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From My Back Porch
by Conrad Brown

David, our youngest son, came by for his annual visit this week. Sometimes he gets to come more than once and some years we’ve missed the grace of his presence altogether. You see, David works in the maritime trade. He is gone here and there captaining boats for wealthy owners, maintaining their vessels to spit and polish standards and occasionally delivering the boats from A to B and sometimes C.

This visit was occasioned by a delivery from Newport Rhode Island to Ft. Lauderdale, some stink-pot he called it. Turns out it was a nearly new fifty foot plus cruiser costing well over a million dollars. (David is a sailor and power boats just don’t float his boat)
The problem with this trip was that the boat only had limited fuel tanks, about eight hundred gallons and keeping a decent reserve, he only had a range of about 300 miles before having to stop and refuel. That meant he had to find a marina with fuel every 12 hours, keeping him from going offshore and making the trip shorter. The trip was 1300 miles as the crow flies, but with all the stops, he had to go nearly 1700, marina to marina, six stops in all. He says he’s swearing off stink-pots! The wind is free he reminds me.

However, free things have a way of extracting their price. In a boat, to get any kind of performance in the wind, it costs a lot for a good hull, sails that are well-made and not too old, and the factor of time. One of the benefits of taking time getting somewhere, is that you are ready to arrive, anticipation and expectation make landfalls memorable. Throw in a little bad weather, some equipment failures and maybe a crew at odds with each other, and everyone is ready to arrive somewhere.

The sunrises and sunsets are free, the cloud patterns constantly change for you, the sea surface is ever-changing and the air is the best on the planet. Add some good company, decent food and sailing music CD’s, “Hard to beat,” he says, “Hard to beat.”

Bon Voyage David!

Published: Oct 12,2008 17:37
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