Boats and Yachts in the “New World” Page 2

Spectator - January 2002 continued

Spectator — January 2002

By Tom Fexas

Boats and Yachts in the “New World”
Part 2: Spectator continued
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• Part 1: “New World”
• Part 2: “New World”
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After September 11, lyrics to a great Guy Lombardo song from the ‘40s kept going through my head. Even though I was only a wee tot when the song was popular, I remember them well because my Dad thought they were funny and repeated them often. The first chorus went like this:

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think,
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink,
The years go by as quickly as a wink,
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

Profound words indeed! Even in difficult times we are all entitled to some rest, relaxation, and pleasure, and what other device or conveyance can give you more of all three than a boat? A boat allows you to kick back and be yourself. You can wear baggie shorts, drink beer, burp, and make other rude noises. It’s okay!

Spending a weekend on a boat recharges your batteries for the work week to come so you can earn money and pay taxes that allow the United States of America to buy awesome military hardware (yeah, I grumble about taxes like everybody else, but the sight of a nuc sub or a huge carrier or a stealth bomber makes me happy to pay taxes).

For those of us dedicated to the pleasureboating scene, boating is a way of life that will not be interrupted. During World War II, even though one couldn’t cruise due to gas rationing, dyed-in-the-wool boaters continued to use their boats at their moorings. When the Korean War came around, there was no fuel rationing and boating proceeded on a more or less normal basis. The same was true for the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. Even during the economic war of the ‘70s–the oil embargo–people, including me, continued to use their boats. For whatever reason, marine fuel was readily available, though expensive.

As long as there are clients willing to buy production boats and build custom boats, my firm will continue to do what it does best: produce squiggly lines on paper for fun (and sometimes profit). Since September we have had five major boat shows: Norwalk, Connecticut; Newport Beach, California; Annapolis, Maryland; Genoa, Italy; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The word from those in the industry is that, while attendance was down somewhat, the people walking the docks brought their wallets and didn’t have fish hooks in their pockets. As for custom projects, to date I have not heard of any that have been canceled.

Were my wife and I going to let some sick pantload who lives under a rock change our lives? No way. After briefly exploring the options of driving back to Florida from Long Island or taking the train or the bus, we decided to take our scheduled flight south only two days after flights were resumed. The presence of U.S. Marshals at the X-ray machines at La Guardia was impressive. The airport was virtually empty. As we were waiting for our plane, the FBI and cops with pistols and shotguns descended and pulled a couple off a plane to question them. I loved it! People with something to hide will say their civil rights are being compromised by the extra security, but I always liked flying into Rome and seeing those 16-year-old kids in fatigues with their submachine guns and German shepherds giving everybody a steely once-over as they deplaned. And I like being randomly selected for questioning at Heathrow. Our very quiet plane (even the babies aboard were quiet) was less than a third full, and the flight was not only uneventful, but landed early. All things considered, it was the best flight ever, and I was looking forward to the next.

Tom Fexas is a marine architect and designer of powerboats. His Web site is

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

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