Icons and New Perceptions Page 2

Spectator - June 2002 - Part 2

Spectator — June 2002

By Tom Fexas

Icons and New Perceptions
Part 2: On to a completely different topic...
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How far could we advance the styling, we wondered? We incorporated a moderate clipper bow and a reverse transom with integral swim platform and dual stairwells. We swept back the dodger, windshields, and bridge at rakish angles that looked anything but trawlerish. We nudged the window shapes here and there, repeatedly massaged the sheer, and literally topped it all off with a radar arch, not of a conventional mast.

When the first Aleutian 64 was launched last year, she looked "right." She was a Grand Banks, but definitely not your father's Grand Banks. The shipyard is working feverishly to fill many orders. We dodged the styling bullet, and I'm sleeping again.

And now, on a completely different topic...

Last season, a transient motoryacht stuffed itself into the slip next to me. It was one of those roly-poly, inflated beachball motoryachts that look like a floating watermelon--the inevitable result of piling three decks on a 40-footer. The thing was so high it blocked out the light. I could barely sleep that night, afraid that the damned boat was going to roll over on me.

Normally two sailboats straddle my slip, and I came to realize (with apologies to Martha Stewart) that this was a "good thing." At the marina, low sailboats allow unobstructed views from both sides of the boat. During lightning storms I rest secure in the fact that on either side of me lies a high, aluminum lightning rod just begging to be zapped. It was the folks who own these sailboats, however, that really opened my eyes. In the past, as you may know, I have been derisive of zephyr boats and their owners mainly due to their cheapness--er, thriftiness--and general sloppiness. In the past I've gone so far as to label these people "whistle pissers" (they take space at a gas dock, fill their water tank, ask the price of fuel, whistle in disbelief, use the bathroom, then take off).

But I've come to realize that the owners of the sailboats on either side of me were a different breed. I guess the fact that they are willing to spend five or six grand a year for a slip rather than hanging off an el cheapo barnacle-encrusted mooring in the harbor had something to do with it. I have come to learn that there are two breeds of ragbaggers. I was extremely surprised to learn that the boat owners on either side of me are just like us! They live in real houses, drive nice cars, and go to restaurants. They keep their boats looking clean and sharp (and they keep themselves the same way). They have friends and family and eat the same food that we do. I would have no qualms about inviting these people into my home. Absolutely amazing!

Tom Fexas is a marine engineer and designer of powerboats. His Web site is www.tomfexas.com.

Next page > Icons, Part 1 > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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