Freedom – And some boats in which to achieve it. As I write this I’m overlooking the flat calm waters of Lough Swilly on a beautifully crisp autumnal morning.
Lough Swilly (or Lake of Shadows in Irish) is a glacial fjord nestled into the North West coast of Ireland. It is stunningly beautiful and it’s deep waters and natural shelter has attracted all sorts of mariners over millennia. It is steeped in history; surrounded by Stone Age forts, Iron Age monuments, Napoleonic fortifications and World War II detritus.
We are lucky enough to have a home on the shores of the Lough, and for me it’s a place of possibilities.
From the bottom of the garden, with the right boat under me, I can go anywhere in the world. Under my own steam and at my own pace.
I can sail out of the sheltered waters of the Swilly into the Atlantic Ocean, and onward across the globe, as countless mariners have done before me.
I get to make the rules. I’m responsible for my own safe passage, and no one else. I choose the harbors I call at. And I decide on the final destination, if there even is one!
The only one who really calls the shots at sea is Mother Nature, and that’s fine by me.
For me, that’s freedom.
But the beauty of boating is that it can be all things to all people.
So, if the idea of crossing seas doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can still have a ball fishing on a quiet lake, water-skiing on a sheltered bay, or doing just about anything on a boat.
There’s something about getting out on the water that just relaxes and refreshes like nothing else can.
And anyone can do it. Whatever way they damn well like!
I recently heard the idea of boating summed up quite nicely. It was on an episode of ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ – it’s a Netflix show made by Jerry Seinfeld; a favorite comedian of mine and an avid boater.
On the show Seinfeld was interviewing his guest (US comedian Jimmy Fallon) while tooling around in his old Land Rover Defender and launching his own boat, which is a 13 ft Boston Whaler that he dreamed of owning as a kid.
During the trip to the slipway, Fallon, inspired by Seinfeld’s enthusiasm, began to contemplate the merits of boat ownership.
Fallon: “This is very exciting for me.
You know, this might be the thing for me.
Is it hard to take care of a boat?”
Seinfeld: “Not a little boat like this.”
Fallon: “But do you have to have a license and things?”
It’s like a slide whistle. Anyone can buy one!”
The joy of boating.
In a world gone mad with rules, regulations and political correctness, a boat is one of the few things that has the potential to be genuinely life threatening that you can just walk in off the street, buy, and crack on with. No paperwork needed. No questions asked.
Granted, It may not be the wisest thing to just buy a boat, stick your nearest and dearest in it and head out across the Ocean with zero experience.
But as a boater you’re trusted to make that decision for yourself!
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P.S. Although I’m having a bit of fun here, if you’re planning to buy a boat and you have no experience, you should get all the proper training (even though you don’t have to!). Talk to me about it and I’ll steer you in the right direction.