Nonsense Numbers

Taken from The Golden Age of Sail, by Joseph Jobe et al., pub. Lausanne, 1967, attempting to gain permission to use photo, but not sure what else to do. Let’s consider it common domain, shall we?

I’ve been reading about the Age of Sail as part of my overall task of situating myself with boats. This impressively large thousand-dollar object alone has been awkward in some ways, and I’m sure a trip to the library can fix some of that. 

Sailing is always kind of associated with the rich, and that is something I rebel at. My family is from the peninsula and the islands where you get on a boat to go to the store for bread and milk, and they would have called it a sailboat, not a yacht, and it wouldn’t have been their first choice in boats, either. I can almost hear them say, "Try having a diesel conveyance on the water — it beats the sails any day for bread and milk." 

It’s not that it doesn’t take cash to have a sailboat. It does — and not as much as you think. YouTube is full of video accounts of dusty young people crawling around in free boats with sanders. I have watched dozens of hours of people learning how to use power tools. 

I would recommend Try the power tools first, then try them on a boat. That’s after watching some accidents. 

Sailing has been so much more identified with regattas, clubs, and old money than sanders, whereas at my price point, what we need is a middle ground between Grace Kelly in Newport Bay and whoops the winch handle.  

Boating is always best if it’s part of a scene.

Today’s bottom dwellers in the arts need to punch it to get that scene put together better because Burning Man is liable to make boats look passé. It is the style of that bygone era on the budget of a contemporary health care artist that is the epitome of the shabby chic boat we want. Plus some parties. That is why we love South Park Marina. It is close enough to the scene that maybe we can scare up some budget drinkers if we scour a few blocks of food carts. 

There is an insider world of yachts, where they are clubbing about.

Then there is an outsider world of yachts, where they are getting away from the club. 

You have to hold your own about exactly where you are going to be in the club.

Do you have the money to be in the yacht club?

No, but I don’t have money NOT to be in the yacht club. Tell you a secret: it takes an ambient number of nobodies hanging around to keep the yacht club well-populated, and I know who is going to be one of them. 

The rich are fussy and incomprehensible. Their boat world is kind of weird, albeit a major part of the ecosystem of sailboats.

Sometimes the rich keep boats sitting on the harbor and never go to them. Now this is not to be considered an unnecessary expense. It is a boat. But it is not the most wonderful boat. 

A wonderful boat has people clambering about it often — and it often sits silent. 

I like the rich boats because they are nice to look at. They spruce up the place for the rest of us. And the rest of us are livened up with a shocked amazement when someone finally appears and fires her up. A diesel engine needs a certain amount of action or it goes down, and a boat in general needs “a stitch in time saves nine,” more so than a house. That is probably what happened with my boat. That is why we subtly disapprove of these rich toys that often end up in the junk heap for lack of being used. They bring boats down. 

A lot of people hit a certain point in life where they just hate civilization and need to go live on a boat. That is a respected club in and of itself. The Get Off My Yard Yacht Club. 

That is not all a writer would need, but partly. I have lost the forward momentum of my writing in the maelstrom of the rich club, and here I am, trying to fix myself with the healed solitude of a boat. 

Then there are the people who at a certain point had to live on a boat for financial reasons and simply never got off the boat because they forgot their manners about apartments and didn’t care to recover them, even for free on welfare. That is a Get Off My Lawn of its own, and I respect it.

A kind of civilization amnesia sets in with boats, even if you are down the block from houses. 

The real people are always around the marina and they are usually experts about the gadgetry. You need a little advice once in a while to not get in trouble with a cheap boat. After a while the budget liveaboards are almost appendages to the wide world of boats. Take away the boat, and they would not exist. 

I look at my budget and see that I have no business having a boat yet I have a boat, and I think that after two years of boat ownership, the boat is not going away. It is the budget that is going away — to be SAILOR-ized. Eventually that is most of what happens with boats, and we all know it. 

© Joann L. Farias 2023