CON­FES­SIONS OF A TWO-TIMER

Man­ag­ing a pas­sion for the pas­time.

Yachting - - INSIGHTS - by jay coyle

It’s OK for mil­len­ni­als to play the field, but a boat rental on the side is like cheat­ing on your wife.

My pal mark called last week, won­der­ing if we might get to­gether when his float plan brings him to my area. I sug­gested he take ad­van­tage of my dock. ¶ “Coyle, that won’t be nec­es­sary,” he said. “I’ve joined a club.” ¶ Mark is one of the most pas­sion­ate boaters I know, but he’s not the yacht-club type. His com­ment made no sense. ¶ “So you’ll be swing­ing on the hook in a blazer sip­ping sun­down­ers and blath­er­ing on about your ad­ven­tures in sea­man­ship?” I asked. “Are you se­ri­ous? It will never last.” ¶ “Not a yacht club, Coyle,” he said. “I’ve joined a boat rental club.” ¶ While I was sure Mark had lost his mind, I lis­tened to his pitch: “Imag­ine wak­ing up and think­ing you’d like to go boat­ing. You choose where and make a phone call. That’s it. No fore­play with float plans and no time wasted tidy­ing up af­ter­ward. Think about it, Coyle: When I ar­rive in town, my boat will be wait­ing dock­side, spot­free with a full tank of fuel and ice in the fridge. After a day on the wa­ter, I’ll re­turn to the dock and my crew will un­load, re­fuel and wash the boat. That’s what yacht­ing should be!” ¶ I was deeply dis­turbed by what he de­scribed. ¶ Mark is a re­spected peer and an old-school vet­eran of the ma­rine in­dus­try. He’d worn out a num­ber of hats and run out of ti­tles by the time he re­tired. He’d served as a cap­tain, bro­ker, de­signer and builder. Like so many of us, he was ad­dicted to the pas­time and had al­ways owned a boat. Mark’s boats were al­ways kept in Bris­tol con­di­tion, and he proudly crowed of the wis­dom of his in­vest­ments. He was the poster child for pride of own­er­ship. ¶ What he was telling me now made it clear that it was time for an in­ter­ven­tion. ¶ I’d seen his con­di­tion be­fore. I sus­pected Mark was suf­fer­ing from ex­cess and in­ad­e­quacy. Not only did he have a boat, but he also owned two homes and an air­plane. ¶ “That’s it,” I said. “It’s time you re­fo­cus on what’s im­por­tant in life. Sell that damn plane.” ¶Mark ad­mit­ted that the checks he’d stroked for main­tain­ing his plane would make a boat­yard ac­coun­tant blush. ¶ “So it’s the yard bills that have you down,” I said. “If you’re cheap, you can’t be lazy. Do it your­self.” ¶ Mark seemed con­fused, as if I wanted him to sell his boat. Then he elab­o­rated. ¶ “You see, Coyle, I’m a free spirit,” he said. “I don’t wanna be tied down. It’s about the ex­pe­ri­ence.” ¶ I told him that he sounded like our chil­dren. “You’re too old for this sort of thing,” I coun­seled. “It’s OK for mil­len­ni­als to sow a few wild oats and play the field, but we’re the big bath­tub and lit­tle blue pill gen­er­a­tion. A rental on the side is like cheat­ing on your wife.” ¶ Since my in­ter­ven­tion, Mark’s fling with ren­tals has waned, and he’s been re-eval­u­at­ing his re­la­tion­ship with his air­plane. He’s even plan­ning a ro­man­tic cruise to the boat­yard to re­new his vows. Noth­ing says “I love you” like pay­ing a yard bill.

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