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Early morning musings

It's the dark hours, the arc of the dial when the world sleeps. High in the sky, an a full moon casts her silver beam and turns the space around you into an Ansel Adam's scene, painted in silvers and grey, black and blues.

Her light flashes silver on a group of flying fish who, startled by your passage, launch themselves from a wave crest in improbable flight, fleeing. In day light, their path would be away from the boat and its unknown threat. At night, even the moon's glow can't help them pick their path and suicide squadrons pelt your boat through the night with their hard, bony bodies. They flip and flop on the deck, the lucky ones bouncing back into the water and the less fortunate left behind to be found the next day or even days later if they found a unique, hidden final resting place.

The moon also backlights the cumulus clouds that crowd the sky. Hot days pull moisture from the warm water, carrying the vapor aloft its rising embrace. Reaching elevation, some of that vapor condenses and create the cotton balls the moon paints a romantic silver and white.

But others have grown older and angrier, black with threat, and the moon finds their contrast too. One passing before you, one behind, not so lucky with one that gradually overtakes you.

Its humid breath announces its arrival, and the winds pick up from the mild 10 or 12 knots you have seen all night long. First to 14, then to 16 and beyond.

Act now and this is a challenge mastered. Load up water ballast in both tanks to keep the boat flat, turn a few more points downwind and ease the kite a bit more and there will be no drama, no tale to be told.

Fail to act, and the building wind fills your sails and bullies your boat. Aided by an errant wave, it pulls the bow of the boat toward the wind like a leash. The pilot reacts to the roll of the boat and tries to correct, but with out the help of your preventative measures, it fails. The boat rounds up, head to wind and now you have your drama, now you have your tale. Woken from your nap, boat laid over and spinnaker flailing in the wind. Now you are recovering, not racing.

Not you, not this time. You acted in advance and instead are racing with the wind through the moon bathed seas.