“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
|A fishing boat in the small port of Sipanska Luka, Croatia|
Or it could be my fascination with boats came from that little classic, Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures down the River by Gertrude Crampton who in fact also wrote Tootle, both books which were each in their own regard some of the best selling childrens' books in English. I can recall pouring over the adventure of Scuffy as a small child with rapture and wonderment, something about boats I guess.
So it is no surprise that anything having to do with boats has my attention. And especially classic boats. And in particular the Cape Dory. It is so classic, it demands attention.
It is like someone once said about motorcycles, another avid interest of mine, that if you find yourself turning around after a few footsteps, to gaze at your motorcycle, to admire its lines and its lean, you're really hooked! And I've thought that same thing every time I walk away from the Dory.
Many years ago, when I was a very small child, our family took a trip across Europe. We ambled across France, then Spain, and found ourselves alongside the Atlantic in some village in Portugal where fishing boats were pulled up on the beach, others bobbed at moorings, and the scent of the tempestuous Atlantic insisted on filling our noses with its curious scents. The rocks that lined the sea were black and smooth, wet, green seaweed wrapped around them, barnacles dotted their backs. Those smells and images have never left me. They make me want to turn around and look back at them.
Somewhere in that village my father had purchased a model fishing boat for me. I promptly found my way to the hotel pool to launch my boat. All of about three, I was not totally unaware that some young men were playing water polo in the pool, but I thought there was plenty of room for my launching. And of course, the little fishing boat got away from me. Yet as I watched it bob its way into the deeper waters of the pool one of the players took note of it and guided it back to me. I recall him pushing it my way and making sure it made its way into my hands. I've never forgotten that help. At three, the sea was already calling me.
My father was never much of a mariner at all. Though he had an interest in fishing, and owned a small runabout for a while, he largely kept his affairs shore-side. Yet he seemed to know my attraction to the water and I credit him for launching the idea of sailboats in my little mind either by that model fishing boat, or the several trips across the Atlantic, coming to and from America to Europe, or by his announcement one day that my brother and I would be making our own model sailboats out of balsa wood! For a landlubber, he certainly instilled wonder-lust in my mind!
Today he still has a photograph on his refridgerator of the Beneteau 473, we owned for about five years. I imagine as soon as Baggy Wrinkles is photographed at sea, she will take a position of honor on that fridge as well. There is just something about messing around in boats that makes anything about boats a great pastime. Perhaps for some it is simply looking into a photograph and traveling by imagination, like reading about Scuffy.