A Journey Begins

To boat or not is obvious; to buy your own - not so much!



I suppose there were lots of historic reasons I’d want a boat, as well as numerous also telling me ‘do NOT get a boat - are you stupid?!?’

Growing up, I’d been within 15 minutes of the water - both harbors and ocean beaches, with a handful of friends with smaller project boats (none of us were so lucky as to have rich parents, so think more along the lines of ‘might run one day’ to ‘runs occasionally and sometimes makes it back without a tow,’ as well as extended acquiantances with more ‘real’ and expensive boats by comparison. My Dad had also been a Navy diver and avid boater for some time before marrying my Mom, and we’d take out all kinds of things on vacations, including catamarans, small sailboats and similar - mostly sailboats. One time in particular we’d been on vacation somewhere warm, probably Bahamas, and had taken out a small 2 person sailboat the day we had to fly back home. We had been having a great time... right up until the time we needed to head back in to make the airport - and managed to flip her over a fair ways out from shore. The good news is we managed to the mast, which was hollow and filled with water, wanting to sink with the sail, drained the water out and got her back right side up. The bad is the small problem that the keel board floated away somewhere in the ocean, so it wasn’t looking too promising.. We eventually got a tow back in. My Mom had meanwhile apparently been scouring the beach looking for us, as we were apparently just about to miss making the flight back. We came out of the water laughing which just might have contributed to Mom being even less amused. Oops.

Family in FL also always had boats, from my half-siblings at one point living on a canal in their backyeard with a cheaper, older boat, to a relatively well-off Uncle (half-Uncle? Still not sure - it’s confusing..) with a not-so-cheap boat in the backyard canal of his not-so-cheap house - I was pretty small then, so remember, although unsure if we’d ever made it out on his boat or not. Meanwhile, my best friend growing up and I had taken apart and rebuilt nearly anything possible on cars, down to replacing frames on older cars in some cases, and we could do motor or transmission swaps in a few hours, so I kind of got used to the whole idea of ‘things should have engines in them’ although sailboats are also awesome in their own way.

Growing up near the ocean, later moving to NC brought an entirely new concept to me - swimming and boating - in a lake. OK, so perhaps this is a normal thing for many, but it’s just not something you think of when you’re growing up close to ocean beaches, even when traveling as a kid and since. It took a while, and possibly didn’t help than when I asked a girlfriend about boating on a lake once, and she immediately went into describing how you can fall off the skiis into a ‘den of water moccasins.’ That managed to push the idea further out of my head for at least a decade… so lakes - nice to look at, not going in them..at least for a while longer.. :D

One of my best friends wound up with a pontoon boat, which for them made a lot of sense at the time, having 2 and then 3 kids. It was an older boat, but had a 150HP outboard on it, so was reasonable enough to pull things behind it - not skiis, but did OK pulling a 3 seater big tube at reasonable speed for smaller kids, and sometimes adults. It became a pretty routine thing to head on out a few times a month for the day, usually with me on grill duty for food, getting some swimming in(yeah, swimming in a lake is still a bit weird to me, but mostly there now.. ;) ), and was a really nice time for all.

Even when we were going out regularly with them, we’d thought about buying a boat, figuring they’d have the ‘casual’ boat, and maybe we’d pick up a speedboat of some kind. This waffled around my head for a while, but I had too many other projects and financial things to get sorted so it sort of went into backburner for a while.

Depending on perspective, fortuately or unfortunately, my buddy decided to have more children. Or God did. Or something. Either way, not only did he +1 to the 3 they already had - but had twins. The boat was starting to feel kinda small, moreso to us without kids, and life all around just managed to get in the way. The usual boat hiccups - we did impeller and water pump on-site, various other bits, and he wound up pulling her out of the slip for a bit, as well as having a larger family and things going on for him, and so I really started reconsidering on not only the boat purchase, but also the type.

Meanwhile, my job had heated up to the point of it not always being guaranteed that we’d even be having dinner together every night during the week, which was frustrating, but we’d make the best of weekends and trips whenever possible. I’ve since blocked ‘dinner’ on my work calendar (sigh) so we at least usually have dinner during the week, but we’d also gone on various road trips, rented a jet boat, pontoons, etc. at various places.

With my buddy’s boat of of commission, feeling a need for regular downtime for us doing something we both enjoy, and being in a relatively stable work and financial position, we eventually came back to - ok, it’s time for a boat.

Ok, maybe I decided, while my wife, ever careful of finances, was a bit leery (not with real reason in this case, but we tend to prefer to pay for what we get w/out loans whenever possible and keep debt as light as possible), but at least it was starting with a ‘that would be great, but can/‘should'' we?

Let the journey begin!