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Monday, July 9, 2012
While sitting on the beach at Lavallette, N.J., I enjoy watching the boats out in the ocean. The sailboats look so peaceful, drifting along with the wind, usually with only half their sails out, obviously these people are in no hurry. I wish I could be with them enjoying the ride, with a cold beer and some good conversation.
I see boats out fishing. Some are trolling along slowly for blues, some are drifting for fluke. Either way, it looks relaxing and fun. Fishing with friends, good food, good drink, I wish I could join them.
There are kayaks, and paddle-boards, these look like a lot of work. I am not so envious of these, but if I was still 30 I think they would be fun.
Then I see a 40 foot speedboat blasting across the ocean. It is mostly bow and motor with a tiny cockpit. It is loud; it is bouncing along and must be jarring the passengers at every wave. I don’t get the speedboat. How do you eat or drink with all that bouncing? How do you even hear the person next to you with the noise generated by that giant engine? What is the purpose of speeding from point A to point B and back? Traveling at 35 knots, they must be burning about $50 of fuel every hour. Is this even boating? Boating should involve knowing the wind and the currents, watching for weather changes and navigating by chart, compass and GPS.
I guess I’m just a little prejudiced about speedboats. I just don’t consider their owners to be truly nautical people.
My brother Jim once related a speedboat story to me. Jim was a Captain in the U.S. Navy. He was a navigator for submarine tracking airplanes in the Navy Air, and then worked developing new sonar and radar tracking systems.
On one assignment, Jim was on a specialized research vessel about 20 miles in the Pacific off the California coast. His crew heard a loud noise and then saw a huge speedboat roar across the water and pull up next to his ship the engine rumbling loudly “BLAT BLUB BLUB BLAT BLAT BLUB BLUB BLAT.”
“Ahoy,” they shouted out to this craft which seemed a bit out of place 20 miles from land.
“Yo,” came the response. “Can you guys tell us how to get to Inkatink Island?”
Jim and his crew conferred for a while and then responded, “Inkatink is North, North East about 15 miles. Set your compass at 255 degrees.”
The speedboat captain paused for a while, talked with his passenger, and then hollered back, “Can't you just point?”
I just have no respect for speedboats.