Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Friday, February 22, 2013

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over....

For me the great life of sailing maybe over. Except for the memories. Which are substantial if not inestimable. But this looking at 'next' boats is just time-wasting and wistful thinking. I can't even care for my teeth, let alone a new/unfamiliar vessel. I'm thinking that not even a lotto win will recover or restore yachting for me. Our ages & infermities & medical complexities are just trending too much toward adversity. When I catch myself looking speculatively at my next boat, I end up feeling like I am 'in irons'.

My mind goes back to the time in 1989 when we bought Das Boot. What we had done is put in offer on a Sparhawk-36. We did our due diligence, went through the survey, and we 'hauled and hung'- our new boat. We were surprised at the amount of water draining unremittingly from the crease between her hull and the leading edge of her keel. We were shocked. The broker tried to reassure us:
"She's just smiling! That's all."
We went home and slept on it for a night. We did not sleep easily. Went back to the broker the next day and reneged on the deal. The broker was clearly disappointed. Two weeks later he died of a heart attack. He wasn't that old. We turned around and bought Das Boot, actually having her built according to Trophy Wife's specifications! Das Boot turned out to be a vastly superior boat. We never looked back. Initially remorseful, I never really thought about that broker whom we may have killed.

Until now. Now I can imagine that yachts had become for him not uncomplicated objects of art or sources of fun. That's the way he got started in the business, of course. But he had become dependent on brokering them as a source of month-to-month income. Which means, some nights, maybe weeks, he did not sleep easily. They became more undifferentiated in his mind, even if they were still individually 'special' and uniquely 'beautiful' in the minds of his customers. They were simply commodities. If he had lived much longer, they might just as well had been trucks. Or trailers.

I want to pass Das Boot on to a quality owner before she becomes a commodity to me. Because right now, she's still a treasure.

And looking back to 1989 when we turned down that Sparhawk-36, I can understand how my wimpy prospect felt last week, turning us down. He couldn't sleep, thinking about whatever it was about Das Boot that spooked him. Maybe some rust on the engine bolts? Maybe that the RPM gauge on the engine wasn't working? Or maybe the fact that it took my current broker's clueless agent 30 minutes to get the engine started? Whatever. I'm going to get over the disappointment he caused me. Two weeks from now I will still be living. Because boats -- the ones with sails -- can only prolong my life.


  1. Time marches on for us all and of course that can be disheartening, scary or something else. But, without being naive, I hope you can say that your sailing future will not be over, but just different. Of course you would prefer to continue with Das Boot but if your circumstances no longer permit that, maybe you need a Sozadee moment to find a new direction. Please keep us posted on your quest and thanks for sharing.

  2. I will still be living. Because boats -- the ones with sails -- can only prolong my life.

    Been a busy and tough couple of months at work. Could use a boat with sails right now.

  3. I'm sorry you are thinking that your sailing days may be over.

    It's something I think about a lot too.

    Barring some sudden death by accident or stroke or heart attack, it seems very likely that deterioration in physical abilities will one day force me to admit that my Laser sailing days are over. I see that Dick Tillman, a Laser sailing icon since the early days of the Laser, has decided that he has sailed his last Laser regatta this month.

    Perhaps I will then move to a less physically demanding boat? Maybe. But even that will come to an end one day. I hope that by thinking ahead and accepting that that day will inevitably come, it won't be too hard when it does.

    In the meantime, I totally agree, boats with sails can only prolong my life, not to mention make it more worth living.

    Hang in there Doc. And keep on blogging.

  4. There's space reserved on my boat for you, Doc. You're good rail meat!

  5. Thanks, guys, for these comments. I would be sailing on other peoples' boats, especially in today's race. It's just that my back is out now, too. Maybe I'll have to get that surveyed, also.

  6. Life has a way of working out - I hope that with a little time it turns out to be a good thing that Das Boot didn't go this time. It's sad to hear you think your sailing days are numbered - I enjoy reading about everything you get up to and would miss your commentary - maybe now is the time to take up knitting and start hanging round sailing clubs talking about it? It's nearly as much fun and less likely to put your back out.

  7. I wouldn't give up on the sailing game just yet! You've got plenty of years left to carry on your passion and I hope you do so!