Monday, June 25, 2012

With apologies...

to the power boaters among us.

British friends would rightly call me a "Petrol Head". I drive a 350Z and ride a ZX-14. The only sport I follow with any regularity is Moto GP, where the men are crazy, the bikes are loud, and together they can do better than 200 mph down the front straight. I'll stop channel surfing to watch the drag races; 8 cylinders - 8,000 HP - thunder and smoke and 1/4 mile runs of about 4 seconds. At the office my coffee cup reads "I LOVE THE SMELL OF JET FUEL IN THE MORNING".

Yet power boats leave me cold.

Not so much the cabin cruiser / expedition crowd. If I had me half-a-gazillion dollars to feed the fuel tanks I could see the wheel house of a well-founded Trawler or modest Mega-Yacht (excuse the contradiction in terms) as a fun place to spend a few years. Unlimited electrical power for toys and tools, AC and heat, full sized fridge to provide an endless supply of cold ones...what's not to like about that kind of living? Particularly when (assuming I last so long) wrestling with countless lines, sheets, and halyards gets to be increasingly difficult with arthritic hands and flagging muscles.

As Deb mentioned we tried a new place to toss the hook last weekend; a place with a boat ramp just around the jetty. As such we had a ring side seat to a constant parade of pontoon boats, wave runners (or jet skis - not sure what the proper nomenclature is for those noisy little buggers and their funny looking rooster tails), and big, honking loud racy looking hulls that cannoned off down the lake with just itty bitty slices of their sterns actually touching the water.

Petrol Head though I may normally be, speed and rush junkie that I normally am, the high zoot, full honk, power boat world doesn't hold any appeal. Deb thinks I see it as a clash with the environment (small "e") and maybe she has a point. The sky is the sky, climbing up through it very far and making any distance across it before running out of go-juice just takes power and speed; the more the better. Roads are manmade and blasting around a corner of one, knee-just-brushing-the-ground, feeling for that little bit of slip that says the back tire is about to give way...what else would a good twisty road be for?

But I don't go off-road; can't see myself ripping through a quiet meadow or jumping a dune far from the lights of human kind. Somehow that seems...improper...disrespectful even; an act that defies rather than celebrates. Moving through the water under sail whispers of a dance with lake and wind. Power boaters strike me as being in a fight. (Mind you, I don't mind a good fight when the cause is just or the opponent worthy; but a quiet little lake on a Sunday morning seems a rather passive combatant.)

It’s just me of course. I fully grant the power boater the right to go high zooting and full honking whenever the credit card can take the hit, and where ever there are no "NO WAKE" markers.

But I think I'll avoid coving out near boat ramps whenever I can.


bob said...

SO nicely said Tim!

I am with you on the motor sports (tho I tend more to classic muscle and motorcycles), and I share your assessment of the intrinsic intrusiveness of engines on the water.

I don't think I've ever seen it written better than, "Moving through the water under sail whispers of a dance with lake and wind."

s/v Eolian

TJ said...

No argument with classic muscle. This family had a decade long affair with a '89 Camaro and my youngest brother is an absolute GTO expert. I have to admit that the Z-car goes around corners a little better though.