We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, November 10. 2008
One of these days I'm going to write a post called "The Age of Ism". Racism, sexism, ageism, whateverism; they're all bad — and you know it.
And Maggie's Farm's may be guilty of one of the worst isms of all:
That's right. Little did Bird Dog know when he took me on that one day I'd be training my 3000X electron microscope on Maggie's, itself, exposing its dark and sordid secret to the light of day.
Are you ready for this? To the best of my knowledge, Maggie's Farm has never, not once, featured a motoryacht. Nothing but sailboats, sailboats, sailboats!
In my book? Guilty of boatism in the first degree.
Mine looks just like this little honey:
Below the fold: The perils and pitfalls of living in a marina and having to deal with bugs, slime, sailboat owners and fungus; tips on buying the right power saw to get rid of those pesky masts blocking your view; hints on using the new Black & Decker Underwater Drill Gun when playing fun tricks on your sailboat-owning neighbors; and, for the best gag of all, how to properly use a hypodermic syringe to inject a rolled-up sail with sulfuric acid late at night so there are gigantic holes in it the next time it's opened. The expression on the owner's face is just priceless!
Ah, it sounds so romantic, doesn't it?
The liveaboard life!
And that's just one of the fun things you�can do with�your motoryacht!
Me, I like imitating Coast Guard vessels.� It's surprisingly easy to do, and you know how�gullible people are.� A�simple rental uniform, throw a couple of sheets over the side with big�Navy-like numbers on them, grab your megaphone�and go hunting for some drunk party-goers.� "THIS IS THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD.� HAND OVER ALL�YOUR BOOZE, DRUGS AND COLLEGE-AGE WOMEN AND YOU WILL BE RELEASED UNHARMED."� All in all, people are fairly realistic about such matters and usually jump to comply.
Anyways, back to that 'romantic' stuff; yep, it's all that, and more.� The grace and serenity of a quiet marina cannot quite be put into words as the first�wisps of�a Category�5 hurricane�beckon on the horizon.� The�gentle rocking of the boat in the 174�MPH gale force winds lulls one into a warm feeling of contentment as the rising tidal surge�prepares to slam you into the concrete pilings.� That feeling of freedom and oneness with the universe when you're out on the mighty�ocean is only eclipsed by the sound of your hull tearing off from that reef you didn't see.
Romantic is the only word.
Specs & Terms
A "motoryacht", by class, is 31' to 60'.� After that it becomes a�"yacht", "superyacht", "megayacht", "intergalacticyacht", etc.� There's nothing "rich" about a motoryacht.� Just picture a good-sized motorhome�minus the wheels.��I don't have any good pics of my boat, but here's* an average ad if you want to get�an idea of how a 40' motoryacht is laid out.� There are some major variations, like the main stateroom might be in the aft of the�boat if the engines are more centrally located, but the general gist is the same.
*The above ad is for a�Mainship Sedan Bridge (like I own) and the one place it differs from almost all other motoryachts is the 'center helm', an extremely cool feature, so don't be confused.� Most helms are at the front of the flybridge.
When speaking of boats in general, they're usually gender neutral and referred to as "it".� When speaking of a specific boat, they're referred to�as "she."� You'll notice�in this article how I�slip back and forth.� It'll be "it" everywhere unless I'm referring to my own ship.� And, as you see in the picture above, she's gorgeous.
A "boat" is anything that floats on water and carries people.� A "vessel" is a boat larger than a rowboat.� A "ship" means it's oceangoing.
Whether a ship is oceangoing is due�as much to design as size.� In general, an oceangoing vessel is designed not to go under if it's swamped with a large wave.� If a huge wave hit this thing, it'd shed all the water within seconds�and�continue putting along its merry way.� A sailboat of almost any size is oceangoing, simply because a mega-gust of sideways wind�might knock it ass over tea kettle�at any time.
Conversely, there's a real popular fishing boat around (about 17') but they're completely open and would go down like a lead weight if hit by a big wave.� So they scoot out and stay within the reefs (about 5 miles out) where things are safe, and only go 'outside' when the seas are calm.
My Own Sob Story
I bought the boat to use as a charter boat, like for scuba trips.� (Go grab any scuba magazine's "Top Ten Diving Spots�in the Known Universe"�and the Florida Keys will most likely be #1 or 2)� I'll be kicking that into gear pretty soon, although I'm obviously dreading it.� I hate the thought of hard labor, and having to turn the steering wheel back and forth, back and forth, as I haul�yet another�boatload of excited, giggling, bikini-clad babes out to the reefs�is almost too much to bear.� "Only the toughest survive!" is the way I�look at�it.� I suppose I'll have many sad tales to tell here as I recall the brutal attacks by the hot bikini-clad babes as they try to hug and kiss me goodbye after their exciting hormone-palpitating trip.
Courage, I tell myself.
