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I know where and how I caught boat fever. I know how to treat it.
Old 01-23-2018, 06:58 AM   #1
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I know where and how I caught boat fever. I know how to treat it.

My father was always hustling for a buck. His full time job was as a conductor on the Long Island railroad. His part time jobs included painter and Clam digger. It was as sleeping and fishing on the tiny foredeck of his clamboat where my brother and I caught the fever.

As many of you are likely to be unfamiliar Clam digging with a rake on the great South Bay 50 years ago - allow me to fill in the details. His boat like many other diggers, was old, wooden, mostly open, 18 feet long and without doubt a work boat. It spent some time upside down in the garage where cotton was first hammered into the gaps between the planks then covered with putty. The old 2 cycle Johnson motor lacked the reliability of the modern engine and could just get the boat ‘up on plane’. The rake head was heavy, held on with pipe clamps and sat at the end of a long adjustable length metal pole and had a ‘T’ handle. To avoid disaster there was a float attached to a line tied to the head.

Clamming is a primitive, arduous and repetitive affair. Throw the rake over the side, wait for it to hit the bottom and well ‘rake’. Hopefully the current will help move the boat. The clams and all manner of junk will be deposited in the belly of the head. Then lift the rake up hand over hand then dump your catch into a basket. Do so quickly to avoid drifting out of the spot. This method is not to be confused with the tonguers who use a post hole digger like tongues. The gold he raked for was deposited in a cull. Those that passed through through the cull were to small to be legally kept. Some of the cull found its way to the end of my fishing line and into my families bellies. The ‘legal’ clams were deposited in a bushel bag and sold for, as I remember, the grand sum of $16 (In the late 60s). There are several hundred clams in a bushel.

Sitting or lounging in the sun, with the never ending breeze, catching fish and smelling the salt air - well just heaven for a young guy. I’ve learned boat fever can go dormant, particularly when you are land locked, but it is always there just waiting to send you down a dangerous path.

My neighbor and fishing buddy, about ten years older then me was a curious fellow, procrastinator of the worse sort. Nary a shrub or bush was planted in the twenty something years he lived at his house, two doors down from me. That is until his daughters wedding. No bathroom was added to the second floor of his house as was customary. Sparse, nothing on the walls but very clean.

What he did have in the basement was a enviable collecting of fishing rods and reels. Even though he was of modest means he would buy a $500 rod where my conscience just wouldn’t allow me to do it.

I guess It was why I wasn’t surprised when a 18ft, center console Parker showed up in his small driveway. The fishing trips we went on often went like this. Get up at 4:30AM drive an hour and half out east to the Ramp. Finding a free or cheap ramp was so paramont. Launch the boat, park the tow vehicle and head out 30 minutes to our spot. The inlet we fished was a dangerous place and my buddy was fearfull of the ocean. Around that time a bigger Parker capsized in a nearby inlet and few people drowned. Of course a healthy dose of caution was a good thing. We caught fish, no doubt about it but, well in retrospect not as many as all that. Anyway in the late afternoon after a day in the sun and wind we would head to the dock and reverse the process. Once home we would struggle to back the boat into his narrow driveway and then clean it. Often the process ended in the dark.

Some point along the way it registered with me This is way too much work: Im exhausted by the time we are done. And we would chew through a tank of gas just getting out there.

The fevers still there but my memory of all the hard work and expense keeps it under control. Boats are a pain.

So did i ever tell you about surf casting...
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:20 AM   #2
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I remember similar stories, and swap Cape Cod Canal fishing, Great Lakes Fishing, or just trout or bass fishing at any time or day. Combine 2-3 of those in the same day once in a while.

What it tells me is that you need a place to live on or very close to the water to avoid the commute time. You need a larger, brand new boat, so you have the safety of a large boat, and the reliability of a new one - complete with modern electronics.

Store the new boat in a slip already in the water, or ready to be brought to the water with just a call/email. All you have to do is walk on and fish. Think of the benefits. Only pennies a day over the course of your life.

Then, all your worries are over.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:43 AM   #3
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....Boats are a pain....

This says it all. I spent more time getting my boat in and out of the lake last year that I did on the lake. Think I’ll sell it.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:46 AM   #4
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Great story.

I too love messing about on boats and near the water, and have no idea how I got here. Could have been the sailing ship wall paper I had in my room as a very young lad.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:57 AM   #5
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I disagree ---- if it is your hobby/passion. Boats are mine. Yes, it's a big "IF". If boating is not "in you", then boats don't make sense.

I have owned, worked on, built, and restored far too many boats over the last 30 years - from fishing skiffs to sailing dinghies to a 36ft tug to a 33ft sailing catamaran. I loved every one of them. Working on them, sailing them, electrical systems, plumbing systems, engines.....all of it (well, except washing).

There are others of us out there - just look for the sheer number of forums and people on the internet dedicated to sailing, cruising, and trawler boats.

Boats are not cars. You don't just leave them sitting in your driveway for weeks on end and then just get in and start them up. Most people don't seem to understand that and the marketing folks don't have any incentive whatsoever to let them know.

This fall we'll be selling the house and most of our possessions to live aboard full-time and start the Great Loop. It is my great fortune, beyond all expectation, that my dear wife is fully "on board" with this and loves boating as much as I do.

[EDIT] At least I never have to answer that question about what I will do when I retire.......
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:35 AM   #6
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I know the affliction. After more than 40 years sailing, and more than 25 years of owning boats, our boat is under contract to sell. I attended the survey yesterday. Sistership pic below.

