaries, sliding gracefully over the long low swells. The lack of any point of reference made it appear that she was almost static in a vast bowl of water and sky, with only the gentle hiss of the water as it was parted by the clean lines of her graceful hull to give any sensation of progress. The boat performed perfectly, the result of excellent design, good build and many hours of loving maintenance expended by Ken in bringing it back to new condition. Ken had owned the boat – his friends sometimes said the boat owned him! – for the past two years, and a good proportion of his spare time and spare funds had been expended on bringing her to a pristine condition. He had bought her from her original owner in late September, exactly two years ago, and had spent the first winter doing the neglected maintenance and making the repairs he deemed essential before taking her on a short cruise to Scotland. That cruise had demonstrated to him what further work and expenditure was required before he dared take her across the Atlantic. There was still money to be spent on additional equipment, but that could wait until he brought her back to Cardiff next year. The year was moving on, and a departure from Cardiff much later than now, early October, would expose him to severe weather conditions, something he despised. One of the problems of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat was that one had to depart the UK before the bad winter weather set in, but plan not to arrive in the Caribbean before mid-November, to avoid the risks of running into the back of a late hurricane. That inevitably meant that one had to run the risk of autumn bad weather in the vicinity of Britain before reaching the better conditions of the Tropics. Unless, of course, one had the time to spend a month or two lazing in the Canaries between an early arrival and a late departure!