When it comes to actually living aboard a boat (and this is somewhat analogous to motorhomes), the big decision is size.� If you actually want to live aboard it, like for years, and at least semi-comfortably, then it has to be a full-blown 40-footer.� The next general size down, 31', is referred to as a 'weekender'.� Low ceiling, half-height fridge, small coffee table, very little storage, tiny head and shower, minimal galley�� just perfect for taking the family�or friends�over to the Bahamas or out fishing for the weekend.
My 40-footer has a 6'4" ceiling, a full-height fridge, two-burner range, built-in microwave, standard kitchen sink, standard breakfast table, storage cabinets and nooks all over the place, two small closets for hangered clothes and a large shower you could fit a boat captain and six hot bikini-clad babes in.� And we may have to if my outside shower�mysteriously breaks!
"But captain, do you have to shower with us?� We were going to take off our tiny bikinis to wash them!"
"Sorry, girls.� Coast Guard regulations."
"Oh, well, okay!"
So that's the main choice that has to be made.� Do you want a fun, faster boat but you'll always feel like you're 'camping', or a slower, bulkier�boat�but you've actually got room to live in?
When it comes to�motor versus sail, liveaboard-wise, the sailboats are always cramped because there's no such thing as a 'large' single-owner sailboat, in the sense that the wind will only push so much.� Once sailboats get to the 'big' category, they need full crews and lots of�canvas.
Suddenly owning an oceangoing vessel does, indeed, change at least one perspective.
Otherwise, it doesn't change a thing.� Oh, sure, when you walk down the pier and step onto land your first thought�is, "Oh, no � I'm among them again," but that's only natural.� Just be�cordial to the strange beings you meet and get�off that "land" stuff as soon as possible.� Man came from the sea, right?� Therefore, living on land is unnatural.� It's as simple as that.
And on a silly-but-related note, there's this.
One�interesting thing about living aboard a boat is that it really tunes you into the weather.� Tide levels are a big�deal if you're putting around the shallows (like here), moon phases play a part, weather radar maps take on a new and personal meaning, and wind direction plays a key factor when it comes to how rough the seas will be.
And, since you don't have those nice roof eaves to keep the�rain off the side windows, and�much of your fresh air�comes in through hatches (which, due to that darn gravity stuff, are particularly susceptible to rain), you have to stay on your toes when a rainstorm arrives.� I opened my forward hatch this�morning when I got up, slammed it shut when we got hit by a rainburst an hour ago, and now it's back open.� Lord help you if you leave a hatch open when you go into town and a sudden squall�hits the place.� Prepare for a soggy return.� So, yes, you definitely get tuned into the weather.
And here's�an interesting difference when it comes to living on land versus water.� Motion-wise, as you sit there, you're not moving in any direction.
As I sit here, I'm simultaneously moving in four directions:
There are two expressions that fit the�boating world�perfectly, albeit with a caveat:
Simply put, water is a corrosive, and saltwater ten times more so.� Put something in it and things are going to corrode.� With saltwater, just being around it is enough.� So, yes, in the grander scheme of things, boats cost more than their landlocked counterparts.
On the other hand, much of the costs can be prevented by routine maintenance and taking preventative measures, like spraying electrical connections with water repellent.� And, for that matter, using the right wire connectors in the first place.� Use the ones from the hardware store and (in a saltwater environment) things start corroding almost immediately.� Use the special marine connectors that�use heat to close the ends with an epoxy�seal and they're good for years.
On a related note, if you saw any of the bloggers a few months ago lambasting Al Gore for his huge houseboat, I wrote an article here debunking their claims.
Now, the caveat to the money you shovel into a liveaboard boat, compared to owning a house, is that you're not paying�big property taxes every year.� All you pay is a hundred bucks for the vehicle registration.� So, in all fairness, that has to be written into the equation.
Also, unlike a house, there's really only one thing that can go wrong on a boat that costs any serious amount of money; the engines on a motoryacht and the sails on a sailboat.� Compare that to all the money you can sink into a house.� Reroofing, repainting, new sewage line.��Violent wind storm knocks it off�the foundation.� Torrential downpour floats it into the next county.� Tornado wipes it from the face of the planet.� Earthquake swallows it whole.
On a motoryacht, the most important item is keeping the engine oil changed.
Yes,�motoryachts are�expensive to run.� Mine costs $75/hr at full bore, about�a third�that at cruising speed.� On the other hand,�if it costs you $500 in gas to tool over to the Bahamas and back, well, what would it�cost your family�to stay at a nice hotel for the weekend?� These aren't 'runabouts'.� They're generally�taken out�for a purpose, be it business or pleasure, where you're�expecting to spend a�few bucks.
The rental price of slips varies quite a bit, as you'd expect.� The�standard down here is $15/ft, so that's $650/mo for 40'.� Electricity and cable are hooked up at the dock.� My average electrical bill is around $55/mo in the winter�(tropics, remember) and $85 in the summer, with the sole difference being the AC.
