Looking Back at The Year 1968
The Bilge August 1968 - ‘Commodores Corner’ by Commodore W.J.Gibson
‘How to tell if you have been bitten’
There’s a well known saying that if you ask the cost of a boat, you will never be able to afford one. This has been in my opinion, widely misinterpreted. The comment has been taken to mean, the actual cost in dollars and cents, whereas I believe it to mean the overall attitude and amount of effort put in by the individual owner and his crew.
If a prospective owner approaches boating with a pen and paper and the similar scrutinising of an accountant, he will not be truly sold on this sport and will convince himself he will never be able to afford it on any rational basis.
The dedicated boatie, the owner who is fully hooked, the fellow who neglects his wife, and family, and sometimes business to be out on the water, doesn't count the cost. He looks for ways to justify it.
The chap who sourly describes the boat as a hole in the water into which the owner continuously pours money, reveals himself as a hopeless land-lover completely ignorant of the springs of pleasure and adventure that motivate a boat-owner. He has no inkling of the essential part played by sacrifice in the pleasure of owning his own boat. The very fact that a mans boat requires him to spend some money on her which, on logical grounds, should be spent on more practical things, adds zest and flavour to the indulgence of his passion.
Most men have an interest is sport or hobbies, some spend money and hours turning a car or motor bike to make it run that little bit better, others groom horses, jump out of aeroplanes and some even spend good money paying up to 200 times the fact value of a used stamp. Some of these, of course, do show monetary profit in time which is an incentive.
A hooked boat owner, however, feels that the hobby’s rewards come not from profit gained in material terms but from the pleasure and challenge of being afloat and away from the shore- based workaday world.
Every time we cast off our lines from the shore or drop our mooring buoy outward bound, our sprits lift. As we stand at wheel or tiller, guiding our vessel, we feel the thrill of the sea, the exciting and unpredictable lie ahead just over the horizon. What matters that our desks are piled high with files and letter reports to complete, that the lawn needs mowing, or the dog needs a bath - for a brief while we are away, moving in an environment dominated by wind, water and sky, not men. It’s pure tonic to be afloat.
The man who can experience this release and then still ask “How much does it cost?” deserves our pity.
He should stay ashore and buy stamps.