Friday, May 29, 2009

One of the many that got away

Having learned more about yacht design, construction and safety than I ever wanted to, I quickly figured out a cardinal truth of purchasing a cruising yacht- there is no one perfect boat. One of the other truths I learned is that taste is subjective.

After amiably going along with Mark in pursuit of a boat that I thought was too big, too poorly planned out, lacking in storage and just hideous on the interior simply because Mark thought the boat had "proper yacht lines", I felt that it was my turn to pick the next likely candidate. When Mark's "proper yacht" failed the survey in spectacular fashion (proving that Engineers can be swayed away from reason by the heart just like everyone else) I put forward my dark horse favorite- The Island Packet 350.

I heard all of the naysayers- who were all sailing MEN by the way- they are too slow, they are fat, they're known as Island Piglets, they are ugly boats, they are not manly, blah, blah and yet, I loved this little can do boat and still do.

Mark pointed out that she was slow as molasses and couldn't point into the wind for love or money. I pointed out that when we went out for a sea trial on her, the winds were blowing, the rain was coming down, the seas were choppy, rough and building all the time and yet, the little Piglet just wallowed around happily in the rough while maintaining her course. This was a point in her favor as I think being comfortable at sea in a storm is of huge benefit.
Mark couldn't complain about the interior. There was more usable space in this little 35 foot boat than in the 44 foot boat we had just surveyed. More than adequate for a family of 3 to be very, very comfortable for a very long time.

Mark was also horrified by her lines. "She looks like a trawler! Like a fishing boat! Like a tugboat!" I failed to see how this was a bad thing. I thought she was charming, adorable and reminiscent of my favorite boat of all time- a little boat who just knew there was a big wide world out there for him to see...

I think this explains why I loved her lines so much. I didn't find her ugly- I found her whimsical and sweet. I didn't see her as chubby and slow- I saw her as steady and sure footed. She reminded me of Scuffy the Tugboat, which was a favorite book of mine when I was about 3 years old. Ah nostalgia.

In the end, Mark was willing to purchase her because she was indeed "fit for purpose" but I just couldn't buy a boat that Mark didn't love. Any boat would require a huge commitment of time and resources and it just didn't feel good to ask Mark to make a commitment of this magnitude to a boat he didn't absolutely love.

For all you IP owners who take the ribbing from people who just don't get it, feel free to turn to me for a sympathetic ear. I get these boats, I really do.

And to you- the little almost ours IP that I would have named Muc Dubh and loved for many years- I hope you find a family to take you on adventures out in the wide, wild world. I really do.

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog via Bettie Del Mar and I'm charmed by your post about the Island Packet. I love those boats! Yes, they are a little wide, but so am I and I get around just fine. I also love the fit and finish of them, how well planned out most things are, and their enviable fold down table really helps in the cabin. Lots of people sail Island Packets up here in the Puget Sound area.
    Love the reference to Scuffy the tugboat! Very apt!