March 3, 2009

Another great escape

I’VE BEEN SURPRISED recently to receive several letters from prison inmates. They all had read my book, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, and they all had questions about which boat might be most suitable for them.

I’m at a loss to explain this sudden development. Are they planning to break out of jail and disappear over the horizon in a stolen boat? Or are they about to finish their terms with the realization that now is a good time to find bargains in used sailboats? You wouldn’t think the national economy would have much impact on someone in the slammer but I suppose they have a lot of time to ponder on it.

Perhaps it’s just the thought of spring that has seeped into their minds after a long bleak winter. When you’re wasting your life away reclining on a barebones bed in a concrete cell, you might well entertain romantic visions of white sails in warm turquoise water, and green palm trees rustling on soft sunny beaches. Hell, I do that myself, and I have a nice soft bed.

I always advise them to go simple. Most of them seem to be interested in singlehanding, and simplicity is the key for the lone sailor. Boat speed seems to be of interest to them, too, which is understandable, I suppose, if you’re being chased by the law. But I keep telling them that none of the 20 boats in my book is going to be able to outrun the Coasties or the Home Security guys who routinely drive around at 20 knots because they don’t have to pay for the gas.

If I were on the lam I’d want a small inconspicuous sailboat, something that wouldn’t attract attention, something that wouldn’t arouse suspicion. Something old, a bit shabby, and tired-looking. Something a bit like me, I guess.

Today’s Thought
His venture sounds like a banana peel awaiting its victim.
—Charlotte Curtis, New York Times

Tailpiece

A new poll reveals Americans’ 10 favorite forms of exercise:
• Jumping to conclusions.
• Hurling insults.
• Sidestepping responsibilities.
• Throwing fits.
• Running down friends.
• Running up bills.
• Pushing their luck.
• Fending off creditors.
• Pulling fast ones.
• Passing the buck.

2 comments:

Bob K7ZB said...

Not really so surprising... pure escapism drives the behavior, I believe. I have read your book now at least five times, am not in prison, own a Sabre 28, and enjoy contemplating where one of your boats would take me when I finally reach escape velocity from Lake Michigan. You wrote a classic - I still look each of them up on yachtworld for the right one, sailed only four months a year in fresh water, to make my own escape.

John Vigor said...

You own a great boat in which to make your escape, Bob. She, too, will take you anywhere. I wish you all the best.

Cheers,

John V.