Discretion is the better part of Valor.


We were on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River preparing for a St. Lucie Sailing Club's race when an un-forecast thunderstorm boiled up a few miles up river. Huge bolts of cloud to ground lightning were striking out of the big black cloud which kept growing and getting closer to us. I was reminded of the story I've often retold. A quarter a century ago, my daughter Jennifer and I were sailing across the Gulf of Mexico on our first offshore passage from Key West to Corpus Christi. The captain/instructor told us to avoid touching anything metal in a lightning storm. I looked at the stainless steel metal wheel and asked what he did about that. His deadpan reply: "I ask someone else to steer". I called for a tack, gave the wheel to a crew member, headed back down the river, dropped the sails, and motored through the bridges as the storm kept getting closer and closer. Before long we were tied alongside the fuel dock. We walked to shore and were safely seated in the snack bar just as the rain began to pour. After a couple of beverages and some snacks, the rain and wind let up and the sky began to clear. We walked back to the boat, untied it and motored to our slip where I easily backed it into as the crew tied us up securely. We didn't do the race but lived to sail another day.

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