I�use Verizon Wireless for my Internet so I can get�the radar weather sites while at sea.� I have a regular desktop computer in the salon and a laptop for the bridge.� I don't have cable TV because I never watch it,�plus I didn't want to get tied down to one location with a one-year contract.� It's a little expensive (about 4 grand), but DirecTV has a seagoing TV dish that supposedly works quite well, even bouncing around the bubbly.
On a motoryacht,�the gang�would pile aboard and you'd head for the�deep blue briny and never give the wind a thought.� So, yeah, it costs some money, but at least you're doing what you want to do, when you want to do it.� If�your guests are some special out-of-town friends or family and you really want to show off your boat and treat them to a great day�bouncing around the ocean, the gas money will be forgotten and you can pat yourself on the back as you motor past the sailboat party as they sadly�load the cooler and deli sandwiches back in their cars and go home.
Yes, you'll have to learn nautical lingo.� In two years, I've never heard anyone say "on the left side of my boat," if you follow me.� You also have to learn how to pronounce certain nautical terms correctly.��For example, "gunwale" (the small�walkway along the side of a boat) is pronounced "gunnel".� An anchor is pronounced "hook".� Windless days where you can go boating�and the sailboaters can't is pronounced "Ha-ha, too bad for you!" accompanied by�your departing wake.
Proper lingo is important!
You might read some horror stories about this in the forums so let me cover it.
Along the length of the hull�right at the waterline are channels or 'chines' cut into the hull which allow the boat to plane better at higher speeds.� When the boat is at rest, wakes from passing boats slap against the chines and makes a noise called chine gurgle.��It's kind of a watery whapping noise.��When I was�looking over boats, one guy in a forum said the chine gurgle on his boat was so loud�it woke him up every morning and he actually ended up selling the dang thing.� Pretty scary stuff!
So how did my first experience with the dreaded chine gurgle go?
I climbed into the sack on my first night, and just then a boat went down the channel I was docked on.
Never heard another chine gurgle.� I know they're there, and I can hear them if I focus on them after a boat goes by, but otherwise they immediately just became background noise; the natural noise a boat makes, and my conscious mind never gave them another thought.
In case you're interested in how the electrics on a boat work, it's actually kind of interesting.� There are two parallel systems running throughout the ship.
The boat, itself (engines, lights, anchor winch, bilge pumps, etc) is like a car and is all run off a 12v system.� Each engine has its own heavy-duty marine starting battery and there's usually a monster storage battery (350 amp-hours) connected to the generator.� Like a car, when the engines are running the alternators charge the batteries.� When the boat is hooked into 120v dockside electricity, a battery charger keeps all the batteries up.
Then, using dockside juice,�there's a whole 120v 'household' circuit running throughout the boat, with�normal electrical�outlets everywhere, and all of the kitchen appliances hooked to it.� If you want to use one of the 120v appliances (AC, stove, microwave, etc) while at sea, that's what the generator is for.
The fridge is usually 12v/120v and just sips electricity (1.2A), so at sea it runs off the big storage battery.� I have a couple of battery backup systems�for my computer and if those run down, I have a small 12v-to-120v converter so the computer can sip off the big battery.
Because there aren't any double walls and insulation, newer fiberglas boats just cook in the noonday sun and turn into gigantic ice cubes in the winter.� On the�flip side, the interior area is relatively small so it doesn't take much to heat it up or cool it down.� A motoryacht usually has two AC units (forward stateroom and salon), and one's just fine once the place has cooled down.� In winter, a couple of small space heaters�will have the place warm in minutes.� (The AC units are usually 'reverse flow' and will act as heaters, but they're extremely inefficient, moneywise, so everybody uses space heaters.)� For those of you in the icebound North, I have�some general�tips�on staying warm here.
I'd start off in a boating forum like BoaterEd, BoatingABC or Iboats.� Tell the gang your parameters and take it from there.� What do you demand?� Full-height fridge?� Full-sized kitchen table?� Got a big family?� Bringing along a lot of�friends?� Planning on doing any deep sea fishing?
Do you want easy access to the water?� The majority of motoryachts don't have any access at all, simply because the�retired folks who buy these things off the showroom floor are long past their scuba and snorkeling days.
Is speed an issue?� Boats vary dramatically, much of it depending on weight and hull design.� Both my neighbor and I have 40-footers, but his weighs 30K, has a displacement hull�and goes 17 knots�whereas�this frisky thing�weighs 20K, has a planing hull and skips along at 26 knots.� On the other hand, being heavier, his boat is more stable at sea, so there's a give-and-take.
If you were planning on spending all day out fishing, you'd want�a trawler design like my neighbor's, as you won't get bounced around near as much.� In my case, I just want to skip out to the reefs and back, so a 'cruiser' style was more appropriate, with the lighter weight and planing hull�resulting in�faster speed.
