Monday, 15 September 2014

Knowing Your Boat Well

Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness – lines from a poem by Keats; it’s not quite autumn yet but still there is a hint of it in the air even though the weather remains beautiful at the moment.

This is the first time in my life that I have been able to wake up any morning and go sailing if I choose. Work always used to get in the way so now I’m taking every chance of getting on the water while I have the estuary to myself– and it is beautiful – even in the morning mist, even when there is no wind, even when there is nowhere in particular to go. Sometimes it’s good just to be out there drifting. Sometimes I just sit on the boat and think, sometimes I just sit.

Maybe the eighteen months of boat renovation added something to the pleasure I’m now getting from being on the water. Would sailing my own boat be as satisfying if I could have afforded to purchase a new one from the production line? Who knows? Different people have different tastes and drivers, some people I know seem to get great pleasure from owning the latest, biggest, most expensive toys and for them it seems that the ability to purchase these items is an essential component of the satisfaction they gain. 

The problem with this approach is that nothing stays new forever, and last year’s model can’t hit the spot. Either they change boats with astounding regularity or they have to accept that the good warm feeling of satisfaction in owning this boat will fade pretty quickly.
From my point of view, I don’t have the resources or the inclination to purchase new or sell-on regularly, I like to build a relationship with my boats and I tend to keep them a long time. Usually it takes quite a while to get to know a boat but this is the first boat I have renovated and in some respects, because of that, she is different. I got to know her quite intimately, every nut and screw, every inch of her gelcoat hull and every bit of rope and wire in her make-up. I have only sailed her five times to date but already she is an old friend.