Yet there was the Temptress, with the local Mexican aboard, and she was sailing altogether a different course.
"Maybe we ought to cover her," the skipper said. "So long as we stay with her, she can't possibly beat us."
But then another boat might beat us.
That was true. He went below to look at the charts and think. While he was gone, Swede Lauritsen, who was at the helm, nodded his head. "She's doing just what I'd do if I was getting beat," he said. "She's going inshore hoping to find more wind than we've got out here. That's all she can do. Out here she's already licked."
The skipper reappeared. "Hold what you've got," he said to Swede. "We may never see the land again, but let's go. Let's get this bucket moving."
And move we did, slam-bang into another squall. Through the driving rain I heard what sounded like a cannon shot, followed by a wail of despair. The boom had broken. Floorboards were ordered torn up and lashed around the break. Then a hole was spotted in the chute.
"Drop it," the skipper said, "and get some adhesive tape on it."
In six days of racing the Nimbus had lost four sails and the boom, and the skipper had lost most of the skin on one of his hands.
But never mind. With the lights of Isla Mujeres glowing off the bow and a new Cal-40 disappearing off the stern, things couldn't have looked brighter. Bruning cooked a victory stew, which was another of his specialties, and we ate this in a hilarious mood while watching the moon rise. The boom was holding and so was the wind.
"Zazil-Ha, here we come!" someone said.