Five in the lapstrake.

It is a gorse-yellow and golden dawn over Penn Beacon. Fresh rush and suck of the shingle beneath the shallow lap waves as they reach, keel and recoil. We roll the boat from the low trailer into the sea. Ffooks and Farrow, his cousin, on one side, Sean and I on the other. When we are knee-deep, it floats, almost lifting us, too. I tighten my grip. Ffooks’ old man huffs the trailer back away up the beach. His face is as red as the hair of his son. His hair is as grey as the ash that clings to his roll-up.

The lapstrake swings heavily toward me and if it were any rougher out here, waist-deep in the swell, I would surely be pulled beneath it. Suddenly, old man Ffooks is out in the surf, too. He takes the stern in both hands and says, get in. Farrow pulls himself up over the starboard and is in. Sean, laughing, port side, too. Ffooks looks across the bow at me and nods and, with an effort, I heave myself up. The gunwale catches me across my knees and, for a moment, I reckon I may just tumble back into the water. But, somehow, I’m up and I’m in. I perch one of the benches and rub my red knees. The skin on my shins is blue-white and goose bumped. Ffooks plops over the side and scoots to the bow bench, faces the sea. The old man, coming around the port side, climbs aboard. Five in the lapstrake. The next wave reckons to carry us back to the beach, the bow rises, begins to spin. But the old man, stood in the stern, with one sudden jerk on the ripcord, starts the engine. We teeter for a moment and then we are off. When I next look back, the beach is far away. Golden Cap soaks up the sun on its face and the water all around is diamond.

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