The local YC and their sailing program are on their last legs, and DW is no longer comfortable on a boat. I'll miss sailing every weekend in season, but I won't miss the considerable expense and logistics. The old adages ring true for us.

Better than owning a boat, a friend who owns a boat (I still have several friends with boats).

And the two best days of boat ownership, the day you buy, the day you sell.

Maybe something tiny like a 19 foot daysailer some day, but nothing more costly.

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Old 01-23-2018, 10:34 AM   #7
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I can certainly empathize about boat maintenance. I have 6. I figure it's a little like tools, you have to have the right one for the job. So, ski boat, bass boat, a couple of jet skis, DW's small sailboat and a canoe. Now all I need is a Hobie kayak and a stand up paddle board. Guess I have it bad.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:48 AM   #8
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I can certainly empathize about boat maintenance. I have 6. I figure it's a little like tools, you have to have the right one for the job. So, ski boat, bass boat, a couple of jet skis, DW's small sailboat and a canoe. Now all I need is a Hobie kayak and a stand up paddle board. Guess I have it bad.
I once proposed a "hull index" for people to use for discussions - "What is your hull index?".

With a Windrider trimaran (cheating) and a couple of kayaks in the fleet, I was up to 9 at one point.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:23 AM   #9
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There are others of us out there - just look for the sheer number of forums and people on the internet dedicated to sailing, cruising, and trawler boats.

No doubt about there are some dedicated boaters... on Long Island we would often take a drive to Bayshore (just for something to do) in the winter to see how whipped up the Bay was. I’d see beautiful boats neglected and sunk at the dock. It was horrible.

Buying a boat isn’t all that unlike a marriage.. It is a long term commitment and requires dedication and constant attention. Go out for a walk in the sun or sand and clean the boat? That’s the question?
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:01 PM   #10
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Never got the "real boat" bug. I do have an 18' Kevlar canoe that hangs in my garage. Lower two ropes, tie it on the roof rack and go.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:56 PM   #11
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Had the boat bug. Had a boat. Got over it.
Has the car bug. Had some neat cars. Got over it.
Had the travel bug. Lots of travel. Still have it...

So my mantra is less stuff and more experiences.

It took a lot of years to get over it. And I understand those that still have it. There is a whole lifestyle associated with them. I have sublet to guys that rent garages to store their cars. One day they will see the light.

Boating can be more of a lifestyle choice if they are live-aboard. Sort of alternatives to cottages. Me I sold the cottage 17 years ago. Kids grown with their own cottages.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:13 PM   #12
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I know where your boat can be fixed: https://www.myharbor.com/serviceyard.asp
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:27 PM   #13
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I've owned a boat since 7 years old. Always thought that owning a yacht would be the shiznits! Now at 52 y/o and the financial means to buy one, wisdom is keeping me from upsizing. It is winter here in the northwest, and many of the yachts floating in the marina look sadly neglected, all the while the owners are forking out monthly fees to keep it on the dock. My 22' trailerable sport cruiser is nestled comfortably in our heated garage, waiting for a warm spring day. Current boat will get me any place a 50 footer will go, but at 40knot cruise speed.

So, ya, bitn by the boat bug early on, but years of lessons learned and observation, I'll limit the size!
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:47 PM   #14
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What's that "three F" quote?

If it flys, floats, or (..I forgot the third one...)
then
it's cheaper to rent.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:00 PM   #15
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It is winter here in the northwest, and many of the yachts floating in the marina look sadly neglected, all the while the owners are forking out monthly fees to keep it on the dock.

Most marinas I’ve seen are literally full of neglected boats, home to spiders and mud daubers.

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What's that "three F" quote?

If it flys, floats, or (..I forgot the third one...)
then
it's cheaper to rent.

If it eats or craps...
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:23 PM   #16
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Please do not talk to me about boat costs.....
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:39 PM   #17
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Another boat is on my radar for next year. Another older used boat with a small outboard motor. In a slip at a marina on the delta.

I just love being on the river and catching a few fish. Especially retired going in the middle of the week when all the crazies are working and I'm all pretty much alone.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:52 PM   #18
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My grandfather was born and bred just before the turn of the twentieth century on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia in the small seaside village of Port Morion. As a young man, he fished for a living during the brief summers and mined coal during the winters.

Grandad, along with 5 other men would row out into the ocean and cast their nets by hand. On a good day, they'd haul in a catch of cod, row back onto the beach, cleaning and salting the fish for eventual sale. Having visited the beautiful and rough Atlantic coast of Cape Breton Island gave me an appreciation for the tough living my grandparents scratched out over 100 years ago.

And like you Ray, that life of a fisherman cured my granddad of anything resembling boat fever!
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:04 PM   #19
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I want a canoe. I now have a truck with a rack on the shell to carry it, and we have nice lakes in the mountains here. Goes with fishing them. Need to do this before I can't lift the canoe to the top of the truck...

Bucket List #1: Rent one of the day sailers at Kaneohe Bay MCAS on Oahu, spend the day on it. Small ambitions...
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:23 PM   #20
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I want a canoe. I now have a truck with a rack on the shell to carry it, and we have nice lakes in the mountains here. Goes with fishing them. Need to do this before I can't lift the canoe to the top of the truck....................
Look at a Kevlar canoe. Mine is so light, I have to tie it down on a windy day. https://www.wenonah.com/CanoeCategory.aspx?cat=46
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