About a decade ago, while running another boating magazine with a business partner, I took stock of my boating adventures and developed a list of some silly mistakes I’d made along the way. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but this is a topic that always seems ripe for the picking.
George Sass Jr.'s blog
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s Miami boat show time again (February 11-15). I realized this show is going to be my 21st annual pilgrimage to Miami where I get to deep-dive into all things boating. For me, it’s a wonderful time to learn about new boats, products, and equipment while catching up with old friends.
Leaving the idyllic village of Stonington, Maine, in our rearview mirror, driving down West Main Street past Allen Cove, my wife, Lindsay, spotted Billings Diesel and Marine beyond the driver’s side window. In an instant, I was like a dog with two tails. I had never visited Billings, but knew of the yard’s reputation for being a salty, serious working yard. Now I could see the huge, shingled shed stretching across the cove beyond the morning fog. For me, a surprise discovery like this is akin to a four-year-old’s virgin sighting of the Magic Kingdom.
There are all kinds of sage recommendations about when and how you should make decisions. You’ll find some of this advice on the kind of motivational posters that are framed on office walls across America. They usually feature completely irrelevant and disconnected imagery—mountains, babbling brooks, soaring eagles—that frankly have nothing to do with actually making a decision.
On a humid tropical evening this past August the sun dipped below the horizon quicker than I anticipated. From our slip four miles away, we could see it shining brightly across Cooper Island’s Machioneel Bay. It was as if a single spotlight lit this oasis, setting the stage for a solo performance for a special piece of paradise.
My friend Jack Bulger foraged his way through a fried seafood platter at the 15th Street Fisheries in Ft. Lauderdale like it was his last meal, pausing for a few seconds to wipe away a wayward dollop of tartar sauce resting in the upper portion of his beard. With our T-shirts, flips-flops, and pink skin we looked like tourists down for a few days of beachcombing and all-you-can-eat buffets. Yet here we were on a blustery November day wondering when we would leave terra firma for the Caribbean—and on what boat.
Don’t panic. Yes, this is the August issue, which means the boating season is winding down for some of our readers in North America. Heck, we’re already working on our fall issues of Power & Motoryacht. One symptom of working two months out is you are often slightly confused about exactly what time of year it is at any given moment.
Okay, I’m going to come clean. While cruising, I’m not usually an enthusiastic social animal, skipping down the dock in my flip-flops like the pied piper and asking anyone within sight a bunch of questions. “Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” “How long have you had your boat?” Sure, I’ll help you with your lines when you pull into the dock, and will certainly offer a good morning. Just don’t expect me to drop by your cockpit with homemade muffins for a morning chat.
We’ve all heard about or maybe experienced a similar situation. You finally schedule your boat for service after months of wrangling a simple return call. And then spend more time trying to ride herd over the process than you do working your day job. Soon, you begin to question yourself through a lengthy self-reflection process. Am I losing my mind? I thought he said the work would be completed three months ago. Am I really an “A-hole?” Maybe I’m the problem.
It’s confession time. Please don’t hold what I’m about to share against me. You see, I recently had a docking situation, which, well, let’s just say produced a sizable dose of heartburn. I don’t want to sound like an absolute windbag, but I began docking big boats before I was old enough to drive a car.