Have you weighed getting a larger, older boat versus a newer, smaller boat, like an 1985 40-footer versus a 1995 31-footer?� Again, on a motoryacht, the only thing that really costs any money are the engines, so if you bought an older (bigger) boat with rebuilt engines, the small stuff, while a constant drain on your wallet,�might be worth it for the extra room.
On the other hand, a newer (smaller) boat is going to need much less repair (in theory) and will generally be more modern, both in looks and accessories, so that makes�a strong argument.
To pick an example, the newer one might have a built-in microwave, and what you have to remember is that counterspace is extremely limited so you can't just�flop a microwave down on the counter of�an older boat like you�would in a regular kitchen, nor can you just start drilling into the outside�kitchen wall since a�half-inch later you'll actually�be�outside.� The�empty wall space for�a built-in�microwave has to be designed in from the beginning.� You might have an interior kitchen wall to work with, but then you're sticking the body of the microwave into the shower or a bunk bed.
On the subject, though, if�there's just one or two of you and you plan on keeping�the boat�for years, and the bunk beds ends up as a shelves (as on mine), there's no real reason why you couldn't�punch through the wall and install a small microwave or conventional oven.
And then there's gas versus diesel.� I just flat-out hate diesel fumes so I never gave it a thought, but diesel does have some advantages.� You don't have to run the engines occasionally to keep things clean (carburetor), they get better gas mileage and they generally last longer between overhauls.
Gas engines are great if you already know something about auto mechanics because they look like they just fell out of a 1968�Chevy truck.� Almost zero smog crap makes them a breeze to work on, and, except for a few small details, like one turns one direction and the other turns the other direction, and they're placed backward in the compartment with the flywheel facing forward... but apart from those minor details, they're just like working on granddad's truck � assuming granddad's truck has 700 horsepower.
What about the marina?� If there are�only one or two marinas in the area you want to live in and they have size limits, that's a serious issue.� I called every marina in the�Key�Largo area�and�my boat�was too long for one, too wide for another, too deep�for a third, the fourth�demanded a year's lease, the fifth was way too expensive, the sixth-
You get the idea.� Marina-wise, once you hit the 40' range, the rules change.� So that aspect of it has to be mapped out beforehand.
Conversely, you could start off with the�above�sites, but barging into a forum asking if anyone knows anything about one specific boat, model and year�probably isn't going to yield many results.� So do both at once.� Ask for brand and model suggestions�in the forums, but have fun browsing the web sites.� Don't�tease yourself; use the search function to stay within your�price range.
Next up is a first-hand look and maybe a�test ride.� Pick out a couple of likely-looking prospects and give the owner or broker a call or wing�him an email.� He'll probably be leery that you're just some lunk looking for a free boat ride so give�him a quick roundup of your current research efforts�so he'll know you're serious.��You still might not get a test ride out of it until you show an even bigger interest, but you'll certainly be able to look it over.
When you�finally decide on a specific boat, the next step is to hire a marine surveyor and have the boat inspected.� You have to do this to acquire insurance, anyway, so it's not money wasted.��And it'll�give you some leverage to haggle over the price with.� If the marine surveyor doesn't do engines specifically, also hire an engine surveyor.� It'll cost about a grand between them for the day.
Part of the marine survey is having the hull inspected, so someone (usually the surveyor or broker) will need to make arrangements with a local yard to have the boat hauled.� It'll cost another two or three hundred clams, but you want this done.� If it needs a paint job (and they usually do), you can figure that in�when haggling over the final price.� Get an estimate for a paint job while you're there.
After you shake hands and close the deal, there are a few things you'll need to do.� You'll need insurance, not only to protect�your investment�but the marina might demand it, and if this is your first big boat you should hire a captain to take you and your new honey to her new home.� The broker�should have a few people on tap.� That's what I did to get this big girl 200 miles�down the coast�and I learned a ton of stuff along the way.� I considered it money well spent.
Regarding insurance, ask around.� Quotes vary widely, as does coverage.� In general, this isn't like a house or car where you have a minimum deductible and they reimburse you for the rest of the repair costs.� The standard package�usually just covers sinking (including from hurricanes), and that's all you�really want.� Unlike the exciting world of automobiles, actually hitting another boat is pretty�rare.
The One Month Wait Plan
I was originally just going to summarize this, but I've decided to write out the whole story because it's instructive in a number of ways.� Assuming you're not in any major rush, you should plan on doing something similar.� Wait'll you see the ($$) results.� I got an amazing deal on this thing and I'll give lucky timing half the credit and I'll take the other half for the idea and implementation.
One�day at lunch I told my buddy that I was going to try what I called "The One Month Wait Plan."� This is where I emailed brokers absurdly low offers, then emailed them back in a week, then again (and they're dutifully bound to pass along all offers to the owner), and hopefully snag someone who really didn't give a damn about the money and just wanted to sell the dang thing for whatever reason.� I figured it would take about a month for�the owner�to talk himself into it.
