Ok, you can stop humming that Hall & Oates tune now. (I did it too.) This isn’t a story about a girl who leaves you. Or perhaps, it is exactly that. After all, relationships have an arc with a beginning, a middle and an end. The end is always the wild card, isn’t it?
I was on a weeklong trip on a friend’s vessel when I got a text from the broker who had my own boat listed for sale: “He wants it.” That’s all it read. A succinct, yet telling message.
Wait, I thought. Am I doing this? Am I going to sell the boat? She had been listed on and off for a while. Why does someone want her now?
To me, a boat has always meant one thing: freedom. No matter if it’s a dinghy or a mega-yacht, it gives you the ability to leave shore stuff ashore and escape for a few minutes, hours or days. Being at sea is the bellows that stokes the fire into the life of yachtsmen. Cruising relaxes the mind and opens the imagination. Time on the water is life-giving, empowering and — in the right low-pressure scenario — exhilarating.
Was I ready to give up this part of my life? I have owned some fashion of boat for the past 15 years. The idea of selling without a plan for another seemed the nautical equivalent of leaving a job without a new one lined up. But alas, here I was.
“To me, a boat has always meant one thing: freedom.”
By the middle of our trip, I resigned myself to the fact I was at peace with the decision. There will be no winter storage yard bill this year. There will be no spring maintenance next year. There will be no need to add extra lines when foul weather approaches.
But there also won’t be jaunts after work to catch snapper off the bow in midsummer, enjoy a late sunset and press reset on the brain. No winter sojourn to show my son some seals in the bay. No cockpit view of the air show on Memorial Day weekend.
Madness, I know. But what’s done is done. For the time being, I’m a captain without a ship.
Then again, I’ve already been to a couple of regional boat shows this fall and have seen some eye-catching craft. And the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is fast approaching. I can feel the itch needing to be scratched. And as the song says, “I’d pay the devil to replace her.”