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:
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

Before-and-after-1_silo

Know How: Cleaning Stainless

Without a doubt, the best way to “clean” stainless steel parts is to have them electropolished. Electropolishing is an electrochemical process that cleans the stainless and removes any surface iron particles, leaving a shiny and far more rust-resistant surface. The downsides of ...read more

catstory

Cruising: Sailing With a Young Family

The dark is alive when you are surrounded by water. Black is tinted blue and silver, and sky meets surf with electricity and the lapping sounds of silence. Inside our 36ft catamaran, moored off Cooper Island in the BVI, the raw nature outside, just now settling down from a late ...read more

IslandPacket349

Boat Review: Island Packet 349

After years of quiescence in the wake of the Great Recession, iconic Island Packet is back with its new 349, a re-boot of the old Estero that not only looks great, but takes the Island Packet style of sailing performance to a new level. Design & Construction First among the many ...read more

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more