Just The Facts
I’m in the position of prophet, sage and wonder-boy. My job is to know everything about boats and dole that wisdom out in healthy monthly dollops. Or at least, and more realistically, I’m charged with applying what experience I do have to various and sundry boating topics that range from composite construction to the latest electronic technology to the viability of a particular boat for a particular purpose. But the fact is, there are very few “facts” when it comes to boats.
Consider the perennial question of, “What makes a good boat?” For a long time, my standard quip was–prior to addressing the question in earnest—that a good boat floated and its pointy end went first; everything after that was gravy. That was prior to the prevalence of cats and pontoons. There’s less sass in the statement now, so I keep it stowed.
Floating is still meaningful, and I’ll agree therefore, that there is at least one fact that we can apply to boats for sure. There aren’t any others.
The other most frequent question an editor for the world’s largest powerboat magazine hears is: “What’s the best boat?” My answer to that one hasn’t changed. There is no best boat.
Even if we narrow down a particular skipper’s boating style; ascertain whether he cruises or skis or parties or fishes; determine the hull form most suited to the water conditions he expects to encounter most; ascribe the ideal propulsion type based on the performance requirements and fuel economy desired; factored in specific brands by taking into consideration the reputation of local dealers; nailed down a price range; got the guy or girl to pick their favorite color without question and handed them the boat that fulfilled all of those things on a silver platter; even after all that–and I’ve done it time and again to the point where I cringe when asked the question–the reply is usually: “I saw that boat. Its not for me.”
Next question, please.
All those facts are important when buying a boat, but they have to reconcile with something else before we write a check. We want something not found on a spec sheet: the boat must generate a self-satisfied smile as we cast an over-the-shoulder glance at her after tying-up for the day.