Friday, March 16, 2012

Neglected Boats

Every anchorage has at least one, usually more...they sit on the water rotting away, usually listing from one side to the other...the waterline is typically black and full of barnacles, the gelcote pitted and bubbling, and rust has overtaken the fittings.  The deck more often than not has been pillaged; halyards removed, sails gone, hardware stripped.  They are sad, decrepit, and lonely.  They are neglected boats.

One of the biggest fallacies to befall cruisers everywhere is the notion that we are all rich.  Like, filthy rich.  While there are definitely cruisers that fit this description, the vast majority do not.  To be completely honest, an anchorage is not unlike a trailer park.  We as cruisers get slightly more credit and respect because of the innate romance of the sea, the reality that we get to "park" in exotic, beautiful locations and the fact that it requires a significant amount of skill and tenacity to get where we are going.  Scott and I have made the comparison more than once, usually when greeted by the toothless grin of an old timer who has become so accustomed to the "laid back" cruising life he considers ill-fitting, threadbare boxer shorts with suspenders "clothes".  The images you see in Tommy Bahama, Polo and Land's End Catalogues do not paint a realistic picture of the average-Joe full-time cruiser and I can honestly say we have never uncorked a single bottle of champagne on our boat*.  Rum? Yes.  Champagne?  Nope.

Neglected boats are proof positive that not all cruisers are bottomless pits of money.  While not all cruisers maintain their boats to "pristine" standards, the neglected boats are often obvious and abandoned.  They always make me wonder - what happened to the owner (death? illness? bankruptcy? divorce?)?  How long as this boat been sitting here (in many cases it is years)?  What must it be like down below? (Water damage, rats, rotting food?).  Boats signify dreams to me and these sad boats are somehow symbolic of a dream gone awry.  At some point someone loved that boat that is slowly falling claim to the wind, sun and sea and for some reason, it has been forgotten and abandoned.  Because these boats are more often than not at anchor (which is free and 'owned' by no one) they will be allowed to sit and rot away year after year after year before they either sink, drag into another boat or someone comes to their rescue... whenever I see these boats I wish I knew their stories...

Brittany & Scott

*I tell a lie!  We did uncork one bottle before we left Chicago at our going away party.


Anonymous said...

How can one buy these poor lonely boats.

Red said...

Hi Brittany & Scott,
How sad to see those negelected lonely looking boats and, as you say there could be so many reasons why they are this way, I suppose the dream doesn't alwyas work out for some but for others maybe it was the loss of interest after a spontaneous purchase (more in the domain of the "financially fortunate"!).

I love reading your blog from here in London UK and congratulations for the new member of the family due today I believe! I'll be checking for news. Much happiness to you.

Johan Vermij said...

I get the same feeling everytime I see one rot away in the marina too. It's a sad sight and like you, I'd always want to know the story behind her.

Somethimes you'll indeed find the sad story about not being able to maintain her, but more often I hear the story of "can't be bothered."

Like 10 years ago yachting was very popular and all over the world people thought it to be a cool toy to play with and show off. Sailing business was booming.

And then they found out you sailing wasn't as much fun as they thought it to be, or they didn't count on the maintenance (be it cost or labour) and just don't give a damn about her rotting away. Those are the real sad stories.


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