Here I talk about my boat Blue Alligator. Admittedly: not very objective. But who writes objectively about his mistress?
Can you write objectively about a boat, your boat? I can’t. Of course: I can list facts. For example, when Blue Alligator was built (1994). And where (at Warsash – no, not Warsaw. Warsash is a place between Southampton and Portsmouth). How long she is (34 feet. Please do the maths yourself) and more such things that can be found in official documents like the boat certificate.
But have I given you the gist of it? Not for me.
A few years ago Katrin, my wife, gave me a key ring for the ship’s keys. A simple metal plate with a simple engraving. It says „Mistress“ on the plate. My wife’s subtle irony. If it had been the keys to a flesh-and-blood mistress’s room, I would probably have been shot in the head instead of getting a plate. But that’s not entirely without its problems. And I must confess that I spoil this boat like a true mistress. She gets pretty much everything she needs, plus a lot more that she might not need but that I think is necessary or just plain pretty.
Of course, these are not lavish bouquets of flowers and fat bling. Rather, they are electronic gadgets in the latest design, the ultimate suction bilge pump (the pump that pumps water out of the deepest part of the boat, the bilge), extra thick cables so that nothing overheats, constantly new lines in pretty colours – for setting the sails or simply for mooring, socks over the fenders (those sausage-shaped things made of plastic that you hang over the side so that the side of the boat doesn’t rub against the pontoon – and with fender socks they rub even less), a polish every now and then so that the blue hull shines and the scratches that evil neighbours have inflicted on Blue Alligator disappear again. Which lover regularly gives his beloved a facelift – after more than 20 years of relationship? Some people could learn a thing or two from that kind of devotion. I say: That is true love.
In the belly of Blue Alligator
But in return I know every fibre of her body and know how to fold myself in such a way that I reach the furthest corner inside her. No voyage – in nautical terms, this is called a cruise – goes by without me making a detour through one of her hatches into the depths of the hull to repair or replace something or simply to tighten a screw.
These are the moments when fellow sailors (if there are any, for I usually sail alone) are best off disembarking or retreating into their bunks, though even there they are not safe from being startled and driven away. Then a carpet of tools spreads out in the ship’s belly, supplemented by hatch covers, cushions and just about everything that has to be moved from one place to another, such as guitar cases, books, plaids, bottles, stuffed animals (of which later), in order to make their way to one, in any case, highly inaccessible corner. In short, chaos reigns, the logic of which can only be understood by one person: me. Most of the time, at least.
What she gives me back
So this is the relationship between Blue Alligator and me. And now I could talk about what she gives me: highlighting her beautiful lines. But those who have eyes to see can hopefully see that for themselves. And I could talk about how softly she cuts through the waves. But that’s the usual prose when sailors rave about their boats to other sailors. Sure, Blue Alligator does that. Of course she does. But I don’t want to bore anyone, and after all, you have to have something to talk about when the voyage starts and the waves actually rear up in front of us. Then it’s time to cut.
The most important thing is probably the feeling I get when I’m on the road with Blue Alligator. And the kind of travelling it allows me to do. But that’s what the whole blog is about. So also about that later.