It was 6 a.m. when the phone rang. My foggy brain started clicking off the possible people who would call at this hour. By the third ring, I placed my bet on my good buddy and sailing companion, Jim Griffin. This wouldn’t be his first predawn wake-up call.

Story Steve Schuler • Illustrations Brian Bryson • Small Craft Advisor

“Hello; good morning,” I said with a voice sounding as awake as I could muster. This wouldn’t be his first predawn wake-up call. He took pride in getting up early while the world slumbered away precious morning hours. The early bird worm theory he would say. It would have greater meaning if you grew up working on a farm, and he did—a hundred acres of orange trees—juicers, he called them. Now he’s a detective  for the Florida State Attorney’s office.

“Hey, did I wake you?” Jim asked in his born and bred Southern drawl.

“No,” I said, stifling a yawn. “Oh, did I get you out of bed?”

“No,” I lied again. “Been up since the crack of…dawn.” Jim didn’t challenge my fibbing.

“What ya think about a teaser race before the Kahlua Cup?”

“Ahhh, the Coors Cup in Tampa  Bay. I’m awake enough to know that race is five days out.”

“Exactly.”

“Not gonna happen, Jim; don’t have time to bring my boat down.”

“But I got a couple ideas.”

“Yah, like what? You sailing my boat down for me?”

“Nope, got one there already, May Flyer.

May Flyer

Ilustration by Brian Bryson

That piqued my interest. I’ve always wanted at the helm of his Santana 20. It was sleek and fast, and for a lightweight one-design, relatively stable.

“As exciting as that sounds, don’t forget, I told everyone we’d take a break until the Kahlua Cup. It’s been a long season and I don’t want to push my luck and toast the crew.”

He said, “I’ve got someone to crew for us.”

“Do tell.”

“A co-worker,  he loves racing…a big fan of America’s Cup.”

“Sounds like a sofa sailor. Can he tie a proper cleat?”

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