Why Own A Boat?
09 September 2015 | La Paz
There are more kinds of boats then there are kinds of cars. In my world though, there are only two types, power boats and sail boats. First thing is this; most of them rarely sail. Oh they own a sailboat, but it sits in a marina 360 days a year. My boat has been in Mexico for almost a year and each time I go boating and return to the marina some boats have not budged an inch; never do. There are millions of boats and boat owners in the world today. What is our fascination with boats? I believe it's really our fascination with the water, especially the ocean.
Two-thirds of the Earth's surface is covered in water. If you believe in evolution, all life first evolved from the sea. If you believe in the Bible, God first destroyed the Earth with a great flood, and we are all descendants of Noah and his crew. By the way Noah's journey was the first documented incident of a sailor running aground. The Apostle Peter had a whole fishing fleet but then he swallowed the anchor.
When they do manage to leave the slip, it's either not windy enough to put up the sails, too windy to put up the sails, or the wind is blowing in the wrong direction to put up the sails. You've heard these before; a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into. BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. Those are what we call "truisms" . . . because they are true. Bilges are generally nasty places to be mess'n in. Any work done down there is ten times harder than if you could actually reach or see what you're trying to fix. It's really important to go down into the bilge occasionally though to look around. Regular inspections can head off all sorts of emergencies. Boats are as varied as the people who own them. They range from the canoe to the mega-yacht. There are almost an infinite number of styles and designs as there people who own them.
It may be called a fishing boat, a picnic boat, a work boat, a go-fast boat, a motor yacht, a kayak, or a sailboat. You may claim to want to fish, to work, to sail, to paddle, or to party but the real reason you own that boat is to be on the water; it's in your soul. We are all children of the sea whether we know it or not. We lost our gills somewhere along the way, and our fins are barely serviceable these days, but our heritage is the sea. That water is salty, saline like the ocean. Our very being is the same element that makes up the oceans of the world. It's clear that we all have some innate longing to return to the sea. All of the countries of the world were discovered by brave men in sailing ships. The early Vikings, Columbus, Ponce De Leon, Magellan, and all those great seafaring explorers told tales of looking for gold and buried treasure chests, spices or other treasures. The truth is they just needed an excuse to mess around on the ocean in a boat. Today we either go to the beach or we buy our own boat.
We own boats precisely because we have heard the call and we need to answer. We haul our poop, we battle mosquitoes, we crawl around in the bilge and we drink too much booze. We bust our asses and knuckles and we bang our knees. We risk life and limb in bad weather. We pay for bottom paint, electronics and fuel. We live in a cramped space that rocks and rolls as we drop shit overboard. We go without a bath sometimes for days on end. We cuss limp dinghies and we freeze in the winter and roast in the summer. We fight off mold and mildew. We scrape barnacles but we wouldn't change a thing. Why? We are drawn to the sea.
Boat Gremlin: these critters are never seen but steal things, or at least hide them from me so I can't find them. Lost a smart phone once; true story never did find it. Every day I'll look for something and I can't find it. Some things I never do find. One engine or two? It's like having a woman. If you just have one and you treat her right, she'll treat you right. And why do boats that never leave the marina have autopilots and radar and such? It's always best to keep the water on the outside of the boat. Sooner or later though, water will find its way in. Fix that immediately, or it will only get worse because water always wins. On a boat, especially an older one, things break; just accept it as a fact of the boating life. Things that are supposed to move quit moving and things that are supposed to stay still, come loose. Don't buy a boat with tons of teak, you'll soon learn to hate it, unless you allow the sun to bleach it a ghostly white, we don't have teak on our boat. Ask six boat owners the best way to care for teak. You will get six different answers. Ask six different boat owners which anchor style is best. You'll get six different answers again. Don't anchor near me with a loud Briggs & Stratton portable generator. If you have to go portable, buy a Honda, your neighbors will appreciate it. Learn how to anchor properly before you embarrass yourself again.