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A Windy Passage from Cocktail to Cocktail
Ellington White
October 09, 1967
A fishing enthusiast who thought sailboats were just a pretty excuse for giving parties finds that an ocean race is something more than merely the laziest distance between celebrations
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October 09, 1967

A Windy Passage From Cocktail To Cocktail

A fishing enthusiast who thought sailboats were just a pretty excuse for giving parties finds that an ocean race is something more than merely the laziest distance between celebrations

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Two days later we were only 30 miles from Cuba, lazing along on big swells. Someone asked our Latin-American crewmate Huber what he would do if a Cuban gunboat should draw up alongside. He threw open his arms and cried, "Amigos, save me from these Yankee imperialists!" We lost another sail that day when a spinnaker blew out. The beer was all gone and so was all but a small lump of ice that Audrey used to make lemonade. A general fatigue prevailed, and the conversation drifted back and forth between our position in the race—we seemed to be leading the fleet—and what the first drink was going to taste like in the bar of the Zazil-Ha on Isla Mujeres.

"You know what I would like right now?" someone said. "A shot of brandy on ice, chased by milk."

The first night I spent aboard the Nimbus I spent sleepless, wondering why the damned bunks were so hideously uncomfortable. I soon found out. On a sailboat a bunk is not meant to encourage sleep. Its purpose is simply to hold in the smallest space possible someone who is already three-fourths asleep by the time he reaches it. After four days at sea I would have slept in the bilge, although my favorite bunk was among the sails in the bow. I would drift off on the sound of Bruning "calling sails" for the helmsman:

"You're edging, edging a bit. Watch it."

"I'm coming down."

"More."

"Coming."

"Still more."

"How's that?"

"That's good. Hold it."

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