Lately, I've been thinking about dream boats. It could be just one side effect of this narcotic called spring; what with cherry blossoms fluttering like confetti and ospreys balancing their wingtips on the warmest of breezes, it's hard not to start dreaming-about clouds, true love, blue water, a bull market, the full moon, whatever. But for me, lately, it's been boats, boats, boats.
Truth be told, this is one of those lifelong afflictions, something along the lines of chronic heartburn and bad knees-comes and goes, depending upon the alignment of the planets and how many Twinkies you've been eating. This most recent bout began in Hampton, Va., where I was visiting Chris and Earle Hall at Bluewater Yacht Sales. We were walking their docks when we passed a 47-foot Buddy Davis undergoing an interior remodeling. I sighed. "One of these days," I said more to the Buddy Davis than to anyone else in particular, "when I'm rich and famous, I'm gonna get me a sportfish. I have to get my dream boat first, though."
"What's your dream boat?" Chris Hall asked.
"A Santa Cruz 52."
"Oh ho, good girl!" he laughed.
Well, it is true. I don't see much point to dreaming if you can't dream big. And dream diverse too. If not a Santa Cruz 52, then why not a Buddy Davis? Contrary to what you see, hear and read too often around the Bay, sailing and powerboating are not mutually exclusive. No reason we can't go both ways; in fact, we probably should. Seeing how the other half lives is always good for one's perspective.
You just have to roll with it. Don't limit yourself. One day you feel like a Bertram 31, and the next you simply must have an Alerion Express 28. Sometimes you think you can't live without an Atlantic 42 catamaran, but then you're certain all you really want is an old Whirlwind runabout. There are days when only a Hinckley Talaria will soothe your soul, and others when a nameless 16-foot kayak will make you feel reborn.
When it comes right down to it, what you really need is to get on the water, and whether it's in a beat-up Grumman canoe or the latest eye candy from Tiara, the point is, you are out there. Where life is better. Where the light is different somehow, born of the sky rather than muted by land. Where you can lie on your back from sunset to sunrise and watch Cassiopeia and company dance the night sky in their elaborate celestial ballet. True, you'll get a little damp doing this, and probably your back won't be the same for a week, but who cares?
Every morning, my four-year-old son runs across the front lawn to visit our 17-foot runabout Quill, which wintered on a trailer by our house. He rubs her hull and tells her he's happy to see her and can't wait to go fast with her again. This boat is some 17 years old and spent at least one winter sitting on the bottom after sinking at a mooring. For five-hundred bucks, we bought her from the owner who let her sink, repowered her with a rebuilt 90-hp Johnson and ran her until the transom threatened to fall off. We planted her in our back yard, and every night for months my husband would spend hours rebuilding her from the keel up. He Awlgripped her a forest-deep green with white decks. The summer of her debut as a new old boat, we got three solid offers to buy her. But we couldn't do it. What would we say to our son? She's his dream boat, and money won't buy you a dream.