Haiku Presentationer Skriva memoarer?

Out to sea Kattegatt

The harbor disease struck. All sailors meet with the question whether the weather permit sailing or not. The disease has two faces; either you leave too early or you don’t dare to leave although it has stopped blowing. The northerly gale had stopped blowing, we had stowed Siri; we were ready to get under way. But we left too early

Lisa has a son,Per, we call him Person.  He sails with us every summer. Person has Down’s syndrome and has problems with his balance and we had prepared the pilot berth for him. The swell was still high outside the piers and Siri dipped her bowsprit in the waves and water rushed over deck. The wind was weak from the north and in Torekov harbor it was a friendly early summer day; we were not prepared onboard for the heavy swell. Lisa had a patch against sea sickness but we believed that Person would stand the sea when he was lying in bed. We were wrong. Person called for help one hour later and Lisa went below with a bucket.

The pilot berth is in the middle of the boat where you feel the rolling the least. It is an arrangement like a hammock which holds you even when the boat is heeling and Person was well protected. But he was seasick and needed a bucket. Pills against sea sickness don’t help once you are seasick. Siri got a heavy wave on the beam and heeled unexpectedly deep.  She dived head first into the chart table but hindered the bucket from soiling the cabin sole.

“Did you manage?” I had seen everything from my place at the wheel. Lisa did not answer.

“Lisa, did you manage?”I I repeated.

“Yes I made it, OK, I saved the bucket” Lisa stumbled towards the companionway ladder. Blood streaming down over her face.

“Can you use both your eyes? Did you break the glasses?”

“Yes, I can see and the glasses are OK.”

“Come up and take the wheel while I fetch the first aid kit.” Lisa climbed up in the cock-pit, the blood gushed from a cut between the eye-brows and she smiled. A brave woman, I thought, we probably  left harbor too early. When I had put a plaster over the wound and emptied Person’s bucket I asked:

“Do you want to want to turn back.”

“How far to our next port?”

“If we head for Falkenberg – three to four hours. The swell will diminish under the coast of Halland.”

“Push on, it can only be better.” Lisa smiled so the plaster got wrinkles.

We saw the huge factory buildings of Falkenberg from far away which facilitated our landfall. The scent of timber from the lumber yard met us when we entered the outer harbor.  River Ätran gave us shelter but the pontoons were to narrow so we continued further in where we found a pier where we moored alongside. Person wriggled out from the pilot berth and mother and son walked arm in arm towards the showers at the yacht club. When you have been sick you become hungry – after some delay. Lisa served us sausage casserole and Person had two servings. The summer night was magic, the nightingale sang in the alder trees. Mother, son and skipper went to bed satisfied after the season’s first day at sea.

The next day we were better prepared when we left through the entrance piers. Person had taken a pill against sea sickness, Postafen, already when he turned in the night before. Sunshine, a northerly breeze and a smooth sea, only soft spray reached us in the cock-pit. We set sails, main and genoa, and sailed out on starboard tack. Yesterday we fought the sea and were rusty, now we enjoyed the sailing. Person was still in the pilot berth but in a good mood. And when the son is happy, his mother is happy.

A ship has soul. Conrad writes that a ship might not have ears to hear the complaints of the sailors but that she has eyes and can help her skipper. Ketch Siri prefers to be under sail to power and set off through the early summer sea. In June the sea is empty, we saw only two sails under land. We have red sails, basically because I am a romantic, but now in the bright sunshine they are restful for the eyes. After a few hours we saw the steamers in the shipping lane east of the Danish island Anholt. We tacked when the Swedish coast started to disappear abaft and returned towards the home coast.

“Do you want a sandwich and some soup?” Lisa put her head up from the pantry.

“Goulash soup?”

“Yes, same procedure as last year, it is the last of the cans from the earlier season.”

I wriggled my foot in between the spokes of the wheel and got my hands free for eating. The sea and the wind allowed me to sail and eat at the same time. When we approached the coast I could see the fort of Varberg through the binoculars. Some days you have flow. By sheer luck, not skill, did I tack at the right moment and reached the entrance piers with no adjustments. In the inner basin of the harbor we found a long side berth and even the mooring was elegant.

After dinner we walked into town. There was a traditional jazz festival and the music was streaming from the cafés. The Societetsrestaurant was my hunting ground as an Army cadet 40 years ago. Now Lisa, Person and I sat outside on a bench in the park eating ice cream. Dixieland music and the June night opened my mind for sentimentality and sweet memories from my youth. Back in reality the three of us strolled, arm in arm, back to Ketch Siri.