For gods sake what ever you do don’t come to me for info on buying a sailboat. Opinionated yes, a lifetime of sailing will do that to a person. Why do I sail the boats I do? Because I’m scared shitless. If you read this blog or know me you will know that I’m afraid of everything. Water in all forms, rain, snow, ice, salt, fresh, rivers, lakes, the ocean… Im afraid of heights, caves, the dark, Sasquatch, bears and sharks. I’m afraid of planes and flying, motors and all loud noises in general. I’m afraid of girls and relationships and loneliness. I’m afraid of motorcycles, bicycles, bridges and tunnels and even skateboards. Im afraid of the dark, lighting and thunder and the boogie man. I’m afraid of failure, success and everything in between. More that likely my next book will be notably titled Leaving Chicken Harbor…
I wasn’t always a small sailboat guy although I can tell you the precise second I became one. I had an accepted offer on a 2 year old Jeanneau 43 or something like that. The offer was pending on a lot of things, one of them being finding suitable moorage in Newport Beach, I failed on every accord when the broker gave me the name of a “friend”. I met with him that same day, the guy wanted a 10K finders fee and said moorage would be no less than 18 bucks a foot, I promptly told him to his face that in no uncertain terms that he could go fuck himself, I hate greedy people.
later that day walking around Pirate Island licking my wounds I found a nice little Westerly Cirrus Sport 22 and bought it on the spot, prime moorage in a multimillion dollar neighborhood was $150.00 a month. At that point I lost all interest in large boats, gave up my dreams of someday cruising in a Maxi and started the long process of learning how to live like a normal human.
Small boats aren’t like large boats and they need to be sailed accordingly. They are very safe offshore but you damn well better know how to care for the boat and when it’s time to pull the plug, heave to and have a stiff scotch. Going back to I’m afraid of everything, through a series of many small full keel boats I decided that a Bristol Channel Cutter was the boat for me and that’s the direction I was heading when a long lost love came to visit, unnamed at the time I now call her Sookie and if you’ve ever seen me row or walk away you’ve also watched me stop, turn and take one last look at her beautiful lines, a love born at sea. Before leaving on my bike trip one of the girls I worked with for the summer busted me, my head leaned up against Sookies bow bidding her farewell and saying a prayer for her safe keeping. I have never been afraid on Sookie, although I have been scared shitless, there is a huge difference.
We all have different comefort levels, for some it’s a sat phone, life raft and epirb, all things I would like to have. Some people think large boats are safer than small boats, who knows. For others it’s a big engine and never taking off their life jacket. For me it’s a boat that I know will bring me home and suffer my idiotic mistakes with little consequences. As far as I know I’m the only adult who won’t swim without a life jacket but I’m also the first one in the water every time. Yes I’m pretty much afraid of everything in this world but what scares me most is dying of security and old age in a warm safe house.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” Hunter S. Thompson