At 9 o'clock�the next�morning, I sent out the first email.
An�hour later, the phone rang.� It was the broker.
"We accept!," he said.
"No, no, no!," I hollered back.� "It's the One MONTH Wait Plan, you bozo, not the One HOUR Wait Plan!"
I didn't really say that, but it was a pretty�cool moment.� I never even got the chance to send out the second email!� My whole plan � ruined!
Okay, want some prices?� Watch this:
Someone had replaced the generator (which I never use)�with an undersized one so I had the surveyor make a big deal out of it and claim it needed to be replaced ($8K), then there were some other things that � if you hired someone else to do it (besides me) and if you paid them top marine dollar ($99/hr) � would come out to another $5K.� So, between that and $8K for a new generator, we found $13K worth of things that � ostensibly � needed to be fixed first.
The One Month Wait Plan worked!� The fact that it only took an hour is somewhat beside the point.� I sent out a nice, pleasant email, made a preposterous offer,�and snagged somebody bordering on desperation.� Could have happened in the first hour, could have happened in the last.
"Hi�� Sorry, I can't afford your $90K price, I'm going to buy one of the 31-footers for $70K, but I just wanted to say how much I like your�boat.� Figured I might as well write�since you never can tell.� All I know�is, if it were me,�I'd sure�want my money working for me, rather than�rotting�away in some marina slip somewhere.� Well, have a nice day!"
That was the general gist;�a "just thought I'd�drop by" kind of feel to it, and I actually used that�"rotting away" line.� Remember, even if you're writing the broker, he'll probably forward it to the owner, so you want to plant a justification in�his mind why it'd be a 'smart move' to dump it now, as long as someone's interested, so they can start letting their money 'work for them'.
And, if nobody bites,�a week or two�later a quick follow-up.� Again, keep it innocent and upbeat.��"Hi�- I was just looking at the ad again and noticed the (mention some cool accessory).� Very nice!� By the way, if any of your broker friends are listing a 31' (make & model), please let me know."
By the odds, for every five or six owners, there's got to be one who doesn't give a damn about the money (within reason) and just wants to unload the heap.
In my case, the guy had bought a newer, smaller boat and was dying to get�the private dock behind�his house�back.� Nothing more to it than that.� But it wasn't in him to simply pull the plug (as it were) and radically drop the price, but when a radically low offer drifted in (as it were), he jumped at it.
Plus � and this is an important point � I made it clear after the survey that I wanted the�items fixed, even if we had to renegotiate the price, and he didn't want to have anything to do with hiring a bunch of workmen and meeting them at the dock and all that, so when I offered to take care of the $13K list myself if he'd lop off another $10K, he jumped at that, too.
Bottom line is, most of the online boats have probably been for sale for a while, and the owner (unless he's filthy rich) is probably somewhat desperate to sell.� But people need something of a justification to drop the price so much, hence your helpfully providing them with a few�reasons ("money working for you", "rotting away in some marina slip somewhere") to give them something to work with.
And, of course, if he doesn't bite at your absurdly low price, he might meet you halfway, which would�still�be more than if you just tried to haggle him down from his asking price.� So, as long as you've got some time, it won't hurt anything to give the One Month Wait Plan a try and send out some absurdly low offers, just to see what happens.
All in all, I've really enjoyed�living on a boat,�just for the unique experience it is.� I enjoy all the motion (never been seasick in my life) and running around closing hatches when a thunderstorm lashes through town is fun in its own frantic way.� If the world blows up, you merely slip the dock lines and take your 90 gallons of�fresh water, pantry full of food supplies and gas-sipping generator out a mile off the coast, drop the hook and wait for the shooting to stop.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that being around such great people has been part of the fun.� Everyone�in a marina�is alive and upbeat, simply because nobody ends up on a boat unless they have some gumption to begin with.� And they're a responsible lot, because if you're not responsible with a boat, you might wake up in two inches of water some morning.� And responsibility tends to translate to honesty.� This is the only place in my life where I haven't locked the door when leaving, and probably the last.� Try doing that in a trailer park.
And, of course,�the best part of owning a boat is actually being able to�use cool nautical terms... and mean them!
"Anchors aweigh, me hearties!� Avast, ye landlubbers!� Arrgh!"
Don't forget�the eye patch!
"Boatism". Confession time. The Princess' family are sailors. But years ago when the Unit and I went to the Annapolis boat show, the boat that caught our eye was actually a catamaran. The princess suspects it was the prospect of...
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Actually, we have done many lovely powerboats, including motorsailors, Picnic Boats, old Chris Crafts, and antique Elcos.
Perhaps I should have prefaced it with "modern", heh. I do think I remember some old wooden Chris Craft being highlighted about a year or so ago, but I wasn't counting antiques. There wasn't a wooden liveaboard (power) at either my last marina or this one. The constant upkeep of the teak drives most owners screaming into the night.
