MY BOAT MY LIFE

Anglers Journal - - CONTENTS - By FRANK SAC­CENTE

For the past decade, I en­ter­tained a naval ar­chi­tec­ture fan­tasy that came to fruition ear­lier this year. She’ll be my last boat, and finally I can use the phrase “my Reg­u­la­tor.”

I’ve owned boats for 50 years. I built them from wood and plans, re­stored bas­ket cases in both wood and glass, and pur­chased them new. But for the past decade, I en­ter­tained a naval ar­chi­tec­ture fan­tasy that came to fruition ear­lier this year.

My Reg­u­la­tor 23’s price tag ex­ceeded what I ever imag­ined I would spend on a boat, but it had a num­ber of things in the plus col­umn that made writ­ing the check much easier. I needed a heav­ier hull with a deeper vee that would af­ford me ocean ac­cess in a greater range of con­di­tions. The Reg­u­la­tor’s weight and 24 de­grees of dead­rise filled that need. No more U-turns at the mouth of Manasquan In­let be­cause con­di­tions out­side were too snotty. She is a safe and solid fishing plat­form that the­o­ret­i­cally should in­crease my timeon-wa­ter-to-fish-caught ra­tio dra­mat­i­cally.

I pri­mar­ily fish alone and for years had to set and re­trieve mul­ti­ple trolled baits while press­ing my hip against the helm to main­tain a straight course. The Reg­u­la­tor’s ba­sic elec­tron­ics pack­age in­cluded an au­topi­lot, which makes set­ting up and at­tend­ing to a mul­ti­ple­line spread easier and safer.

Aesthetics also came into play. My boat is a “looker,” and the lines drawn by naval ar­chi­tect Lou Codega cre­ate the ap­pear­ance that she’s do­ing 50 knots while tied up in the slip. She rep­re­sents the per­fect mar­riage of form and func­tion.

On the day I signed the con­tract, my wife and I pro­ceeded to the near­est bar to cel­e­brate. I was sip­ping scotch when I re­ceived a text from my sales guy, Josh Jedry: “Con­grat­u­la­tions on your new fiber­glass baby.” In­deed, the past sev­eral months have stirred an ex­cite­ment in me com­men­su­rate with the ar­rival of a new­born.

As my boat was built, I re­ceived the equiv­a­lent of nau­ti­cal sono­grams in the form of pho­to­graphic progress re­ports from the fac­tory, show­ing each stage of con­struc­tion. The hull be­ing pulled from the mold, the stringers be­ing in­stalled, the hull liner and deck cap be­ing put in place. This was no longer a fan­tasy!

The de­liv­ery got un­der­way May 29, when my 23 be­gan its jour­ney up In­ter­state 95 from North Carolina, ar­riv­ing at the dealer in New Jersey the next day. The driver had spe­cific in­struc­tions to call when he was two hours out to pro­vide am­ple time for me to as­sem­ble fam­ily and friends to help me wel­come my new ar­rival.

I re­mem­ber get­ting choked up as the shrink wrap was re­moved, real­iz­ing that this beau­ti­ful piece of en­gi­neer­ing was mine. This would be my last boat. The only boat I would ever need. I thought of the fish I would catch from her deck and how, finally, I could use the phrase “my Reg­u­la­tor.” I smiled and thought that, some­day, my grand­kids will call her their Reg­u­la­tor.

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