Filling a hole

Boating NZ - - Editor's Note - Happy boating.

In­tro­duce the sub­ject of boating and boat own­er­ship at a BBQ or din­ner party, and some­one will in­evitably of­fer a vari­a­tion of the well-worn maxim: “a boat is a hole in the wa­ter into which you pour money.” And while there are boat own­ers who might rue­fully agree with this sen­ti­ment, I think it’s a lit­tle lop-sided. It tends to over­look the sub­tle but pow­er­ful ben­e­fits of mess­ing about in boats – the emo­tional and spir­i­tual equi­lib­rium it brings to one’s life.

The sense of free­dom, ad­ven­ture, en­gag­ing with the ele­ments in a tan­gi­ble way, be­long­ing to a colour­ful (if slightly-ec­cen­tric) fra­ter­nity – all fos­ter­ing, in some way, stronger fam­ily/so­cial bonds. The sea has an in­trigu­ing abil­ity to wash over times of trouble.

Two ar­ti­cles in this is­sue set me off on this con­tem­pla­tive tan­gent. One is Lind­say Wright’s philo­soph­i­cal trea­tise about liv­ing on boats rather than in con­crete cubes. He in­dig­nantly as­sured me his fiery ar­gu­ments are based on years of em­pir­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion – def­i­nitely not the ‘truths’ that flow from a bot­tle of rum.

The other is the piece by Tom Fraser – and it’s one of the most in­spir­ing com­men­taries I’ve ever read about the ben­e­fits of own­ing a boat. His was a fam­ily wounded and scarred by the Christchurch earth­quakes, and while they’ll prob­a­bly find it hard to shake off the trauma they ex­pe­ri­enced, the cat­a­lyst that’s helped them re­gain their emo­tional and spir­i­tual equi­lib­rium – is a boat.

They may have bought a hole in the wa­ter, but it’s filled a hole in their lives.

Lawrence Schäf­fler Edi­tor

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