Danger: Two (or more)-Foot-Itis
Monday night, I arrived home early and caught Pat surfing some decidedly unsavory sites on the Web. In particular, he was ogling a For Sale ad for a 32-foot Kirié Elite sailboat that is available in the Clear Lake, Texas area. The really scary thing was the asking price – about what we’d likely pay for a slightly-used car to replace El Caballero when the time comes. And for that money, instead of convenient, reliable transportation, we could get a boat with a full galley and marine head and oodles of creature comforts – it’s made in France, so the wine rack is a given – and all of the expenses of keeping a big boat operational.
Oh, and of course, there would also be the expense of getting a trailer for the boat, and transporting it (it’s oversize, so there are state permits involved), and getting a tougher towing vehicle, and who knows what other expenses.
There’s a disease that’s been documented among sailors, called Two-Foot-Itis. It’s the compulsion to seek out a boat that’s just a little bigger than the current one, with just a few more features, or better performance, or whatever. Pat seems to have been hit by a particularly severe case. With our current finances, it’s really not a good idea to move up from our existing boats – the 26-foot MacGregor, Syzygy, which is our main boat, plus three Sunfish, a couple of kayaks, and a very pretty but klutzy Classic Marine dinghy. For the sort of sailing that we do, I think Syzygy does just fine.
Yes, I will admit, the sleeping, toilet, and cooking accommodations on Syzygy are less than ideal. Yes, in a more comfortable boat, I might actually be willing to stay overnight, saving on motel costs when we go to the lake. However, those savings will be tiny compared to the costs of keeping up a big boat.
There’s a saying: “A boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money.” And the amount of money to pour in doesn’t simply increase in proportion with the size of the boat; it’s more typically exponential.
So those of you out there who like small boats (like my newest fan, Tillerman – that’s his blog, Proper Course, in the Links to the left), how does one convince a guy that bigger isn’t necessarily better?