The Sausage Syndrome

Elective surgery for unwanted feet. "Telltales" from our November 2011 issue.

November 2011 Telltales

November 2011 Telltales

November 2011 TelltalesSteve Haefele

Last month I was enjoying a sundowner on the bridge when I noticed something odd. My neighbor across the dock was not doing the same. As this skipper’s nose shines like a portside running light, I couldn’t imagine that he’d miss his sunset beverage. I then spotted him in the shadows on the narrow side deck of his supersize Euro-style express — I wondered if something was amiss.

“What are you doing?” whined his better half (half his age) from the bridge. Armed with a razor knife he was covertly scraping the builder’s vinyl branding from the boat’s house side — I returned to my beverage. Friends, I predicted this sort of thing would happen!

Just a few years back when bigger was the fashion I identified a malady particular to boaters that I called the Sausage Syndrome — the symptoms were unmistakable. Sufferers were incapable of recognizing a vessel’s real value in terms of outfitting and quality. They were fixated on length overall, and the more feet or meters they could pile on, the better. It appeared a pandemic was brewing, and industry pundits dismissed my practical prescription (below) as builders focused on supersizing everything from sport-fishermen to lobster yachts — lengths surged. Just when a 100-foot bowrider was seeming to make sense the fever broke, but it was too late. Anchorages and marinas were already jammed pulpit to platform with enough LOA to reach the moon and back.

If only folks had listened! My prescription for the Sausage Syndrome could have become boating's "little blue pill" — no bathtub or candles required. I suggested if bolt-ons were good for your trophy wife, why not for your trophy yacht? It was the perfect solution for satisfying testosterone-infused yachtsmen hoping to realize their DLR (dream-length ratio). Inflated yachts for inflated egos — just add air! Push a button and shebang — instant yacht augmentation. Imagine, a hiss of air and your 20-foot trailerable becomes a 100-foot trideck while a quartet of Kahlenbergs blast the theme to Rocky.

Not only could you keep up with the Joneses, but when it came time to visit the yard or pay for dockage, your Trophy Yacht would shrivel up like a California raisin -— sweet indeed! It is this feature that today’s yachtsmen sorely miss, and herein lies the pathology of the current virus that is spreading like the plague. The poor red-billed yachtsman I spotted had sacrificed a perfectly good green flash so that he could abbreviate SuperSled 80 Express to SuperSled Express. At his next port of call his 80-footer will no doubt become a 60-footer, or perhaps even a 50-footer if he hacks off the petrified PWC elevator screwed to its transom.

Alas, the Trophy Yacht was not to be, and now yachtsmen who once dreamed of implants are seeking reductions. The disease has even found its way to our dock. I removed Anhinga's platform and had been considering removing her pulpit. I changed the badge on her house side from 37 Bertram to simply Bertram. Such branding enhancement is now common and dockmasters are wise. I know of one who has armed his dock staff with tape measures, metric conversion calculators and Yachting's brokerage section.

If you are suffering linearly, no worries! I have come up with another brilliant solution that requires no surgery. Imagine a marine-grade version of the Rolodex-style license plate on James Bond’s silver Aston Martin DB5. Push a button and your BullShip 100 becomes simply a BullShip and you can deduct feet and bucks from your dockage. Trophy wife costing too much as well? Perhaps a Bond-style ejection helm seat would interest you?