Buying a Boat

January 31, 2010

I wish I could think up a clever analogy for buying a boat. It would be gratifying to package this whole experience up in a tidy little cliche and dispense that wisdom to people who, like us, are suffering the tumultuous ups and downs of buying a circumnavigating sailing vessel on a small budget. Maybe, “Buying a boat is like high school girlfriends… but without the kissing.”

I have fallen in love 3 times in 3 weeks. So far, no kisses. Maybe its a little melodramatic to say that these inanimate objects have “dumped me.” After all, my sentience should give me the upper hand in these relationships, but if you ask my wife, she’ll corroborate. I am reduced to a sappy, romantic, drooling boy when presented with high combings, a butterfly hatch, or a fancy cabin. I even tell myself not to let my emotions cloud my judgment, but its no use.

Thankfully I’ve got some terrific advisers. My dad plays the devil’s advocate like it’s his job and keeps me honest (with myself).  My buddy Mike (4k miles away) cheers my every decision while gently pointing out things to watch out for. After the breakup, he cheerfully badmouths the ex with me so I can move on. My new friend Dave Martin (17 year circumnavigater) gives me the seasoned viewpoint. His dire warnings about the evils of teak on deck ring in my ears even as I consider yet another teak decked boat. And then there’s Bob Perry, the venerable and highly opinionated naval architect. I’ve hired Bob as a consultant, and he’s been worth absolutely every penny and more. Bob gives me the straight scoop (as he sees it), carving up these ladies as if they were chunks of fiberglass, wood, and steel (which they SO aren’t 🙂 ).

So, I must conclude that buying a boat isn’t really like anything. The girlfriend analogy comes close enough that my wife asked me tonight “have you found a new girlfriend yet?” But it still misses the mark. Buying the boat that will take my family safely where we want to go is like nothing that I’ve ever done before and I guess that’s a good thing.

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