October 20, 2009

Anything to keep the peace

(Tune in here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a new Mainly About Boats column by John Vigor.)

I’M A FULL-KEEL MAN, really, but I did once own a fin-keeler for a few years. I dreamed about her last night, as a matter of fact, dreamed of the day I first sailed her. It was a strange dream. It was as if I was watching myself all those years ago, and listening to my brain ticking over:

THIS FOOL thinks I'm interested in buying his boat. I can tell by the smirk on his face that he thinks I'm hooked. What a jackass. I wasn't exactly born yesterday, you know.

"Very handy to weather," he says.

Well, yes, I can feel that. She's a C&C 28, one of their finest. She damn well ought to be good to weather. But that doesn't mean I want her. Entirely the wrong kind of boat. We've agreed on a cruiser, June and I. Something nice and safe and sedate. Lots of room. Comfortable double bed.

If he thinks I'm going to buy this low-slung, lightweight racing machine he's got another thought coming.

"Try her on a reach," he says. "Pull off and I'll ease the sails. See how nicely she tracks?"

Yes, indeed. She fairly flies across the long, lazy swells from the east. Hardly needs a finger on the helm. A real thoroughbred.

Not that it matters, of course. No matter how much he grins, this boat is not for me.

"Pretty sheerline," he says.

Yes, everybody at the club has mentioned that at one time or another. Delicate. Goes perfectly with that reverse stern. She was one of the last really pretty IOR racers. Now they've all gone fat and funny and ugly.

We run home. He raises the spinnaker and I trim from the helm. She holds up her head and sends spray flying, millions of tiny drops glittering in the afternoon sun.

"Like her?" It's almost a leer, that grin of his.

"She's okay,” I say non-commitally. “Not what I'm looking for though, I'm sorry to say." He's not going to catch me like that.

June's waiting at the slip when we get in. She takes me aside and says: "You're going to buy her, aren't you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You've got that silly look again."


"You're in love. It's written all over your face."

I don't know what she's talking about. Sometimes she's very obtuse.

Then the cunning owner invites June below. Good luck. No room to swing even half a cat down there.

She sticks her head up. "She's got the sweetest little galley,” she says brightly. “Sure you don't want to buy her?"

"Well … if that’s what YOU want."

"No, it's YOUR decision."

"I guess so, then, if it makes YOU happy."

Strange creatures, women. We agree to buy a decent, solid cruiser and now suddenly she's urging me, begging me on her knees, to buy this beguiling courtesan, this seductive, curvaceous little beauty that sails like a witch.

Well, okay. I'll go along with her. Anything to keep the peace. Just wish that fool of an owner would stop grinning, though.

Today’s Thought
Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it.
— Maurice Chevalier

Did you hear about the peasant in Afghanistan who was handed a sealed ballot at the polling booth? He started to tear it open, but an official screamed: “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I just wanted to see who I’m voting for,” he replied.

“Are you crazy?” the official exclaimed. “Don’t you know this is supposed to be a secret ballot?”

1 comment:

Bob K7ZB said...

Another great column... I seem to be sending at least one of these per week to Kathy for her enjoyment, too. This one made me wonder two things: first, you seem to have a tendency to like boats around 27 - 28' and I wonder what is compelling about that length for you; and, second, having read these columns for some time now, are you contemplating a book compiled of them in the future? Thanks for the Blog, John, it is both informative and entertaining. Bob