Wednesday, June 09, 2010


A yacht, strictly speaking, is any boat that is used for pleasure.

True, the word yacht has connotations of luxury and grandeur.

But, it's the pure element of pleasure that makes a boat into a yacht.

I do understand that some of the newer features that some sailors nowadays think are "necessary" have been added to boats so as to improve safety or help make up for a lack of hard-to-get crew.

But what happens when boats become so complicated and on-board systems so fragile as to remove the pleasure from boating? Is it no longer yachting if boat ownership turns into indentured servitude?

What happens when boat owners become so psychologically addicted to various systems that even minor breakdowns keep boats in port? Can people learn to differentiate between systems needed for functioning and safety versus fluff?

Do Laser sailors (that is, the ones who enjoy being inverted into frigid water until their teeth chatter and lips turn blue) therefore enjoy more "yachting" than owners of large, elaborately cruising boats with delicate or poorly planned and installed systems?


At 12:57 PM, June 09, 2010, Blogger Zen said...

Hmmm interesting question. I wonder who could answer such a ponderence...laser sailor, Hmmmmmmmmm

At 1:51 PM, June 10, 2010, Blogger O Docker said...

I think there's no question that the more complicated boat will keep you in port more doing maintenance.

But we put up with that because of where such boats can take us. My wife and I couldn't cross San Francisco Bay and spend a few days in the city, or go down the coast to Monterey on a Laser. On balance, we've gotten much more use out of the simple cruising boat we have than we ever got from the dinghy we had before that.

But that's us. Everyone's situation and sailing needs are different. We live 90 miles from the ocean, so a boat with accomodation makes a lot of sense. If we lived near a quiet bay that was suited to small boat sailing, or if only one of us wanted to sail, we might have a very different take on that.

Many of today's 'cruising' boats have been designed to be more floating entertainment centers than serious sailing machines, but only because that's what the market has demanded. You now pay quite a premium for a boat that was designed for serious bluewater voyaging.

And the days of the Pardeys' spare, simple cruiser, with no engine or electrical system, appear to have passed for most people. Long-distance cruisers today seem to want all of the comforts and are willing to put up with the maintenance hassles that entails.

At 7:40 AM, June 11, 2010, Blogger bonnie said...

I found myself thinking during the America's Cup (when first they couldn't race because there wasn't enough wind, then because there was too much) - god, these things are breathtaking to look at, but would they maybe actually be better boats if they weren't QUITE so high-strung?


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