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Re: A Damn Hot Day

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By MichaelRead
August 8, 2006

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I remember a time when I was a kid of standing on the shore fishing and wishing I had a boat � any kind of boat as long as it floated because 'out there' were more fish. It didn't have to be grand (in fact, my first boat was a square-ended pram with oars) but as long as it got me out there � and it did � I was happy. I associate boats with being happy.

Now I have a 20-ft Bayliner Trophy set up for fishing and has state-of-the-art electronics, more rod holders than cup holders, and a honking great 175 hp Suzuki outboard that gets me 'there' Real Fast. Am I happy with it to the extent I was with the pram? Sure, but on a different level. It's not that my fishing has changed so much as it is having all the stuff I need (Scotty downriggers, VHF, GPS and sonar) all in one place. Yes, I am happy with it.

Buying a boat can be much like buying a car in that you buy a car to meet a need. The difference is that most car buyers know what they want but not as many boat buyers � and that's why there's something called 'two-foot-itis': everything would be better if it were two-foot longer, two-foot wider and double the power.

Sure, buying a 14-ft aluminum Lund with a 25 hp outboard can be fun yet it's more a water-bourn conveyance. Has its points but if it rains you get wet and, while you and me can piddle off the side, the Admirals really don't like having just a pee-bucket and everyone turn their heads. After a while the boat isn't a happy anymore. There's more boats tucked in behind the garage and not really used because while Lund build a fine boat the needs of having something that meets your desires (found after owning the boat) are more than the boat can deliver.

There are some people who buy a boat because it's a great place to be on a weekend even though they don't take it out. They live on board for a weekend, enjoy the social aspects of being in a marina and that's their 'boating'. Their boat, all 32 feet of it, is a floating cottage amid all other cottagers at the marina.

Some buy a boat for their kids so their kids can ski, tube or wakeboard. Great fun if you're into it. However, the boat � as a family object � loses it's appeal as the kids get older. Sure, they've had fun for several summers but when they hit their teens they only come out if you can promise girls in bikinis (or, if you have daughters, young men they should stay away from). I meet many older couples who, now the kids have grown and found other things, want a boat they can travel on.

Which brings up the travelers. People who's aim is to go somewhere and it's a boat that can take them there. Like going up to Desolation Sound or Bimini. Their boats are floating Class A campers with all mod. con. "Honey, power's up for the microwave," sums up their boats. Their boat 'happy' is drinking Chardonnay in an Alaskan fjord in a boat that costs as much as a medium-sized house.

Fishing nuts of which I am one buy smaller nimble boats that can take rough water (hint: 'freeboard' means I fish in a two-foot chop and a six-foot swell). A whole division of boating unlike other segments. The boat is small enough it can be handled by one person and is seaworthy. But that's because I live in the PNW and circumstances dictate what type of boat you buy if you're into fishing.

About sailing as in having those large bed sheets on a stick. Most started (and still do for many kids) on small Walker Bay type dinghies that are, frankly, more fun than you can shake a stick at. Then they get two-foot-itis and buy larger boats. One definition of sailing a larger sail boat: 'Absolute terror at six knots'. Sailing these boats is for those who really like micromanagement because that's what you have to do most of the time. <Bass singing voice> "Furl that sail, hoist that main, you get a little sunk and then you bail." </Bass singing voice>

Two things about boating that are universally true: B.O.A.T stands for 'Bring Over Another Thousand' and that boats in the water are far smaller than they appear on land. Also, if you want to experience what it's like on a large sailboat, go and have a cold shower while ripping up $100 bills.

Since I don't know what you want a boat for, Richard, my advice is to look at the whole thing other than the nice days in the advertising in Boating World While a boat is a pleasure it does need some thinking about such things as getting out of the rain, and having a piddle.

Just a head's up (pun intended).

MichaelR


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