I'm not talking of the "mosquito fleet," my affectionate term for those fun little boats like the Flying Scots and the MC Scows that scoot on a vesper and turn on a dime. What a joy to watch them play and race! I'm talking of the "keel boat nation" of boats which find themselves restricted to life on and off a trailer. It's probably more accurately a "condition" than a life, but the boats that sit thus, albeit with cleaner hulls, suffer a sad life from day to day as owners prioritize everything but their little yachts. And this brings with it weather, debris from the trees, incessant cleaning when you'd like to be sailing....
And then there is the hauling.
So at the beginning of the Life and Times of Baggy Wrinkles, we retrofitted the BMW 328xi Sport Wagon to haul our Cape Dory. We did this to the nay-saying of BMW North America. And perhaps for good reason, because the "official word" was they "did not recommend it." Well, the wagon did just fine. The biggest problem is not so much the hauling as the splashing. And she's trailered, splashed and hauled with the best of them for the past couple of years. But things change don't they?
|This is a haul-out of premier level. As you can see, the wagon is perilously low to the ground, as it is meant to be in life.|
So just the other day, we entered our last race at the club. I say, last race, because as we were late to the starting line, we had barely time to cut off our Yamaha as the horn sounded. We were off with a good 10 kts of wind, running alongside several, yes only 4 other keel boats, who barely perceptibly, gained on us inch by inch in a downwind run. More on that it a bit. But back to the splashing...
So 1st Mate calls out to me as I'm rather carelessly backing Baggy Wrinkles into the coffee colored lake water, "that's far enough!" She informs me the muffler is under water. I assured her that the water washing the tubes was not interfering with the capability of the BMW to survive this launching. She looks at me wondering how this could be? I've done it so many times now, it is second nature. But don't tell BMW North America!
And yet that was probably the last time we will launch with the wagon. And not because she's has failed in any respect but because we decided to procure a more robust hauling vehicle. We need a bit more reach on the launch, power in the long haul, and defense in the parking lot!
It came one morning while bidding the 1st Mate to have a good day at work that I saw another rude ping in the door of her car. You see a sports car, as is the Z4 which she drives, doesn't have plastic guards and defensive devices pasted on its doors. Who would want that on a sporty driver? And there it was, another dent, with some coloration, an obvious attack by another idiot in the parking lot at work. And I said, "ok that's it, I'm done with the destruction of this car!" That one dent pushed me over into an effort to find a hauler that could both relieve the wagon of its duties at the launch so that we don't have to worry Munich about water in the muffler pipes, and a transportation vehicle of threat to any other vehicle in a parking lot! An ingenious rationalization I thought to myself!
So after consultation with one of my friends, affectionately known as the "Hillbilly," I decided to peruse the market and find a hauler of legendary reputation. Thus the Suburban 4WD. Known in this country as the Grandaddy of urban armies, the hauler extraordinaire, oftentimes jacked high in the air replete with swampers, lights, and attenae.... Nothing beats it for strength and comfort. After all, it is the Hummer platform too... The Hillbilly sent accolades on the choice of vehicle and we have now relieved the wagon of its duties as prime-mover with a hungry Suburban with those mud attacking tires and an engine that hardly breathes with its 8,000 pound tow package. That should take care of the Baggy Wrinkles just right!
After all, by the time we got back to the club from the race, we had no interest in any drama at the ramp. We towed and stowed Baggy Wrinkles into her parking place. I could tell I was burning up my available chits with the 1st Mate as bungies on the tarp flipped and boinged in the wrong direction. Sweat was dripping off our faces, the heat and mosquitos were amply engaged. We could not get away quick enough. Oh, and we did not complete the race either, because we never crossed the starting line. Cape Dories are a class of their own, and usually last. As the committee boat radioed I replied we would not be finishing because we never really began the race! But back to the suburban-
So the choice was clear, at least to me, that the 1st Mate needed a more defensive vehicle and Baggy Wrinkles needed a road partner. No ceremony will be necessary. This will all take place quietly and without additional fanfare. But if you're reading this and wondering if your vehicle will tow your Cape Dory, perhaps be advised that there are more sophisticated ways of rationalizing a Suburban than simply towing!