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CIGARS, COGNAC AND BOATING 

by

Karl Sydor

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THE GREAT COMBINATION 

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I like smoking a good cigar and sipping cognac, and I love boats.  What a great combination!  I'm of retirement age now, but I actually started smoking cigars when I was a lieutenant in the army, unfortunately cheap ones.  Over the years, with the help of some cigar smoking buddies and my nephew Al, who managed a smoke shop at one time, I've improved my taste for better cigars.

Now, you may say that I'm not alone and that this is a man-thing.  Well maybe not.  I was on a Holland American cruise some years ago and the ship I was on, the Westerdam, had a smoking room where a couple of women were smoking cigars, as well as their men.  I thought this smoking room on the cruise ship was a great idea, even though I am not a cigarette smoker.  The exhaust system was so good that persons sitting next to the smoker were not bothered by the smoke.  Even though I believe women can enjoy cigars too, please bear with me while I focus on men in this article.

WHY MEN LIKE CIGARS

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Why do men like cigars?  Now surely, not all men like cigars, and I'm not putting anyone down who doesn't.  I'm also not suggesting that a man smoke several cigars a day; I smoke an average of only one a week.  Some of you may laugh at that and suggest that one-a-week does not make me a real cigar smoker.  I won't argue with that, however, cigar smoking is not a habit with me.  For me, it's in keeping with a sought of a celebration.  In other words, I feel good about something and I want to enjoy and celebrate that feeling.  A quality cigar and a snifter of good cognac make it special (yes, snifter, not sniffer襣k the dictionary).

Let's go back to why men like cigars.  Yes, I see men walking down the street chewing on a cigar or reading a newspaper with a cigar in their mouth.  I guess they are enjoying it, but if they're distracted in doing something else, I can't see how they're getting enjoyment from smoking it.  I want to discuss men like myself, who make smoking a cigar a special event.  We smoke cigars after some satisfying event like at the end of a great fishing day or after eating our freshly grilled catch or after just a satisfying cruise on the boat or getting together with some good ole boating friends who also like cigars.  I could go on naming the events that cause us to want to have a cigar, but I'm sure your imagination can think of them. 

There's something about the taste of a cigar that helps me to enjoy it.  Now there are different tastes, from mild to strong and so strong that it can churn your stomach and make you dizzy if you're not used to it.  So, you must start with milder cigars and work your way up. I know some guys who like to dip the puffing end of the cigar into their cognac before they light up, to give it an even more special taste. My only warning is don튯ver-do it like one of my friends did, and the tobacco juice and cognac mixed to go down his throat for a very unmemorable ending to his evening.

At my age, smoking a cigar on Saturday or Sunday after an enjoyable dinner helps me celebrate life, that after another week I'm still healthy and alive. Of course, it makes it even better if I'm on the aft deck of my trawler or even my condo patio that looks out over the condo marina. Either way, a good marine view helps the occasion.  Now I'm sure there are many men who enjoy smoking a cigar and it doesnਡve to be in connection with boating.  As I write this article, however, I'm having a hard time thinking of one.

CIGAR DISAPPOINTMENT 

Frankly, there have been times when I did not receive the enjoyment from a cigar that I was hoping for.  I was on a business trip in St Croix some years ago and was staying at a hotel that was right on the waters edge.  After my day of business activities, I could not wait until after dinner when I could go down to the veranda located on the edge of the beach and smoke my cigar.  I even had the bartender pour me a small glass of cognac.  I remember walking out the building having to find a hiding place to light the cigar since the sea breeze was so strong.  Finally, after several attempts I lit it and walked out to the open area.  The breeze (I probably should say wind) was so strong that I felt like I was not only dragging on the cigar but also sucking in the wind that was in my face.  As I blew the smoke out of my mouth (I don't inhale), it quickly blew behind me and I saw very little of it.  My smoking of this cigar soon became a challenge.  I think I finished less than half of it and gave up.  What a disappointment!  Here I was in exotic St Croix and I could not enjoy the occasion to my satisfaction.

