I'm a sailor. An avid one. When I first started working here at boats.com, I had to be educated by our various columnists about the (apparently) obvious differences between a center console, runabout, and bowrider. (Read If There Weren't So Many Different Kinds of Boats...) Fortunately there were plenty of experts to learn from, and lots of great photos to study. Best of all, I've passed back some sailing info — and hopefully helped bridge the void between "blowboaters" and "stinkpots."
Outside of work, I tend to regard powerboats as (at best) a necessary form of dependable waterborne transportation. At worst, they are a wake-creating, brain-rattling, eardrum-piercing interruption of a quiet Sunday afternoon.
And yet, when I tried to pick my favorite boat, I came up with this photo. Look Ma, No Sails!
The caption that accompanied this photo in Lenny Rudow's recent post about boating celebrities stated, "Reportedly, Joel has been spotted doodling boat pictures on hotel room stationery, while on tour."
The simple triangles I create on scraps of paper are recognizable only to me as boat doodles; they certainly wouldn't help anyone create a new design, the way Joel's did for the Ellis Patriot 36. (Read Express Delivery, part 2) But knowing this famous singer/songwriter kills time in a similar way makes him seem like a real person, almost a friend — another example of how boats and boating bring us together.
Still, I never expected to come up with his boat as my personal favorite.
I tried, really I did, to come up with a canvas-propelled vessel instead. But here's the problem: that would mean narrowing down my choices to one single solitary vessel. And that would mean choosing between so many favorite experiences: drifting downwind on a Narragansett Bay Sunday afternoon; trimming, surfing, and dodging salt spray on a muscle-burning reach across Biscayne Bay; sipping sunset adult beverages at anchor, behind some remote pine-treed island in Penobscot Bay; squeaking across the finish line just ahead of the local hotshots on Chesapeake Bay.
Choosing a favorite sailboat would mean choosing a favorite experience associated with that boat, which for me is simply impossible. The range of possibility in my chosen sport allows me to sail to relax, sail to be challenged, sail to be with friends and family, sail to be by myself. I couldn't choose just one favorite out of that long list; it would be like cutting off a limb.
So I took the easy way out, and chose a powerboat instead.
I've never been on a boat of Billy Joel's, but I'm guessing there's an equally wide range of experiences available, all within this one hull. Blasting across the Bay: check. Light air Sunday afternoon drift: check (though a fishing line might be a required accessory). Sunset with adult beverage: check.
And though the finish line might not be quite so formal, I'm sure my favorite has won its share of casual races as well.
Got a favorite boat to share, even if it's outside your usual specialty? Tell us about it.