Friday, March 19, 2010

An Ugly Boat

Our family owned what was one of the more ugly boats on the wet coast. It was a wooden planked, twenty-six and a half foot, semi-planing hull with a smoky and loud diesel engine. It was a single- screw and it ran at seven and a half knots at best. I bought it for two and a half thousand dollars in 1968. It was the kind of boat you could hammer a nail in anywhere to hang anything you wanted. The pianist got curtains for it and nice mattresses for the bunk beds and made it homey, as best she could, but much of it remained "dressed up ugly " ! We were very fond of our boat as a family of five and used it constantly so it never let us down. A boat in constant use remains a faithful companion. If you don't "use it, you lose it". Every time I went down to paint it at the marina, I went fishing instead. If it needed caulking, I was a fast caulker, so it remained ugly through its life. We had it for almost twenty years. We went for a summer cruise in the Salish Sea one summer week and the weather was squally. We were caught at sea in the squall and our clothing became wet since our cabin had a roof leak. The pianist jury rigged a clothes line and we hung our clothes out to dry when the sun came out and put into the nearest harbor which was Bedwell harbor! Bedwell is aptly named as it is a secluded refuge for overnighters. As we pulled into the harbor we could see a flotilla of large, white, sleek, beautiful boats, with a clutch of glistening people in whites and deck shoes and big hair, cooking steaks on the Hibachi at wharfside. My 14 year old son said, "Shit ,we should get out of here!" I'm sure he spoke for all of us, but by then we were committed. As I eased our smoking, ugly stinkpot into the moorage, the disdain from the boaters was palpable. Certainly the pianists clothesline added to the picture: the flags of the Beverly Hillbillies.I did think however that in all probability, we were the only one's there that owned our boat! Maybe the only one's that could manage a single- screw!

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