Sunday, August 14, 2011

Awesome, Yet Stupid: The Boat

Scott and I own a ski boat. Do not bring your fishing pole. There will be no fishing. It's not fancy, but it's nice. It seats 10, has a tower and a shade bimini and the guy we bought it from was meticulous and kept it well maintained. We both wakeboard and the kids tube. Good times! Cool, right? Yes, except for that owning a boat is a pain in the ass. When we bought it we were told that we were experiencing the 2nd happiest day in a boat owners life. The first happiest would be the day we sold it. 
Me wakeboarding last summer. I wish I could show you a picture of me doing a 360 (on the water, not in the air- ha!), but I swallowed half the lake on all my attempts. I'm proud to get up on the damn thing and hang on, also I can go over the wake and back. 
The previous owner's pic from when we bought it. I'm pretty it hasn't been that clean while we've owned it.
As a kid my boating experience was limited to summer vacations at the family lake cabin. Upon arrival we would get the boat out of the boat house and tie it to the dock where it would remain for the duration of the vacation. If the water was good and someone wanted to ski or tube we would just hop in and go. I had no idea how spoiled I was. Too easy! 

We don't live on a body of water so every time we use the boat we pack it with food, drinks, toys and people and make a day of it. While we are out on the water it's fantastic. The prep, pack, launch, retrieval, clean-up and unpack suck! The launching and retrieval can prove particularly stressful. If you are ever in need of some free entertainment, go hang out at a boat ramp. There's yelling, falling in the water, boats crashing into each other and the dock and did I mention the yelling?!?

Scott and I almost never yell at each other. However, if you come boating with us, I can guarantee yelling. We always warn our guests. The boat ramp is a stressful place! There's a lot to remember. Are the straps off? Is the plug in? Is the trim up? Is there room to maneuver around the other boats? He always drives the tow vehicle and I always drive the boat off and on the trailer. I'm a pretty good boat driver particularly if there aren't very many other boats to worry about. I get all jinky if there are numerous boats to maneuver around though. Scott will drop the trailer into the water and expect me to be able to drive around the other boats as if I'm in a car. Driving a boat is not as exact as a car. Trust me on this one. This is where the yelling happens. He will have backed the trailer into the water and be standing there waving me in from out on the water and I'll be waving and yelling about how there's not enough room to get to the trailer. He starts yelling and keeps trying to wave me in and then I wave him off and refuse to drive over there until enough boats clear out. There's more yelling when navigating the boat on or off the trailer: 

Scott: "Slow down! Speed up! Put the trim up!" 

Me: "I am! I did! Next time you drive the fucking boat!"

Good times! The boat ramp yelling is just part of the experience of the day. We get over it in about 5 seconds. 

We also have a slight tow vehicle issue. We have 2 vehicles. Vehicle #1 pulls the boat beautifully around town and on the highway, but is front wheel drive and once acted like it was on a slip and slide at the boat ramp. It didn't actually go in the water, but we had to have the vehicle hooked to the trailer with the boat on it all towed off the ramp, by a guy with a giant 4wd truck. Completely mortifying with a long line of people waiting to launch their boat and wondering who the dumb ass is holding up the traffic. After that, Scott simply said "never again!" to that vehicle on the boat ramp. Vehicle #2 is 4wd and performs brilliantly on the boat ramp. However, it's on it's last legs and complains if it drives the boat down the road very far. Last year vehicle #2's complaining led to a tow truck and repair bill. The few times we took the boat out last year we would take both vehicles to the boat ramp. #1 would tow the boat to the launch parking lot and then #2 would get hooked up and used for launching and retrieval. #1 would drive it home. We bought vehicle #1 just 2 short months before we bought the boat. We choose to get the 2wd instead of AWD because we couldn't remember the last time we used the 4wd on vehicle #2 and the 2wd is more fuel efficient and cost less $. Had we had any idea we might be towing something, we would have gotten the AWD and we wouldn't be in this ridiculous situation. How it is that we went from not even considering towing anything to buying a 21ft boat in two months is a whole other story.

When vehicle #2 dies, Scott is getting the smallest most fuel efficient car he can talk himself into and we will be without a launch vehicle. Then we will have to go to marinas that will launch with a tractor for you or invite friends with 4wd and a hitch. 

Despite all this pain in the assedness and despite the fact that Scott and I agreed weeks ago that we wouldn't take the boat out this year, now I kinda want to. Wakeboarding is fun. Being on the water is a whole other world and feels far away from the city. There are a few good boating weekends left. I wonder if I can convince Scott? I think I'll wait to bring it up until we are half a bottle or more in with the wine tonight. Wish me luck.

Peace & Love :-)

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