When we lay-up the boat up for the winter, the captain goes on the blocks as well. Aside from convincing him it’s time to haul the boat, nursing the captain though the winter is one of the toughest challenges we women face. It’s like trying to distract a little kid whose toys were put away. It’s sad to see this man who’s spent the summer roaring like a proud lion behind the helm reduced to a pussycat.
Off-season, he’s no longer conquering the sea; he’s controlling the TV remote. Instead of hosing down the boat after a sail, he’s in the basement, reorganizing mounds and mounds of boating gear. Paint the kitchen? No time. There’s all that teak brought home from the boat that needs sanding and at least five coats of varnish. It’s a trial to get him out for a Saturday afternoon visit with relatives; yet, if West Marine is having a sale, he’ll drive through a snowstorm to get there.
When he’s not hogging the TV, he’s vicariously boating. The house is strewn with all manner of boating literature--magazines, catalogs, and boat brochures. Boat brochures? Don’t tell me he’s thinking of buying a new boat? We’ll spend the winter traipsing through dealer showrooms and travelling to winter boat shows. We’ll compare prices and features and ooh and ah about boats we neither need nor can afford; only to reach the foregone conclusion that we’ll stick with the boat we have for another couple of years.
Many of us have been dying to tour Europe, see Hawaii, Alaska; but, somehow, we can’t seem to find the time. We’re much too busy planning a boat charter in the islands. How did the criteria for a vacation become water and a boat?
We women may grouse about how boating has taken over our lives, but, admittedly, we love it, too--only not as fervently as the captain does. We also love our children, our grandchildren, our homes, and our backyards--if we can remember what each looks like.
Boating is great fun, but it’s certainly not our only pleasure. At the end of October, while our captain is crying the salt-water blues, we women are secretly heaving a sigh of relief. We can breathe easy for the first time in almost six months. Gone is the pressure to squeeze seven days of home chores and activities into three or four midweek days. Now, we can pick up a brush and complete that oil painting, join a gym, or enroll in a class. The weekends are free to spend as we please--to reconnect with non-boating friends, take day trips, or shop.
But there he is, our captain, sulking in his favorite chair on a Saturday or Sunday morning, still in his bathrobe. He can’t seem to get motivated and it’s pointless to even get dressed. We worry; we sigh; and then finally give in. “Let’s take a ride over to the marina to check on the boat.”
Our man is smiling now. He bolts out of that chair and, in what seems like an instant, is sitting in the car revving the engine, fully dressed and sporting his boating cap and sunglasses. There’s no time to waste. He’s going “sailing.”