Way back in January 2013, our new blog editor, Lauren de Vlaming, tasked us all to write about our favorite boat. She figured that would be an easy assignment for a bunch of avid watersports enthusiasts, and we'd naturally cover a wide range of boat types: fishing, sailing, powerboating. Lauren even wrote about Pontoons for Every Party, to make sure that popular type of craft was included. What she didn't realize is how difficult it would be for each of us to choose just one Favorite Boat. We soon convinced her to change the name of the category to "Boats We Love," since (at least with boats) it is possible, and even encouraged, to love more than one at a time. So here's a look back through the archives at the boats we publicly acknowledged loving in 2013.
I'm a sailor, but my initial contribution was a powerboat inspired by Billy Joel. I figured that in the supportive environment of the boats blog, I could admit to liking mechanized craft without being laughed at. Besides, "Choosing a favorite sailboat would mean choosing a favorite experience associated with that boat, which for me is simply impossible." (I later added a sailboat, a paddleboard, and a very different type of powerboat to my list.)
Gael Pawson, our UK editor, then proceeded to make me very jealous by writing about a boat I'd love to try someday: the International Moth. These tiny foilers are "not the most practical of craft — there’s not even room for your sandwiches, but when it comes to sailing experiences, nothing can match it." It's also a tiny taste of what we all watched unfold in San Francisco during the America's Cup: sailboats skimming above the surface of the waves, making it look easy. Rob Bowman, our Southeast OEM Sales Manager, shared a story of the big one that got away from his favorite boat, a Boston Whaler 150 Montauk. "It was during that experience that I felt secure about my Whaler — because no matter what happened with the shark, I knew I wasn’t going to sink." And that, of course, inspired our primary fisherman and boat reviewer, senior editor Lenny Rudow, to weigh in. Just as I had struggled to pick my favorite sailboat, Lenny explained his conundrum. "Trying to choose my favorite boat is like trying to choose my favorite bottle of wine: the one I’m currently with is, generally speaking, my favorite at the time." After wending his way through several choices, Lenny finally made his selection—though perhaps not for the right reasons. "I have to go with... a boat that everyone would point at and laugh if they saw it on the water. A boat that’s made of plastic, is under 10 feet long, has a maximum horsepower rating of five, and can barely hold two people (or a single average Wal-Mart shopper). Yes, my favorite boat is the Leisure Life Bass Tender... currently branded the Water Quest Bass Hound." (Read more in My Favorite Boat: Leisure Life Bass Tender.) Of course as soon as we opened up the category by renaming it "Boats We Love," Lenny regained his prolific-ness and added the following to his list during the year:
and, going full circle back to simplicity,
Senior editor Doug Logan was smarter than all of us. Instead of getting locked into "just one," he amended the title of his first post to Alerion Express 28, A Favorite Boat. Later in the year he added three more, tying him with Lenny for the number of public water-based loves in this year alone:
Digital Vagabond Sam Greenfield weighed in with a boat he would love to build himself: the Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff. "If James Bond ever had a 14 year old son—or daughter—this is the boat they would build with their bare hands. "
And our fearless leader, editorial director John Burnham, chimed in too. Instead of getting caught up in power vs. sail or small vs. large, he focused on the Charter Schooners of Newport. "In Newport, R.I., three beautiful charter schooners, Aquidneck, Madeleine, and Adirondack II, are always improving our view—and introducing hundreds daily to our sensational watery playground.... Their classic style can be appreciated by landlubbers and old salts, alike." But if you dig back into the archives, John did make a more personal choice: the C&C 33 he sailed to Bermuda more than thirty years ago. "OK, she had a few quirks, like an alcohol stove that I had trouble lighting and a gas engine that made me nervous…But she was a pretty quick sailer." Hopefully John will be adding to his loves list in 2014. There are many more: read the full list of Boats We Love. And confession is good for the soul, so if you're got a boat (or boats) you love, spill it to us. We might find ourselves writing about your public declaration when we look back on the Boats We Love of 2014.