We were getting tired, and it was too rough to sleep on night watch changes. The whitecaps were splashing across the deck. The water was cold, and we broke out our heavy weather gear.
I already had the main sail reduced into the mast as we still did seven knots across the big rolling waves. We were considering going back to Puerto Rico when the radio started screaming, “Mayday! Mayday! We are taking on water. Mayday! Mayday!
Once away from shore, I kicked on the chart plotter and located the salt pond. I locked my manual autopilot onto the course and checked it for the first half hour against the chart plotter. With everything in order, I turned off all the electronics except the running lights and the VHF. My batteries were old, and I used them conservatively.
I had an old radar detector from the eighties that chirped like crazy if it got hit by any ship radar for several miles. I got it from someone’s trash for free. I plugged it into the twelve-volt outlet.
I brought a pillow and blanket from below deck and put on my vest and tether. I wrapped the blanket around my body and lay down on the cockpit cushions. I dropped my face into the big feather pillow, and I could still smell Riki’s perfume.
“I’ll be so happy when my memory fades,” I said to the sailboat.