January 4, 2009

Love me tender

CRUISERS UNDER SAIL spend a lot of time searching for the perfect dinghy. A dinghy, for the benefit of those of you who might not know, is the small boat that takes you to shore from your bigger boat. It’s also known as a yacht’s tender.

Tenders are like wives or husbands. None is perfect. There are always others that look more attractive from a distance. But as soon as you try them out you discover that they’re just as full of faults as the one you’ve already got.

After all is said and done, lusting after another one never did anybody any good. It’s more sensible to get used to the one you’ve got and make the most of it.

Let’s face it, you can’t do without one, unless you’re prepared to swim ashore every time you anchor out. But very few of us acquire the one of our dreams. Usually, we just end up with one we can tolerate. Mine, for example, came with a boat I bought. (Yes, yes, tender, not wife.)

But if you don’t have a tender yet, the world is your oyster. There are two major groups, hard or soft, solid or pneumatic. Some are sleek and glamorous and attract a lot of attention, but they’ll cost you an arm and a leg.

What you really need is a sturdy, beamy little workhorse able to carry a large anchor or a week’s provisions with ease. She should be able to take a great deal of abuse and snuggle quietly on your cabin trunk when you’re through with her.

And, of course, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t also be cute and good-looking, in a snub-nosed kind of way.

Today’s Thought
Great Estates may venture more,
But little Boats must keep near Shore.
–Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard.

A sailor, a doctor and a priest were waiting for a particularly slow group of golfers.
“What’s taking these idiots so long?” the sailor asked.
“I’ve never seen such terrible golf,” grumbled the doctor.
“Here comes the greens keeper,” said the priest. “Let’s ask him.”
“Oh, that’s a group of blind firefighters,” the keeper explained. “They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a big blaze last year, so we always let them play free any time they want.”
The priest said: “That’s so sad. “I’m going to say a special prayer for them tonight.
The doctor said: “Good idea. I’m going to see if there’s anything I can do for them or their families.”
The sailor said: “Why the hell can’t they play at night?”

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