You can tell a lot about a person by the boat that chose them. The outboard engine strapped on the back of a sailboat might be the ultimate in sophistication but it also says a lot about the person sailing the boat. It isn’t because I hate the internal combustion engines, but I do. It isn’t because on some level that I am a purist, but I am. It isn’t because I hate the smell of fuel in my boat, but I do. It’s for one reason plain and. Simple.
It’s because I simply can’t afford the cost of owning and maintaining a boat with a Diesel engine. I don’t want the speed penalty of a prop dragging or the extra two holes to maintain in the boat. I want the space for wine and my bike that is taken by these huge and stinky mechanical beasts but more importantly I want my boat to remain a sailboat and not a motor sailor.
I was watching my neighbor installing a 19k new Diesel engine in his 14k sailboat and wondered why? I wasn’t judging, just curious as to the logic of his descision. I remember 200 miles into my solo trip to Mexico when on a still windless day my outboard literally blew it’s stack. In a fit of rage I threw it off of the boat and became a instant convert to the engineless way of life. Now older and wiser I can see the logic of a solid inboard but still can’t justify the expense or any of the other downfalls just to make my life just a bit easier. Old leaking tanking tanks stink and all old tanks will eventually start to leak. I remember using 230 Sawzall blades to extract the diesel tank on a friends boat. That and many other experiences through the years keep me keeping my little boat simple. I still happily use a plastic bucket, a lead line and a compass and Hank on sails but I think I’m in the minority.
You see them all over the place, sailors motoring when there is perfect wind. I always wonder why they would motor when they could sail but then again why do people drive their cars when they could walk or ride their bike. Part of living the simple life for me is simply cutting out all options that might make me lazy. Opening day is coming and there will be a big party at the dock, I turn my attention to buying painting and varnishing supplies to make Sookie look like a million bucks before all the yachties show up, she is my calling card afterall. The long days sanding, buffing and painting make her a shiny girl but they also force me to look at and touch every inch of her every season. I know my little boat like the back of my hand, not just how she looks and feels but how she sails and that’s why I have a sailboat in the first place, so I can sail. One of the hardest parts of achieving true freedom is extracting all the things from your life that can rob it in an instant.