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Opening Day 2016

Friday at the Foc’sle, when the sun goes over the yardarm, is the place to be for drinks, to wash away the dust of the work week, and find good salty conversation. This was certainly the case as I bellied up to the bar one evening.


“Hey Krabby, do think your boat is practical?” Getting caught off guard is my handicap (I was still sober), and I engaged mouth before brain and fired back before realizing the setup.


“Why of course, I race her, cruise her, spend me dockside relaxing with friends and family...” Then was cut off.


“Look at all that brightwork! How many deck apes does it take to get that huge main up?”


Still not realizing where this was going I continued, “Well, your boat has used plenty cans of varnish too!”


“Of course. My boat is not practical either, in fact, I bet you a drink that no one in the bar has a practical boat, because boats are not practical.”


Oh boy, did I step in it. Now I see where you are going with this...


A boat is a place to unwind and escape the world for an hour or a couple of days. You have to have your me to play. How does the saying go, ’all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’? We could argue that many things are not practical. Many of us would be better off using ride-sharing, Car2Go, and bicycles than owning a car. The cars we own are not the most prac cal either, but we still use them. I am sure I could go on here but the point is; if your boat provides a venue for relaxation then it is practical to own it. That is the common thread we all share here at the club. We all find joy in being on the water in our yachts. Sure it is a love and hate relationship sometimes because there is much to do to take care of a boat; but with some planning and management, as I have talked about before, it is mostly enjoyable.


When people talk about boats being ‘a hole in the water to pour money and me’, I am reminded of the age-old story of a famous aristocratic era yachtsman. The yachtsman was asked by a young man, ‘Sir, it looks like yachting could be great fun! Would you tell me how I could learn if I will enjoy it before I make such a large commitment?’ The yachtsman answered, ‘Here is a simple test: with your best suit of clothes on, stand in a bucket of .... (let’s just say bilge water), tear up one hundred dollar bills, while someone pours cold salt water on you head. If you find joy in this then yachting is for you.’

Although this is an old tale, the philosophy is the same. Not much has changed over the years, except the value of a dollar has increased at least ten-fold. It’s the challenge and thrill of the sea that we enjoy. However, when things go wrong you ask yourself, ‘what am I doing here?’ Then, when you are back at the bar telling sea stories, you can’t wait to do it all again. Of course, when you are swinging gently on a mooring off Buffalo Beach, having a sundowner, it is more than worth it. You cannot put a price tag on your precious free time. This isn’t about putting a value on the practicality of yachting. It’s about the joy that comes with relaxing on the water with others that share the common interest. For us that share the love of the sea, it’s priceless.

Practical or not, we all share the common goal of enjoying our me on the water. Our 131st Opening Day speaks of this loud and clear. So this Opening Day come enjoy the celebration. Invite friends, old and new, to enjoy your boat and toast to another great season of yachting.

“It sounds to me like both of our boats are practical enough to win this bet. Looks like you are buying me a drink.”

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