A New Chapter begins
There's a strange feeling of disorientation in the pit of my stomach as I took a long step onto the stern of the 45ft Whitby sloop yesterday. After the hassles of negotiating, trying to get a survey during a resurge of the pandemic, renegotiating, and burying my head in online forums about diesel motors and lithium battery upgrades, there was a sense that the searching in my life would forever be perpetual -- that the final step toward actually owning a boat of my own would always be one more crested wave out of reach.
Sure, I've had to deal with escrows in the past, and all those other grown-up kind of things that you never really discovered in home economics class. The boat is of that class like many on YachtWorld that affordable bargain hunters like myself filter in their searches, the kind of boat someone in my own class can afford, not the ones that are more for daydreaming about what I'm going to buy if I won the MegaMillions. It's a quarter the price of my first home a decade ago. But then, there's still something lingering, a feeling more like the one when I left the hospital with my newborn son 12 years ago; a feeling of disbelief that some powers at be would actually let me leave with another living human being tucked into my arms.
Of course, I'm not comparing the material space my new-used boat holds to that of my first-born son. But there is some similarity that can't be cast away. It's a feeling of humility, that something so fragile and magical would ever fall into my own hands.
The boat definitely has a magical feeling of a past life. The sheets and dock lines may be weathered from sun and spray, but climbing down into the cabin brings a calming sense of life before the internet and information super-highways. The salon is surrounded by varnished wood, with a heavy leafed table that when raised will comfortably feed six. And on the half-hours, the hand wound watch bell clock on the bulkhead to the forward birth from Boston hammers its chime, filling the cabin with the same warm sound that sailors have heard for over a hundred years.
On deck, it sits 45 LOL, from bow to stern. The beam is 12ft, a slim line for an off-shore cruiser. But with almost half its weight on the keel, I know it will take the ways clean and steady. And that's were my dreams took me as I sat on the forward deck, reclining back as I follow the furled yankee sail up high to the mast, which towers way over head beneath the blue September sky. And it is there that I dream of Scotland on the 55th parallel, and of flying fish beneath the moon lit night sky with Dog Star rising in the distance.
For now, I am left beneath the bricks of my old 148 year row home, which too cries of an older world, its own footprint not to much larger than that of the Whitby sloop. Its one of those classic Baltimore row homes off the Harbor, 13ft wide and 50ft back. And for now, it is here where I sit and dream of new chapters to come as the adventure begins.
- Sep 16, 2021
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