People like boats. Even if they never actually own one, they like them. I think it has as much to do with the spirit of adventure and enjoying the water, as anything else. Like this tourist boat the First Mate and I saw in Florida, off the balcony of our friends' condo in St. Pete, Florida. They called it the "Dolphin Boat" cause it gives folks the opportunity to be aboard a large boat looking for the funny sea characters we love so much.
But if you ponder about it, you might not realize, that according to the National Marine Manufacturer's Association in the USA, one in 26 Americans owns a boat, making 12 million, the approximate number of boat owners in the US. And that of these boats, 95% of powerboats are made in the USA, as opposed to clothing which is at 3%! And in one year alone, 89 million of us went boating! And most of the households who own boats have an aggregate of less than $100,000 income. I found these statistics mind-boggling.
Funny thing happened while visiting sailing friends in Florida. While having lunch on their porch overlooking their cove, I spotted a familiar hull making its way ever so slowly around the shallows. I stood up quickly and said, "I think that's a Cape Dory Typhoon!" They knew the design quite well because they're avid sailors and they read this blog too! Smiling they asked, "Really, is it?" Grabbing my Steiners, I looked at a couple of gals making their way carefully around the tricky waters. They quickly reported their efforts at impressing me had been well rewarded by this coordinated event! I laughed too!
After what seemed an hour, the little dory finally made its course into the bay and began sailing and sailing.
We had lost track of the little boat and didn't catch up with her position until after some lunch and then naps. Later in the afternoon, on the cusp of a belligerent afternoon Florida thunderstorm, the Cape Dory once again appeared, making its way toward land. The two sailors dutifully paused in the channel nearby, flaked the sails, tossed an anchor, and went below. We peered and peered as the rain slowly obscured them from our sight. A howling torrent of wind and water, lashes of electricity and rolling booms, like an artillery barrage (and yes I've experienced that in combat myself too), pounded the bay, drenching and pouring fresh water everywhere. Surely they'd be swept off their anchor in this wind or worse, blown into a revetment and endangered themselves aground. But no, in the evening light after the storm, there was calm everywhere, and she had survived.
The sailing gals had pulled anchor and made for the safety of their mooring wherever that was. The nameless dory had weathered a terrific storm. And to think of all the boats passing in the cove that afternoon, it was a little Cape Dory Typhoon that appeared and caught our eye! I've read tales of Cape Dories, caught in enormously heavy ocean seas, whose sole method of survival was to take down the sails, batten the hatches, and ride out the fury below.