One thing I forgot to mention was liveaboard catamarans. There are two large ones here and one smaller one. You sacrifice a fair amount of living space but they handle like a dream on the open sea and the owners obviously view the sacrifice as worth it. It's one of those "don't get them started" things or they'll talk about their 'cats' all night long. Pretty neat concept, all in all.
One of my good friends here in central Florida lives aboard his 40' Chris Craft. He thought he got it for a steal for 20K, but that was before he had the top end on one of the engines overhauled. All new valves and seats in both heads including having them milled. And he still hasn't got both drives working properly so it makes a nice floating apartment.
Jim - Judging from around here, being down for repairs seems to be pretty common. I can think of at least two like your friend (engines apart), one has an electrical system that's fried, some are in desperate need of fresh sails, and I was out with a friend on his 52' monster a while back and his hydraulic steering completely gave out. I just as easily could have titled this post "Never A Dull Moment."
BD, give me a little help. What was Billy Joel's boat named? You've featured Hinckleys and Shelter Island Runabouts and that Aphrodite Yacht, but what was the name of Joel's vessel? Interesting article, that....
I realize that this all happened before you all were born, but Mr. Evinrude, the founder of the Evinrude boat motor company which was established in Milwaukee, lived aboard a Large Evinrude-powered motor boat with his wife, the charming Frances Langford [surely you remember her -- used to sing really well]. I read a story about their seagoing love-nest in the local newspapers when I was quite young [quite!] and it sounded like a really lovely idea. The young are so impractical. I bet that love-nest was not nearly as efficient as Dr. M's, which apparently accommodates a number of bikini-clad cuties at the same time. Evinrude, being of an earlier generation than Dr. M, was content with one at a time.
I have an Evinrude story. A buddy and I launched out of Rye Harbor (New Hampshire, BD) in a 12' Sebago with 25 hp Evinrude outboard pushing us along. We were heading out of the harbor in a dead calm into white caps on the ocean to pass the groaner out a half mile. The seas were to rough so we turned around and the following seas kept spilling over our transome as we made for the harbor because that outboard wasn't up to the task. All the way back my buddy kept yelling S.O.S., which was intended to mean something more crude than "save our ship". (We were young). All told, we had a good day on the water.
Why didn't anyone tell me there's no 'e' in transom? I tell you, I feel like Dan Quale. I'd rather feel like Joe Biden, because it wouldn't matter how stupid I was... Everyone would give me a pass for huge gaffs.
Thanks Doc, that's a good intro to what I was looking for (besides the dangling preposition at the end of that sentence). And you skipped the gratuitous insults to boot!
I hear that Houston has a surfeit of used boats for sale these days, I think I'll mosey on down and see what deal washed up after the hurricane.....
It's okay to end a sentence with a preposition now. English evolvement says so. "Eats Shoots and Leaves" also said so, so that's my two cents whatever that's worth for.
"Shit Ona Stick"?
So, you basically took what amounts to an oversized canoe into the teeth of the New England Atlantic. Kids, huh? Anything for a yuck!
And we didn't stop you from spelling it "transome" because it looks like it should have an 'e' on the end, like 'handsome' and 'flotsam'.
"And you skipped the gratuitous insults to boot!"
It wasn't from lack of trying, I can assure you. With that kind of material to work with, how can one go wrong? But somehow the main page got off on that boatism thing, then the second page just had to start off with a line about the romance of the open sea, and I just never got the chance to embarrass you before all humanity by dragging your good name through the muck and slime we call the disease of modern life.
If you'd like to suggest another theme to write about, perhaps I can redeem myself. :)
Q: If JoeC robbed a store and then started bawling his eyes out, what would the headline read?
"The Outlaw JoeC Wails!"
Thankyew...thankyew...I'll be here all week...try the veal.
Houston sounds like a great idea. Even if a boat isn't sunk by a hurricane, there's usually some damage (masts and sails on a blowboat, entire bimini (the big awning thing on top) ripped away on a motoryacht, and maybe damage to the hull and bowsprit from smashing into the pier. Nothing huge, but enough to keep someone from fixing it 'just cuz', and hopefully enough to make them just want to dump the dumb thing rather than bother with it.
There's all your ingredients for the One Month Wait Plan. Send out your absurdly low offers, carefully mix in said ingredients ("money work for you", "rotting away in marina slip"), then let simmer. Somebody'll eventually crack. You just have to give them a mental out, and I can't think of anything that beats that "rather have my money working for me" line.
BTW, did you read James Taranto's BOTW column yesterday?
