The Boat Snob Awakens

So I’ve decided to buy a boat.

It wasn’t a hard decision to make. You see, I’ve worked as an editor for magazines that cover boats of every stripe for more than 15 years, and I’ve been immersed in boat culture the same way that guy at the Ford plant is immersed in left-front fenders. Boats just keep on coming across my desk in one form or another and have done so for the whole of my professional life: Huge, luxurious superyachts; brawny sportfishing boats; sleek Italian express cruisers; and lobsterboat-inspired Maine-built yachts. I’ve looked at photos, read press releases, spoken to designers and engineers and boatbuilders, dug deep into the philosophies that inspired the hull designs, given light-as-fluff, off-the-cuff personal opinions, strode the docks at boat shows year after year.

And then there’s the action in the field, as only I would say. Traveling the world to visit different bodies of water—it’s like the job has a built-in vacation. But you don’t bring your family, except on the rare occasion when you can finesse that.

Anyway you get there and stay in some hotel that may be very nice or much less than that. You meet up with the boat and go through as much of it as you can, all the while reading the personalities of the company representatives onboard. Sometimes it’s just the captain, who doesn’t really care what you do, he’s got plenty of time today. And other times you’ll have the boatbuilder’s head of marketing along, and they are very helpful with e-mailing photos and images (I’m often on deadline—no pictures, no article) and answering questions (though sometimes the captains have better answers for my purposes) and they’re happy you’re there but they’re also trying to arrange three more tests of this boat to make sure it hits all the major magazines and even some minor ones. That’s their job.

My job is to get a sense of the boat and how it performs, and also to form an idea in my mind about the prospective owner of that boat. Then I put those two concepts together and see how the boat will fit the bill.

So I see them all, and drive quite a few, and know what they’re supposed to do and why they do what they’re supposed to (and why they don’t). I think about this a lot.

You see, all this work experience (and a fair amount of personal experience on boats belonging to friends and family members kind enough to host my family and me) has made me nothing short of a boat snob. I know what I like. And I know what I want.

And I want a boat.

But it’s not just because I’m surrounded by boats all day every day. I have been studying them and the people that surround them for years. And there are some more complicated reasons that revolve around me, my family, and the way we think about our lives. I intend to explore them here as we learn more.

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The Boat Snob Awakens

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