20 July 2011

Yachting Days

Let's drag a black ship down to the sacred sea, select a crew, load oxen on for sacrifice, and Chryseis, that fair-complexioned girl. Let's have as leader some wise counselor—Idomeneus, Ajax, godlike Odysseus, or you, Peleus's son, most eminent of all, so that with sacrifice we may appease the god who shoots from far away.

The Iliad, Bk. I

Do you mess about in boats? I do on occasion. I grew up around boats in New York and Connecticut and am at home on, in, and under the water. Come to think of it, I've spent the vast majority of my life near a coast of some kind. I'm a particularly strong swimmer and enjoy spearfishing, angling, and surfing. I rowed at university. I love spending time in the water, whether it's skindiving off Kauai, hunting grouper in the Bahamas, or showering with a couple of young brunette surf hotties back at my place.

But sailing? I've never had a particular interest in sailing as a calling or way of life. It's just something one does. I'm afraid I find it rather boring. Some sailors go on about sailing the same way wine enthusiasts talk about wine. No reason to get pedantic about it. It's highly irritating. Ruins the mood. But that's just me. I prefer motor boats. Thames launches and Adirondack wooden boats are more my thing. I am, however, still able to admire as objects of beauty the sweeping lines and majestic configurations of classic yachts.

I'm surrounded by classic yachts. Southern California, as you well know, is a sailor's paradise. For several years my late father owned a sailboat, a 47' beauty stabled in Newport Beach and La Paz, Baja. He couldn't sail, at least not very well, so he hired a crew to handle the sailing side of things. With friends he accompanied it down to Baja and up the coast to the San Juan islands in Washington. When he died, an event I wrote about here two years ago, the boat more or less disappeared. The case is ongoing.

I belong to a yacht club. Which reminds me: I need to cancel my membership. The other members are an awfully nice crowd, don't get me wrong, but they drink cocktails at levels that provoke my competitive drive. That's not a good thing when my goal is to unwind. And anyway, I don't need to belong to a yacht club in order to enjoy some cocktails and chase tail. If you still want to run in yachting circles, you would do well to befriend generous chaps who own yachts and love to party. Why buy the yacht when you can get the Veuve Clicquot and girls for free?

9 comments:

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

There are few things I like more than messing about in boats. There are also few things I dislike more than spending social time talking about messing about in boats. A particularly nice yacht club I frequent in Ireland has a written guidance that reads "In the dining room members may speak of all but sailing. Outside of the dining room, members may speak all about sailing."

White Horse said...

Yes, not a calling or way of life for me either, although I do enjoy sailing quite a bit. Planning an overnight trip for later in the summer, likely my only trip for a while.

el viajero impresionista said...

"Why buy the yacht when you can get the drinks and girls for free?" That is exactly what I heard from a yatch ownwer´s friend.
You are not alone.

w. adam mandelbaum esq. said...

Joined a yacht club for a year and met a bunch of jeans wearing budweiser drinking twits whose last original idea died in solitary confinement. Other people's boats are like other people's wives, they cost less to ride on, than if they were your own.

Bourbon&Pearls said...

I used to go sailing with my father, I loved those weekends away, soaked in rain and whisky.

Unapologetically Sound said...

Where do you stand on punts, old fish, the wrong end, I'd guess?

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

US ~ The same place I stand on filthy old dinghies.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, I get horribly sea-sick - even before I've started drinking - so I prefer messing around on terra firma fishing for compliments.

Derek Warren said...

I loved this piece...even as lover of sailboats. And I concur fully on your view of yacht ownership.