We had a 31' boat that looked like yours, Doc, only it didn't have the tall middle thing. We and another friend went from Norfolk to my parents' plantation (south of Charleston) via the Inland Waterway. Cape Fear river - where it meets the ocean was one scary place. We went through at night and regretted it right away but had no choice but to continue on. Treacherous. At each little bridge we had to blow the horn, but we didn't know you had to blow it three times for the bridge-keeper to open up. All of them had opened up for us and waved until some old codger late one night refused to open up. We were like, what the hell?! The guys were talking about shooting the guy, but it was all for naught and we had to spend the night anchored close to the bank. Around 3 A.M. a loud tooting woke us and had us scrambling to hoist the anchor and get out of the way of a giant flat boat/tug boat. We heard the pilot toot three times and like magic the bridge went up..... oh. Off we went after the barge. We had to replace a propeller and my ex was half-way submerged at a marina on some planks designed to stay half-way submerged. There were a gazillion ducks around and I threw them some peanuts and they flocked over. My ex got really mad so I threw out a huge handful and the ducks swam right over him and landed on him squawking and pecking for their nuts. oh. He was mad.
We go out now on the Potomac into communities of boats and restaurants that serve the boats. It's a lot of fun. Boat people just wanna have fun.
Great story Meta. How long did that trip take you? Did you stop along the way for supplies and provisions. Especially more peanuts!
It took three days at an average of 30mph. We brought most of what we needed but did have to stop for ice - though managed that when we got gas. What was fun was noting the friendliness of people on boats. They all look out for one another, and we towed people as often as we were in need of a tow. Just the protocol of the sport...and how nice it is.
I'd like to take a steam ship down the Mississippi. That would be fun! They bring the peanuts to you. :}
Three days at 30 mph. That's a long trip. I had forgotten how long the intercostal was.
Yes... the friendliness of small communities with a common interest is quite amazing. You see the same thing in the aviation community. Amazing how a common interest draws such bonds between disparate folk.
Steam ship down the Missippi... now that does sound like fun. With a Mark Twain as a companion that would be a delight.
I was in St. Louis for a visit, and we got onto one of the big wheel ships that leave the dock around seven and travel down the Mississippi River for a couple of hours before turning back. There are four floors and on each floor is a different style of band/dancing. So fun it's hard to describe. The whole evening was a delight..... and yes, we danced on all four floors.
Is there any large body of water near you? Have you ever jet skied?
The ship you described sounds like an ocean going cruise ship. Full time fun. But you can swim to shore if you need to. That's a plus.
Two hour drive to a decent sized body of water. Still just a pond in my estimation... but it's the desert.
Haven't jet-skied. But would like to try it out, looks like lots of fun.
Jet-skiing is fun but only if you trust the person driving. We did it in the ocean one time and I had my daughter behind me and my son was with my husband. The guys wanted to go fast and turn and spray water all over us. They flipped over and almost walked on water to get back on their jet-ski because the water there is full of sharks. I got nervous and turned the throttle the wrong way and tossed my daughter, six, off the back and into the drink. It was all very funny afterwards, but it takes some skill to handle that much power.
Scary story, sharks or no. I'll be careful should I have the opportunity to try jet-skis. Well, at least for the first thirty seconds or so.
My father had a stinky bass boat that he kept down at the dock, and we'd take it out to catch shrimp and bait. It smelled so bad we'd have to keeping moving so the stink wouldn't suffocate us. It went airborne during Hurricane Hugo and wrapped itself around one of the giant oaks in the yard, and had a permanent curve to it so that it rocked on its own in calm waters. We caught a shark one time and it pulled us out of the creek into the river and then into the larger river and was headed out to sea. We were all excited until water started gushing over the front of the boat with the force of his pull. With chagrin for the loss of a fun adventure, we cut the line and rocked and rolled that stinky 'vessel' back to the dock.
Then there were the stingrays...... Just as powerful as that shark. Scary stuff in ye olde stinkee bass boate. :)
Hell of a story, Meta.
Damned exciting, though, and a wise course to cut the line, of course. If that old bass boat could talk... the stories it could tell. Do you still have it?
Yep. Still have it. We like to catch mullet because they jump into the boat for you. They make great bait.
As for big boats, my choice would be a big sail boat with a couple of huge engines to power it when we hit the doldrums.
All I know is that when I retire, I will have to be able to see water and mountains. Either that or I'm going to retire on a ship liner and cruise the world. :)
I'd peg "Shitonastick!" at somewhere around 1970, maybe a tad later when it made the rounds. Did it come from something, like a movie?
This isn't to be confused with "shit on a shingle," of course. Which gives me an idea for a fun post. You guys want to hear about Beautiful Camp Elmwood?
Imagine not only a beautiful camp with rolling green lawns and a sparkling blue pond, but actual full-blown peacocks walking around the place. In my mind, it's just a dream, so peaceful and serenic it was.
Of course, it was also something else.
Well Doc, you've caused me to be a little envious I admit. Growing up in Florida and being next to the ocean, rivers and lakes was damn nice. I was always around boats of all descriptions, loved'em. And now here I am in the middle of the largest desert in the US. Dang.
