July 26, 2015

What the boat ads really mean

IF YOU’VE EVER tried to buy a boat on Craigslist you’ll know that sometimes the description of the boat does not quite accord with reality.  It’s not that people selling boats actually tell lies in their advertisements, but as Poo-Bah said in The Mikado, their descriptions are often “merely corroborative detail, intended to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.”

What is needed, of course, is a translator, someone who can interpret the meaning of a boat advertisement into language the man on the dock can understand. Well, here I am. And here are phrases that you will often read on Craigslist, coupled with their hidden meanings:

— Perfect for liveaboards . . . If you dare set foot ashore, she’ll sink.

— A cockpit designed for blue-water voyaging . . . Room for just one person.
— Original sails . . . Has needed new main and jib for years.
  Survey report from 2014 available . . . Just before the Travelift dropped her on the hard.

  Engine regularly and meticulously serviced . . . That is, once every seven years, coinciding with every major breakdown.

— This one could do with a little TLC . . . Fell out of her cradle in the last hurricane.

— One owner from new . . . Hasn’t been able to sell her all these years.
— An early design by this famous naval architect  . . . The one from which he learned how not to design boats.
— Charming cabin with delightful decor . . . No room to swing a cat.

— Drifter rarely used . . . Not since the ship’s cat ripped a great tear in it, anyway.

— Built like a brick outhouse . . .  And makes comparable progress through the water.

— Excellent family cruiser . . . Kiddy goo everywhere. Two teddy bears and one plastic elephant blocking the head.
— Lovingly maintained and regularly  upgraded by owner . . . Owned by a chronic fiddler whose imprudent meddling has substantially lessened the boat’s value.
— Proven blue-water boat . . . Has lots of useless worn-out blue-water gear that needs replacing.

— Awesome finish . . . The owner has power-polished his way right through the gelcoat.

Today’s Thought

Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.

— J. Edgar Hoover, “What Would I Tell a Son,” Family Weekly, 14 Jul 63

“Why are you stopping here?”
“This is Lovers’ Lane.”
“I suppose this is your ‘out of gas’ routine.”
“No, no, this is my ‘hereafter’ routine.”
“What’s that?”
“Well, if you’re not here after what I’m here after, you’ll be here after I’m gone.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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