A Teaser from Gary Collins’ Redjack
They were borne away by the mindless wind. Great swells were brewing. The sloop coasted down their sides, dived into their troughs, and struggled out of canyons of water onto cresting waves. Water shipped over the gunnels. Jake bailed when he could. He was having a hard go of it. He had never been tasked with such responsibility before. When fishing far from land, Guy, friend and skipper of their crew, was the one who handled their boat when caught in sudden gales. With Guy at the tiller, under bare poles or full sail, the run home seemed easy. Jake was finding now that it was far from easy, and he was worried for his family. Then, as sure as the looming islands had appeared before the storm hit, Guy’s rugged face, chiselled by the bite of a thousand winds and wrinkled by a thousand willing smiles, appeared before him.
Find ’er sweet spot, Jake! Every punt’s got one! A place among the lops, no matter the size, where only she will fit. ’Tis a wondrous, never-failing thing. The tiller has been polished by my hand, Jake. I give you my strength. The pulse of the sea through wood will guide you. You must find the punt’s sweet spot. Never fear. It will carry you home safe.
My God, thought Jake, what is happening? Am I losing my mind?