"you've caused me to be a little envious I admit."
Oh, well, I can fix that right up. You know how the weather sites have that "feels like" temperature? It's basically the humidity factor.
I have a screen-grab of weather.com from last summer:
Feels like: 110!
Feel any better about that dry desert air yet? I lived in Vegas about five years ago and thought it was fascinating. A 113-degree day with almost zero humidity felt like an average day of 96 in San Jose. Hot, but not unbearably so.
Then I move to a friggin' swamp!
Humidity you can cut with a knife. Alligators walking down main street tearing limbs from hapless pedestrians, mosquitoes the size of Volkswagens, water moccasins dangling from every lamp post, Category 10 hurricane every two weeks; thunderstorms, lightning strikes and twisters the rest of the time. The object of mockery, scorn and derision by good Farkers everywhere, and we'll never live that damn 2000 election down.
And you miss this place?
What I like about your marina community, Doc, is that it's a close-knit bunch, all looking out for one another. It's also very like a blog community where Southern hospitality rules or one can find another blog. In your case, a master of that charm, if you don't like your neighbors, you just motor away to another marina. And here on the blog, I note how you answer and address each of those commenters who takes the time to talk about your engaging posts. As to the humidity... that is why I left Florida, and never looked back
I love the Hinckley Talaria 44 Jet, but give me a boat with a stick and real keel any day.
It's not that I don't appreciate what can be done or accomplished with power, but there is nothing like the sound and feel of wind in your face and in the sails and sound of a classic hull knifing through the water and waves.
I was fortunate enough to grow up on a 41 foot racing-cruising design sloop. There were many vacations sailing through New England. (My dad let me have my first drink on one vacation - it was a Scorpion, wow!)
I have missed one summer of competitive sailing since I was 9. I've been in squalls, taking head sails down while being underwater as waves broke over the bow. I've broached a 40 footer with the spinnaker up. I've been in night races with no moon or stars in light air when the crazies would turn off navigation lights so you could not see where the competition was. There are lots of great stories, lots of good people and lots of great places.
I was hopeful of buying a sailboat so I could do the same with my young family. Alas, the financial crisis has thwarted my ambition so far. I hope Obamanomics doesn't make it the dream impossible.
Good stuff, Barrett. I felt myself holding my breath a couple of times. I hope you get your boat so your kids can share the experiences.
I wonder if you've read Patrick O'Brian's 20 novels of the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars? They are stunning books and true to history, and no better stories have been written about life aboard the sailing ships of that time. For the novice, there are companion books to help explain just the vocabulary and seafaring terms. I will see Portsmouth one day to see the resurrected ships to finalize with sight and touch what O'Brian so beautifully captures in words. Anyway, you might really enjoy them.
No, I don't believe I have read any his novels, although I've read similar types of historical fiction.
I did a quick search and will pick up one or two for my commute on the train.
Best read in order though not necessary. I'm on number 16 in the series. It will be a sad day when I finish the last.
"...but there is nothing like the sound and feel of wind in your face and in the sails and sound of-"
So you're one of them.
You must have loved the "After the fold" stuff. The blowboat and smokebomb owners here have a great time deriding the other group, and it's exacerbated by the mere happenstance that the motoryachts are bunched together (I refer to it as "the good side of town") and the wind wagons are all together "across the tracks." When we mature, dignified motoryacht owners (aka "true boatsmen") are discussing worldly matters and one of them walks up, I always remind everyone to be cordial and treat them just like a human being. I'm sure you agree that it's this kind of mutual respect that keeps the boating community ticking.
"There are lots of great stories, lots of good people and lots of great places."
We have a tiki hut here (I believe Florida state law requires it of all marinas) and sometimes the old hands tell boat stories until the wee hours. The fun thing about boats is, even if you don't take the dang thing out, you still end up with boat stories. Here's one.
A couple of months ago I suddenly started hearing this thu-whump! coming out of my left-front quarter panel. It was clearly coming from that area. I ran outside.
Every thirty seconds or so, thu-whump!
At this point I'm picturing a big tarpon holding a 2x4 in its mouth and ramming the vessel in some bizarre cross between 'Jaws' and 'Moby Dick.'
More than once I went outside, circled the boat, listened carefully...
The answer? I finally gave up and asked one of the aforementioned old hands.
It was a pile driver over a mile away, on the other side of the ridge across the marina. They were putting pilings in a nearby marina.
Yet you couldn't hear the tiniest peep outside. It was a great lesson in hydroacoustics. After my heart stopped racing, that is.
The expression "Shit on a stick", as near as I can tell first made an appearance in my life via George Carlin. I dogpiled that business, but couldn't find movie references.
Anyway, it was a suitable exclamation for our predicament.
There is an old movie (Lionel Barrymore) called You Can't take it with you. In that movie is a line where his character goes on and on about "isms." Very good movie, I think most Farmers would find it amusing.