Who Builds These Boats?

Who Builds These Boats?

I’ve often wondered what was going through his mind when the King’s Father built this boat. Was it something like, “Hey, I’ve got an extra couple of mil’ sittin’ around. Why not?” I’ve heard he is a passionate history buff, so let’s say he was just jones-ing to see what this boat would look like, and how she would sail if someone re-built her. But now here we are, sailing her around the U.S., and this is the second time I’ve seen the King and the first time I’ve met his father, and both times it struck me how little time they spend on the vessel.

But maybe this is what happens to Things We Acquire. Maybe even when we grow up, we’re still like children playing with a new toy; once we’ve played with it a few times, the novelty wears off. We hand it down to someone who may appreciate it more.

Maybe. I think it would drive me crazy if this boat were mine, and she sailed into town. I would want to start sanding down the places where the paint is cracked, and examine all the blocks which are looking pretty sad. I’d want to be there when she’s hauled out this winter to check out her hull. Even if I were too old to do the work, I’d see if the Captain had any use for me.

But it’s possible there’s a class issue going on here. It’s possible that he’s never touched the boat in that way to begin with – that he didn’t really build the boat – he had it built.

Today we made a little side trip to Harbor Springs to give the King and his father and their friends a special fundraiser sail. They auctioned off an old weather-beaten ensign for $850, and I’m guessing the sail itself cost a pretty penny.

Harbor Springs is the most affluent port we’ve stopped in. Not coincidentally, they don’t usually allow commercial vessels like ours to tie up here. A huge boathouse spills out in long fingers of docks and covered slips sheltering multi-million dollar boats. And all around the little bay, massive houses with private docks, all have their own sailboats and motorboats in the water.

This is where the King’s family has their summer house (their main residences are in Hawaii and San Diego). Maybe when you have this much money, your possessions are just possessions. This boat is just one more boat the family owns; her operation just one more thing to be dealt with, itemized in their taxes and given a clause in the will.

It reminds me of an another altogether different boat story – the one we saw the film about in Wilmington – of the man so driven to build a boat that he did so in his own backyard in Detroit, fighting annoyed neighbors and city ordinances, persisting in his work through cold winters and money issues. He is still sailing her today.

Whether or not he lifts a brush with varnish on it, or even ever sails her again, I’m glad the King’s Father had the boat built. It’s enabled me to have one of the greatest adventures of my life.

Thursday’s Menu
Breakfast
Breakfast burritos with chorizo, cheese eggs with jalapeno jack
Lunch
Gnocchi with rappini and Italian sausage, fennel seed and a little cream
Dinner
The King poked his head into the galley after the sail. How far into dinner prep was I, he asked. Could I put it on ice? Hell, yeah! I’d been feeling hungover all day. I was even a little worried the dough for hamburger buns wouldn’t rise fast enough for me to make them in time for dinner. So we all went over to a little nook of a place called Bar Harbor and had dinner on the King. It wasn’t anything to write home about… but how nice not to have to cook!