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BOATING, IT'S ALL IN THE DREAM

by

Karl Sydor

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Some time ago, a boater neighbor (named Jack) and I were down at our condo's docks, he in his boat and me on mine. Jack's boat was docked just next to mine. We were questioning why one of our neighbors at the dock, who was having a problem with a boat he had recently purchased, had bought such a boat. We were baffled and reasoned he should have known better. 

For a moment, while speaking to Jack, my mind drifted as I began reflecting about this neighbor's dilemma. It brought to mind a thought I've had about myself for years. Whenever I look at a boat I like, my mind starts envisioning how I could use this particular boat. Of course, prior to this, I've had some time to start dreaming about the kind of boating adventures that I would like to have; the boats I tend to look at are those that could help me fulfill that dream. 

Recalling this thought, I said to Jack, "It's all in the dream." Jack looked at me quizzically. I pointed to my head and again said, "It's all in the dream." I went on to explain to Jack my theory that when a man wants a boat, it is, basically, to fulfill some “dream” he has imagined about how he would enjoy it. I suggested that regardless of what good judgment we think our neighbor should have used in buying that boat, it was his dream that caused him to make the purchase and, possibly, ignore good judgment. 

I certainly can admit that statement applies to me. One may be able to call me a boat-junky. My love affair with a boat seems to last about two and a half years before I start thinking about the next boat. Yes, of course, the bigger and better boat! In the past, a frustration I had was my limited time to use a boat when I was working full-time. I might add that my conversation with Jack was while I was still working so I was plagued with limited boat time (I'm semi-retired now). My consulting business used to keep me busy six and a half days a week (sound familiar?), to include flying around the country a few of those days each week. Other than going fishing once in a while, my boat time was typically limited to getting down to the boat on Saturday morning to be sure it was still there and had not sunk.   

Lamenting on why I was not using the boat enough, my mind would start to play tricks on me and start finding rationalizations as to why I was not using the boat, like it's just not big enough for my family and friends and was not fulfilling my needs as I envisioned them. Surely, if I had a bigger boat, or different boat.  I would use it more. Thus, the cycle would take its next step, which was placing it up for sale. Concurrently, I would start searching the newspapers and ads for the boat that would fulfill my current dream.

By the way, you may have heard that if your monthly payment for your boat loan exceeds your mortgage payment, you're a "real boater". By now, you're probably thinking that I should see a psychologist (qualified in boating disorders, of course). Probably my family and friends would agree with you; I would even agree with you! But it never ends, so let's "analyze that" (sound familiar?).

 

I believe that the homosapien male, from the time he stood erect and placed a club on his shoulder, has always been an adventurer. However, today we're forced to live within the confines of a job or career or a cubicle of sorts. What is our outlet? Dreaming about adventure…adventure that allows us to be free, and what's more free than being on the ocean in a boat with the horizon of unknown adventure in front of us. I know that excites me: the dream of cruising to exotic places in the world, adventure on the high seas.

 

OK…I'm a victim of my past! I guess I read too many stories about the sea when I was a teenager. Thor Heyerdahl's "Kon Tiki", Herman Melville's 'Tahiti', the 'Caine Mutiny', boating adventure stories in Motor Boating magazine back in the 50's, small boat building plans in Mechanix Illustrated, to name some. And, of course, my Dad's fifteen-foot rowboat with its five and a half horsepower Mercury engine that he allowed me to take out into the bay by myself when I was thirteen years old. Don't blame me…it was these publications that nurtured my imagination including the Jersey shore where my folks vacationed when I was a kid. I still can't help it; boating is my escape from reality. And…ya know what? I don't think I'm alone! I think there are a lot of men out there just like me. That's why the boating industry is so popular.

People talk about Alaska or the Antarctica as the last frontiers. Well, for the average man who can't trek to either, boating opens up our lives and gives us a local frontier adventure, if only for a weekend, a day, or a few hours. How exhilarating it can be! How unshackling it can be! The smell of the salt air, the wind in your hair (well, maybe not for me these days, I'm bald), and sea spray blessing you and your boat.

 

I keep a Chinese fortune cookie slip taped to my desk bookshelf in front of me that reads, "A man is truly not old until…regrets take place of his dreams". How true this rings, especially as I get older. So my boating friends, don't give up the dream, keep the dream alive, and live and enjoy it as much as you can. And, when you're going through an exasperating period of wondering why you bought that boat, remember…it was 'all in the dream'.

 

 

 

 

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