 Another time was when I was entering the narrow Boca Raton Inlet inbound with my 32 foot Hatteras sport fisherman.  The strong outgoing tide caught my bow and started pushing it into the rocks.  I had to place one engine in reverse to come back around and then quickly place it in forward to keep from spinning in the other direction.  All this took place with a lit cigar in my mouth and many onlookers standing on the rock jetty.  I'm sure I put on quite a show and I later wondered if those people told their friends about this yahoo who couldn't handle his boat while have a stogie sticking out of his mouth.  I was surprised that after it was all over, the cigar was still lit and I had not bitten off the end from the stress.

WOMEN AND CIGARS

 There are probably wives or girl friends that wish their 'significant other' wouldn't smoke a cigar in their presence. There are times when I'm concerned about offending someone near me when I have the desire to smoke a cigar. One time, a woman friend was on my boat for a daytime outing. When we were anchored near the inlet to relax, I decided it was time to light up. I proceeded to the bridge of my boat while my friend stayed in the cockpit to relax and get some sun. I puffed on the cigar for a while and soon put it out. She later told me that she thought she had smelled the smoke of a cigar. She said it reminded her of her father who smoked cigars, and it brought back pleasant memories. She said she didn't mind the smell of a cigar at all.

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Another time, I was at a Delray, Florida, Christmas boat parade party being held at a friend's home that was on the Intracoastal Waterway. To smoke my cigar, I moved downwind from everyone and lit up. Not wanting to be unsociable, I only smoked half of it and unhappily tossed the other half into the waterway (the cigar leaf is organic material and I removed the paper label, so I don't feel I was polluting the water). Anyway, when I walked back to a group of friends who were gathered on the outdoor patio, they commented that they had smelled someone smoking a cigar. I sheepishly admitted it was I and said I had extinguished it by tossing it in the waterway. One of the woman explained that was a shame, that she enjoyed cigars and would have smoked one with me if she had one. You can imagine how upset I was for having been so foolish as to give up that cigar so soon. 

MY FAVORITES 

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By the way, if you're wondering what my favorite brand of cigar is, it's the La Gloria Cubana Churchill, Maduro leaf. They were originally hand rolled by Cubans in Miami, but are now made in the Dominican Republic; I still consider them an excellent cigar. A few years ago when cigars were the rage and Rush Limbaugh had his TV show, he said on the air one night that the La Gloria Cubana was the best cigar he had ever smoked and for the next few months they were sold out in every store.

 I generally drink Courvoisier cognac, but my favorite cognac is always the most expensive one I can get someone to buy me.

WARNING: CIGARS MAY PROVIDE GOOD MEMORIES 

 

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Well, if any of you who read this article are my friends or relatives, you know that if you're going to be a guest on my boat, you're going to have to put up with at least one cigar for the trip (however, I don't drink cognac while I'm operating my boat). I will try to smoke the cigar downwind so it doesn't bother you too much. If the cruise is fun-filled and relaxing for you, somewhere in the future you just may relate the smell of a good cigar with that pleasant boating memory. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't move you to try one yourself. You may even find yourself thinkingᵯt;Cigars, cognac and boating衴 a great combination!" 

THE AUTHOR'S FAVORITE CIGAR QUOTES TAKEN FROM THE JRCIGAR.COM WEBSITE:

 "Cognac and cigars... it's like finding the perfect woman. When you've got her, why go chasing after another?" - Michael Nouri, Actor

 "Given the choice between a woman and a cigar, I will always choose the cigar." - Groucho Marx

"A good Cuban cigar closes the door to the vulgarities of the world." - Franz Liszt, Composer

 "Women are jealous of cigars... they regard them as a strong rival."-  William Makepeace Thackeray, English Author

"Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man's enjoyment of his cigar." - Mark Twain

 "If your wife doesn't like the aroma of your cigar - change your wife." - Zino Davidoff

 "There are two things a man never forgets - his first love and his first cigar." - John Bain, Cigar Lover

 "I drink a great deal.  I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar.  That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form." - Sir Winston Churchill

"Here, have a cigar.  Light it up and be somebody." - from the film Pete Kelly's Blues  

 

Click here to see Captain Sydor's Biography

 

 

 

 

 

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