Boat­ing Bigamy

are two boats too many, or not nearly enough?

Yachts International - - Stern Lines - By DuD­Ley Daw­son

Aman, ap­par­ently dis­grun­tled with his mar­riage, once told me that bigamy is hav­ing one wife too many, and monogamy is the same thing. From the tired say­ing about the two hap­pi­est days in a boat owner’s life be­ing the day he buys and the day he sells, some might sug­gest that boat own­er­ship is not un­like mar­riage in that re­gard. Thank­fully, though, it seems that most boat and yacht own­ers be­lieve oth­er­wise.

A re­cent sur­vey by BoatUS re­vealed that among those on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s rolls, the av­er­age mem­ber owns two boats, with an av­er­age length ap­proach­ing 40 feet. Al­though I don’t have ver­i­fied sta­tis­tics, I have ob­served that the same holds true for most own­ers of larger yachts as well. One just isn’t enough.

Some turn to mul­ti­ple own­er­ship for con­ve­nience when there are sev­eral wa­ter­front homes in the port­fo­lio, en­sur­ing an im­promptu cruise is al­ways pos­si­ble. Oth­ers have sev­eral yachts and boats for dif­fer­ing ac­tiv­i­ties: one for cruis­ing, one for sail­ing, one for fish­ing, one for wa­ter sports.

Still oth­ers just can’t bear get­ting rid of the older yacht, the one with all the mem­o­ries of the good times when the kids were grow­ing up. I had one de­sign client who sat next to me and cried as we dis­cussed her plans to sell the fam­ily’s 64-footer now that she’d ac­quired a 90-foot mo­to­ry­acht, even though the new yacht would have con­sid­er­ably more room for the ex­pand­ing cadre of grand­chil­dren. An­other had just taken de­liv­ery of a 164-foot, cus­tom-built Euro­pean mo­to­ry­acht for his re­tire­ment, but was spend­ing all his spare time restor­ing his late fa­ther’s 90-foot Stephens cruiser, the boat that held all the good sto­ries of his youth.

A happy over­achiever, I have con­fessed be­fore to own­ing nine boats—power and sail—at one point in time. I am cur­rently down to just four, but my auburn­haired sweet­heart is shop­ping for an­other, so there is cer­tainty the count will in­crease once again. Like sev­eral of the cur­rent craft, this one will likely be some­what of an im­pulse buy: We’ll fall in love with what we see and ra­tio­nal­ize our need for it.

Funny thing is, while I’m in the realm of the mere mor­tals, those in the strato­sphere of su­pery­acht­ing are af­flicted with the same com­pul­sion. How many the times I’ve walked the show docks at Fort Laud­erdale, Palm Beach or Monaco and seen a “sold” sign hang­ing from a stern rail, the new owner grab­bing his prize quickly so no one else does.

When some­one asks why our fam­ily has so many boats, I sup­pose we could claim one or more of the sce­nar­ios above, but in­stead I re­fer to an old “Hagar the Hor­ri­ble” comic strip. Hagar, a chubby Vik­ing captain (the kind with horns on his hel­met, not a sport­fish­er­man un­der his feet), con­fronts a friend on the dock, ask­ing, “Is it true you own seven boats?” “Yes, that’s true,” comes the re­ply. “But why do you own seven boats?” Hagar per­sists. The friend replies, “Be­cause I used to have eight and I just sold one.”

To any true afi­cionado, the re­sponse makes per­fect sense. Singers in­clud­ing Lionel Richie and the band Pablo Cruise, and movies in­clud­ing “The Lion King,” have all ex­pressed in song that “love will find a way.” For those of us who love the sea in all its sizes and forms, the way we find it is a boat or yacht that suits our par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est. If we love the sea a lot, it is only nat­u­ral that we should have a lot of boats.

Boat­ing bigamy is not a crime. It is a bless­ing.

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