I was awake to possibilities, alert to nuance, and randy as hell; but Raven didn’t send up any smoke signals. It might easily be twenty days before we saw land. If I put any heavy moves on her, and she turned me down, we would both be looking forward to two-thirds of an absolutely miserable month together. So I went about my other business.
The main boom was beyond repair. I spent a day trying to convert the gaff to a boom and make the mainsail over into a reduced leg-o-mutton. I could have done it, but only by ruining the mainsail, and the emergency didn’t seem that great. I finally I gave up and hoisted the main as a boomless gaff sail. On a broad reach the Wahini was almost as good as ever, but off the wind she sailed like a turtle.
After that, things fell into a routine. I had to steer all through the daylight hours since the Wahini would no longer keep course with the wheel lashed. At night I could make her hold her course under jib and mizzen, but a heavy boat like Wahini doesn’t make much distance that way in less than a gale.
From six in the morning until eight at night I was chained to the wheel. Raven spent a lot of her time below, and a lot of time during good days up front straddling the bowsprit and watching the bow wave. It was the best spot on the boat for private contemplation. I used to spend a lot of time up there myself, back when Wahini would steer herself. Raven had a lot on her mind. We talked about her attack a dozen times, but we never came to any conclusions. Too little data. Raven had other things to think about as well. I didn’t know what – then – but I respected her privacy.
A week after the storm I found two wet rubber bands hanging from the rigging. Actually, it was the gag bikini. I had forgotten all about it until she decided to wash and dry it. Near noon, she came up with a bowl of canned stew and took the bikini back down with her. Fifteen minutes later she came up again in Will’s shirt with her long, bare legs sticking out, went forward and dropped the shirt. She had the bikini on, and it wasn’t much. She lay down on the forward deck in the sun.
It was a beautiful cloudless day with little wind. Once she was flat on the deck, I could not see her. But I could imagine, and I did. I stood it for about five minutes. Then I said, “Boat, I’ve been your slave long enough. You’re on you own for a while.” And lashed the wheel.
String bikinis were odd things. As a fad, they didn’t last long, and for good reason. Pure nakedness is much kinder to the female figure. If a woman were less than perfect, a string bikini showed nothing but her faults. If she were perfect, however, you could ignore it and concentrate on what was revealed.
Raven was in the latter category. She was lying face downward on the deck, with her bra strap untied and loose beside her. more tomorrow