A Grown Up's Dream of a Small Boy

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Stark, when the King was a small boy he dreamed of sailing around the world and visiting strange places, of exotic tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. One day he announced to the surprise of his father, the king, that he was going to learn how to sail and buy a boat.

Now the prince already thought that he knew how to sail, since he had read many books on sailing and had actually been at the helm of the royal yacht, for at least 30 minutes. But just in case, the prince thought it would be a good idea to start out with a small sailboat to practice.

That very day, the prince went down to the village and bought a small eleven foot sailing sloop. The ship builder assured the prince that the boat was very seaworthy, with water tight compartments to keep it from sinking just in case it turned over. You see, the boat did not have a keel to keep it upright in the wind and required the crew, in this case the prince,to keep it from turning over.

Oh, the prince was very proud of his new sailing sloop. He put it on a cart and brought it back to the castle. On the front lawn he practiced raising the mast and rigging the sails. It looked so big with the sails up and pulling. Just wait until I get it in the water thought the prince.

The day finally came to sail the boat for the first time. The prince carted the boat to the harbor beach and lowered it into the water. Now, the wind was blowing pretty hard and in the wrong direction to launch the boat. Sooo, as the prince jumped into the boat it immediately capsized and filled with water. The flotation tanks that were to keep the boat from sinking filled with water. This was not a problem, since the boat was only in a foot of water. The prince was not discouraged. He carted the boat back to the castle and repaired the leaky flotation tanks. For the next several months the prince practiced sailing only when the wind was calm and in the correct direction.

With his confidence high, he was ready to tackle the harbor beach. This time, he decided to start early before the winds came up. As he prepared to launch the boat, an old timer, repairing his fishing nets, was observing the prince rigging the boat. He said, " Son I recommend that you get out of the water before one o'clock before the winds come up. They don't call this hurricane gulch for nothing". The prince thought to himself, " What does he know, I am an experienced sailor now and besides, I need to know how to sail in heavy weather if I am to sail around the world".

Sooo, off the prince went. "What a great day" he thought, the wind is just right and the sun was out. "This is the life of the sailor". Sailing down wind for several hours the boat covered several miles as the wind was light. About one o'clock, the prince started to think about what the old fisherman had said, "be out of the water by one o'clock". Just to be on the safe side maybe I should head back now, he said to no one since he was by himself.

Now, it wasn't apparent to the prince how strong the wind was, since he had been sailing down wind all this time. But, when he turned the boat around and headed back to the beach, he now had to sail in a direction directly into the wind. This required him to tack back and forth at an angle to the winds direction. To his amazement the wind was no longer a gentle breeze. As he headed back, the wind became stronger and stronger. On one tack heading away from land, the prince looked over at the land and noticed that he was not making any headway towards the beach. In fact he was being blown out to sea. Because of this he decided to tack back in towards the land. Unfortunately, the wind at this time was so hard that the prince could not make the boat come about on the new tack, by putting the bow of the boat into the wind. As hard as he tried, the boat would not come about.

The prince remembered that in one of the many books he had read, the old square rigged ships could not tack into the wind either, when changing directions. What they did was to come about by putting the stern of the boat into the wind. With that, the prince turned the boat around and headed down-wind, continuing to turn until the boat was now heading in the other direction. At least that was the intention. What actually happened was, because the wind was so strong, the bow was forced under the water and the whole boat started to submerge. Water rushed into the cockpit as the prince brought the boat up into the wind.

Being an expert sailor, so he thought, the prince always carried a bailing bucket, which he used to bail out the boat. He was now wet, cold, and headed in the wrong direction. Also, it was getting late. Finally, after many tries the boat was headed in the right direction but was not making much head way towards the beach.

As time went on many boats passed the prince, but he refused to ask for help. He thought, "A true sailor never gives in and asks to be towed." Time went on and the passing boats became fewer and fewer. The wind grew stronger and stronger and the prince became colder and colder. Finally, as one of the last boats came by the prince asked for help.

Now the prince's problems were not over yet. The towing boat was large with a deep draft and could not go in close to the beach. As they approached the shallows, the captain of the boat asked the prince if he could make it into the beach from 100 yards out. The prince responded, " No problem". Where upon the towline was cast off. By this time the wind was so strong that the sand was being blown off the beach. As soon as the prince was cast off he was in trouble. He could not make it into the beach. Fortunately, a fisherman was near by in a small dingy and the prince had to accept another tow into the beach.

There the prince sat, cold, tired and with the sun going down. He still had to get the boat on the cart to take it back to the castle. The prince moved the cart to the water's edge and floated the boat onto the cart. Unfortunately, what the prince did not notice was that the tide was coming in. By the time the boat was ready to be moved the cart was under water. Both the cart and the boat were stuck.

Just up the beach where the prince was stuck, a group of fisherman were watching with amusement, the prince trying to get the boat out of the water. One of them came over and offered to help the prince and proceeded to pull the cart and the boat out of the water. Where upon the prince returned to the castle. The next day the prince sold the boat and decided that sailing to exotic places was not all that it was cracked up to be.

End of story

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