Windshifts: Feeling Guilty? - Sail Magazine

Windshifts: Feeling Guilty?

We’ve all heard the old adage, “the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.”
Author:
Publish date:

We’ve all heard the old adage, “the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.” Sounds straightforward enough, but there’s another side to “selling day” that you may not have thought about.

SAILBOAT-GUILT

The old saw implies that by selling your boat you escape the expenses that go with ownership. No more slip fees, winter storage fees, maintenance and upgrading costs, insurance costs, not to mention the time you invest in prepping your boat for another season. If financial concerns are your sole motivation for selling, then the day you sell your boat would indeed be a happy one. But I’m guessing they’re not. I’m guessing that guilt, and the avoidance of it, is a bigger reason.

When we buy our sailboats, many of us justify the sizeable purchase by convincing ourselves that we’ll be spending every free moment aboard. Many of us spend hours comparing the cost of boat ownership with weekends at the beach or a cabin in the mountains or country club memberships for the next decade and decide that by spending every in-season weekend, holiday and vacation day on the boat, we’ll be getting a bargain.

When we make those computations we fully intend for the boat to occupy our every leisure moment, but intentions don’t always become realities. Little League baseball games, Sunday visits with the in-laws, charity golf tournaments with the boss, that early season Ravens-Steelers game, etc., have a tendency to weave their way into the fabric of our everyday lives. It’s not that we love sailing any less. It’s just that life presents so many demands on our “free” time.

So the end result is that many of us start to feel guilty. “We’re not using the boat as much as we should,” we think. “It’s just sitting there in the slip on this beautiful weekend. We should be out there sailing!” Sadly, for many of us, our boat becomes a source of anxiety rather than the source of joy it once was.

[advertisement]

Even though the annual costs may be easily manageable, we start thinking that our reduced usage doesn’t justify the cost, so we do one of two things. We either consider selling the boat that we love, or we make up our minds to use it more often, regardless of whatever else might be happening in our lives. Either way, we’re trying to rid ourselves of that gnawing feeling in our gut everytime we spend a sunny, breezy weekend ashore.

That said, though, who determines how often we should be using our boats? Our sailing friends? Our banker? Our neighbors? Nowhere is it written that to justify boat ownership, we have to be aboard every weekend. These are self-imposed standards, and as our lives change, so should our expectations.

The question comes down to quality versus quantity. Is sailing your boat still fun? Do you still love the feel of the tiller or wheel in your hand as she moves to windward? Would you miss that feeling? If so, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re sailing every single or every fourth weekend. In fact, many of those who force themselves to go down to their boats every weekend out of guilt and obligation, might enjoy them more if they skipped a weekend once in a while.

It’s naive to assume that our boats should be our sole source of recreation. We all have other interests, and boat ownership shouldn’t keep us from enjoying those too. Allowing that to happen can only end in resentment and resentment often leads to “the saddest day in a boat owner’s life.” Stop feeling guilty. Enjoy your sailboat as frequently—or infrequently—as you choose.

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more