I’ve never really liked sailing on lakes, no matter where you go your always on a Lee shore. My constant desire for a larger boat has little or nothing to do with dissatisfaction with my current boat, it’s more of a manifest destiny style of thinking. More accumulation, more assets, a bigger piece of the pie and should I be one of the fortunate few to meet my twilight years a bit of a nest egg. Not the type that sits on paper patiently waiting for the next crash to wipe it out but the kind I can enjoy while I’m young and strong and healthy and free. Not an investment as much as a hedge against inflation and dying of boredom
Ask any billionaire and I have asked many. All so called investments are little more than gambling for people who are really bad at math. For some the gamble pays off, for others it will simply destroy them. A good boat on the other hand serves many purposes better than most and is an investment in personal happiness and freedom.
In the 70’s the baby boomers could easily purchase a really nice house for under 20k even with those era wages and historically the highest priced interest rates of mine and their generation it was simply hard to fail. Times are a changing and I’m simply not interested in a 10k a month mortgage payment. Boats on the other hand can be easily purchased by any reasonably gainfully employed part timer. I pay 1700 a year to store Sookie including power and water and many fringe benefits such as a spa and gym. Add 500 for full blown kamikazee insurance and that leaves me almost a grand a month to blow on anything I’d like while still living below the national poverty level.
Many would consider me to be an extreme minimalist making most that like that title to look like crazed hoarders. Yes I am a hoarder but I prefer to stockpile consumables. Things that make my life impossibly perfect like excellent coffee cooked dark and black. Exquisite wine and cheeses and fresh fruit to go along with it. Read this blog long enough and you might think I’m a lush but I couldn’t be any further from that. I drink two glasses of wine a night, every night. I hate hangovers, no I find them intolerable and avoid them like the plague.
When a mid 90’s Hess was offered to me the only logical answer was yes. Bigger yes, better, yes, faster, yes, yes, yes, yes. The last few weeks have been a tidal wave of personal reflection and what it is I need and want in this world. It’s been years since I’ve done any extremely long distance cruising. In fact after the last one over 15 years ago I was pretty much done. My ex wife begged my to sail around the world with her but I was very reluctant. I’ve done enough of that style of sailing to last a lifetime. I prefer to gunkhole, I love docks and plugs and easy access to things I need like part time work and supplies and more than anything I truly love living in the good old USA. I also like ditching the boat and taking a nice 75 day vacation every year, god knows i need it with my insane 20 hour work weeks, I just plain old get burned out.
When I pulled my vberth cushions that space was instantly transformed into a huge storage unit, my new windvane still sits in its box that is literally bigger than me. I’ve been camping in Sookies quarter berth and I’m loving the change in space. I have high tastes that come from my previous life. I don’t need a Rolex but I enjoy it. I could easily use a $200.00 folding bike but I prefer my Brompton. My uke is a work of art but a five buck harmonica would get the job done. I’ve found that by having less I can have the best for my use tools and it all costs less in the long run than the fuel I used to pour endlessly into my SUV. Not only have I come to terms with the fact that I can’t afford a bigger boat but I’m also beginning to wonder why I need one as large as the one I currently live aboard and sail. Yes she is quite extravagant and much more than I need but I know her well, she is paid for and I love her. I’ve started a new study and am searching for the smallest and best boat on the planet for what I love most, exploring my inland sea, living aboard and dropping in any boatyard I choose for my next mini adventure.
I don’t just like small boats, I love them and everything they represent. Freedom comes in many forms, choosing the right boat is no easy task. Old boats usually cost more than much newer ones in the long run. The same can be said about most things in life. My Brompton wiped out my meager savings account but now almost two years, 2 bike tours and over three thousand miles down the road she has proven to be a very wise buy. I could sell her for exactly what I paid for her or ride her another 10,000 miles bringing her cost down to about 10 bucks a month.
It’s true I don’t have anything socked away for retirement but that’s mostly because I retired broke 14 years ago. I don’t mind working part time here and there and I get to live my life the way I choose now as opposed to having a really nice car and paid for home with a few mill in the bank when I turn 75. The new boat was worth the chase and in many ways letting her slip through my fingers has reminded me if nothing else that a bird in the hand is always better than two in the bush. My journey into voluntary simplicity continues am I’m rapidy learning that I actually do have a bit to offer the world through my experiences and trials and errors.
From the log of Sookie, the doobie passed from hand to hand, as usuall it was passed around me. I really wished I smoked herb, maybe this will be my year. The conversation was loud and merry, we all debated the merits of boats and designs and what truly is the best boat. The red wine flowed, it was one of those nights that just scream, we’ve all arrived at our final destination, the place most will spend a lifetime searching for, always searching. In the end we all came up with nothing new but still the wisest words ever spoken. The best boat is the one that you own…