Sailing Memories: The Pot O’ Gold

Dawn on the morning of my 40th birthday, singlehanding 300 miles offshore, I had just wrapped up an ambitious, five-year work stint that provided for the sailboat of my dreams plus a kitty to take her cruising.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
The author spots a pot o’ gold at the end of a rainbow

The author spots a pot o’ gold at the end of a rainbow

Dawn on the morning of my 40th birthday, singlehanding 300 miles offshore, I had just wrapped up an ambitious, five-year work stint that provided for the sailboat of my dreams plus a kitty to take her cruising. Now Sparrow and I were beginning a six-year voyage that would eventually carry us 30,000 nautical miles and halfway around the world. I stepped into the cockpit, inhaled a deep draught of pure ocean air, and thought, “This is what they mean by ‘life begins at 40!’”

Just then I lifted my eyes and there, arced across our course line not a mile ahead, was a magnificent rainbow, dense and rich, splashing every nuance of the spectrum across the mottled sky. It hung there, neither moving nor dissipating as we drew closer. To port where one end plunged into the sea (the other was lost in cloud), I was astonished to see the water, churned and frothed by wind and waves, glowing and pulsing a great, radiant corona of pure gold. I had one hundred thousand miles under my keel by then and never saw anything like it. Gold! I’d always assumed it was a metaphor, but now I understood. Sailors of old had seen the same thing, and from their literal description came the fanciful promise: There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

That rainbow held even as I sailed beneath it, arching right over the masthead, a heavenly gateway to whatever lay ahead. “Happy birthday, skipper,” it seemed to say. “Here’s to your new life, your true pot o’ gold.”

Related

sailingabove-2

Swan Flyer: A Hot New One-design

In a racing scene that’s bristling with innovation, legacy builder Nautor’s Swan refuses to be left behind in its quest to dominate the champagne end of one-design sailing. Arriving hard on the heels of the radical Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ClubSwan 50, the ClubSwan 36 offers a ...read more

Maiden sets out for Uruguay during the 1989-90 Whitbread race

Making Maiden and the 1989-90 Whitbread Race

As recently as the late 1980s, the idea of an all-female sailing team in the Whitbread Round the World Race (the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race) seemed laughable to many. How could women handle the competition? They weren’t strong enough. They wouldn’t be able to take the ...read more

01-LEAD-J99

Four Very Different New Boat Designs

Following up on the J/121, which won a SAIL Best Boats award in 2018, the new J/99 represents a similar concept in a smaller package. Specifically, the new 32-footer’s deck layout and rig have been optimized for smaller and even doublehanded crews, with an eye toward meeting the ...read more

Dinghy Suggested CROP

Ask Sail: Dinghy Dilemma

DINGHY DILEMMA Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a ...read more

Groupe Beneteau charging its boats in NEOLINE vessel

Transporting Sailboats Under Sail

Transporting sailboats under sail? That sounds like a cool concept, and it’s one that looks set to become reality in 2021 when shipping company Neoline brings its sailing cargo ships into service. Groupe Beneteau has committed to transporting boats between Europe and the United ...read more

01_vor120612_ross_0644

Sailing Master Ken Read

Images trigger memory. Preparing to interview the golden boy of American sailing, I thought I would find a picture that would show Ken Read at the peak of his sailing career, his heyday, to share and have a warm and fuzzy start to our conversation. It was a commanding image from ...read more

New-engine-being-lifted-over-stern

Know how: Replacing the Auxiliary Power System

One of the most complex tasks undertaken during Passion’s refit was the complete replacement of her auxiliary power system—engine, V-drive and fuel tanks. I needed more horsepower, which drove the need for more fuel capacity and a larger V-drive to handle the higher engine ...read more