Filling a hole
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