He woke with a start, as a flying fish slapped the side of his head before landing in his lap. Linda laughed as he fumbled with the wriggling creature, which he finally managed to toss overboard.
“About noon is it?” Jack asked as he wiped his hands on his shirt, noting the sun's position, and the growling of his stomach.
Looking at her wrist watch, Linda replied. “Ten after twelve to be exact. You sound hungry.”
“I feel hungry.”
“You drive, and I'll see about lunch.”
Jack took the helm, and Linda planted her warm, soft lips on his cheek before she turned for the cabin.
The wind had dropped to a more reasonable twenty knots, so Jack lashed the helm. He shook out the reef and sent the main sail fully aloft, then sheeted it in again. First Watch heeled harder to her starboard with the additional thrust, and soon her pace was back up to nearly ten knots, with a satisfying wake emanating from her stern. Not just the turbulent boil that was there before, but an honest V wake, frothing and white. One that gave a real feeling of speed. Like flying on the water. The sounds of the rigging in the wind, the hull working, and the water as it splashed and hissed was like the greatest symphony ever written to Jack's ears. He reveled in it, as a child revels in his first success at something new. It was pure joy.
Linda came topside again with her arms full of bowls and cups. She braced her left foot against the heel of the boat in the corner formed by the confluence of the cockpit sole and the base of the bench seat as she walked aft, timing her steps to coincide with the brief moments between the rise and fall of the boat beneath her. Jack watched her intently as she moved in rhythm with the waves, smiling both inside and out.
“My, but you've a lovely pair of sea legs” he said, still grinning.
She planted her bottom on the seat next to Jack, in perfect time with it's rise toward her. He took his bowl full of beans and weenies and cup of water from her and began eating greedily.
“I've got red beans and rice going for dinner, if you can keep the boat off it's side long enough” Linda quipped, only half joking.
“I'll try to keep the shiny side up” Jack mumbled with a smile and a mouth full. When he swallowed, he asked “Willie and Peggy okay?”
“Willie is up. He's cleaning up a bit. Peggy, well..... She's not feeling too good”
“Yep. She's used to pitching and rolling, but I guess heeling was the last straw” Linda said with a chuckle.
“Well hell, I guess I can ease up on her a bit.”
Jack eased off the main sheet and the boat stood a bit more upright, though at a loss of two knots in speed. He sat back down next to Linda as the boat settled into it's slower pace, and put his arm around her. She began to rub his shin with her bare foot as they leisurely cruised along.
Willie emerged from the cabin a few minutes later with a bucket, which he discreetly emptied over the leeward rail.
“Thanks for backing off a bit Jack” Willie said. “Peggy never was really comfortable on a sailboat. She could handle the trawler though, since it didn't heel. Throws her balance off I guess, heeling.”
“I'll take it easy on her.” Jack replied. “We're far enough out and away now that I'm not too terribly worried.”
Willie nodded. He turned his gaze forward as he started back down into the cabin, and Linda took the opportunity to resume her foot rubbing while stealing a kiss.
“Hey Jack?” said Willie.
“While you two were playing footsie, did you happen to notice the boats on the port bow?”
“Wha...” Jack cut himself off as he leapt for his binoculars. Scanning the port quarter, he finally spotted two tiny dots on the horizon, while wondering in amazement at Willie's visual acuity. He trained his binoculars on the distant smudges, and was amazed to see two tall ships. Square rigged sailing ships, heading on a parallel course as far as he could tell.
“Willie, you won't believe this” Jack said. “It's a pair of square riggers!”
“Interesting” was Willie's only response.
“What do you think we should do?” Jack asked him.
“Just keep an eye on 'em” Willie replied. “I wouldn't do anything different.”
With that, he went below. Linda reached for the binoculars, which Jack gave to her. She peered intently toward the two tiny specks, and shook her head in amazement.
“I didn't know those things even existed anymore” she said.
“Oh, there's a few of them left” Jack responded. “But what a pair of 'em is doing way the hell down here is beyond me.”
He turned his attention back to steering his course, but one eye was kept on those two distant ships from then on.