“The Feel”


IMG_20140316_063202If you ever going into the market for a boat, then you are going to consider a few things to make your decision. First based on your bank account and economics you are either going to be a owner or crew like myself, sail boat or power, and finally small or large. Now once you have gotten through all that “mental strain”, you wisely settle down to where most sensible “wanna be” start small boat. But, and you all have to be careful here, with these kind of statements here, when it comes to boats, size really does matters, relatively.

To a new owner 10-20 ft. day sailor, versus a 30-40 footer can be very satisfying. However, to a seasoned sailor looking at a 30- 40 footer, versus an Atlantic/Pacific family cruiser will be the real deal. I think a boat is too big when you start to lose the essence and perspective of what a boat was initially made to do and its connection with its surroundings. Only real sailors will understand and tell you what’s missing from not having the feel of ocean spray in your face, or when its too large to make that 5-10 knots. You can find its too large when you cant even go for a small sail around your local harbor, or cant even get out of the dock alone to enjoy some “me- time” sail, or you need a power winch to raise you anchor or main sail, or come annual crucial maintenance time, putting on a coat of marine paint get your bank account empty.

Seasoned sailors will tell you its all down to “The Feel”, like a small sports car which should be agile in performance, yet large in accommodation. I’ve spent many a weekends on 50 footer plus, building up muscles for the next ‘Mr Universe” contest, blisters that leave your hands and fingers looking like first, second, or third degree burns, or leaving your sprawled out on deck breathless looking like an unfit 3000 Olympic runner.

You may now say what makes a good choice then, if not the length factor, what then? Its all “The Feel”. There are 20 footers that steer like a coach, while there are 50 footers plus, that steer like a go-kart, or dingy in even the harshest of wave, or wind. Now you can appreciate the difference in build quality, design and ultimate price. I’m not here to discourage you from LARGE boats, but, to me on the other hand, a boat can be to small, if i can’t stand in it without been tipped over board or capsizing, if you cant spend a week end with your wife and kids not getting in the way of each other, and getting wet if it rains, or giving your local marine life a taste of your body refuse, due to the lack of basic on board bathroom amenities, or if the “boys weekend”out, rum and coke spill with every movement, or your emergency get home rescue plan, is only a pair of oars, or a gorgeous summer day is ruined because your have to remain tied up in dock because of gentle 10-20 knots perfect sailing winds, and finally your can’t cook up your favorite catch of steam or fry fish due to no room for your smallest cooker. WHEW!!!!!! What a mouth full.

SO as i said it’s all about “The Feel”, under wind, and wave, your crew’s ear to ear grin while sipping “Your” expensive on board brew. And to the aspiring sailor who is looking to treat him or herself into those retiring years, the saying goes, any sail boat is not better than any boat at all, or my older sailor friend said to me life is too short not to enjoy a good thing/sail.

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Gordon McDowell

Gordon McDowell

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