# # The Wouldn't Boat Festival

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

The Wouldn’t Boat Festival

The Wouldn't Boat Festival

One of the small towns hereabouts holds an annual and well-attended celebration known as The Wooden Boat Festival.

Hundreds of people come from all over the world to indulge in and share their love for this archaic, pleasure craft passion. Milling about, they ooh and ahh over lacquered hulls, canvas sheets, coils of hemp, and brass fittings, imagining themselves transported over the waves as if in some fantastic dream …

Man, what the hell is it about boating?

As a kid, I went out on my Uncle Gerald’s bass fishing boat and got a real kick out of the whole affair: the bouncing on the waves, the wind, the sheer novelty of it … but I was a stupid kid. Of course I liked it. I also used to like spending hours in front of the tv and playing with little cars on the carpet.

I do have to admit that I have enjoyed canoeing and rather suspect I might like kayaking as well, though I have never done the latter – but the difference is, in this you are actively pursuing your own locomotion and usually for an immediate goal: I’m gwine go from this side a-lake t’that’n; I’m gwine catch me sum fish; I’m gwine sneak up on the girls camp all stealthy like an’ see me some unsuspecting tush; that kind of thing. Goals, exercise or even – Dagmar, help me – peaceful relaxation: paddling that little, one person vessel out into the middle of some mist-shrouded mountain lake and listening to the world around you. I can dig it.

Then there are the regattas. I’m not much into that kind of thing either but I get it, you know? Teams competing (if we’re talking sailboats, of course) against not just each other but also the elements, the designs, the art of timing, the skill of their captain. Yeah, I get that. Not for me, but I get it.

And perhaps that’s the difference. Perhaps that’s why I don’t understand the attraction for this “pleasure” boating, this fascination with the hulking, dripping, creaking, reeking, ever needing maintenance, holes in the water they dump their money in: it seems to me it’s all so much the trappings, the status, the upper-crust socialization of it all – or just the dream of it. This would also explain why so many people hold the opposite opinion as I when it comes to boating. They *do* want to own and care for all that gold-standard, cigar-chewing, single-malt swilling, status-heavy shit. They *do* want to rub elbows and guffaw knowingly at each other over expensive wool pull-overs, tables of teak, and rolls of charts rendered irrelevant by their onboard, touch-screen,  satellite guided GPS systems.

That or they’re gawd-awful aquatic luddites. *shudder*

The Wouldn't Boat Festival

My parents had a mini-yacht for a while there. Some 49 foot-long, power-boat thing they continually dumped money into and scrubbed at so it wouldn’t look as if it had ever actually touched sea water. Every once in a while they’d twist my arm to come along for a one or two day trip and, gawd bless them, it was about as dull a thing as I could stand. Cramped, rocking, pointless.

I mean, the view is pleasant, the company is fine, the fact that we’re on a boat in the ocean lends some novelty for a landlubber like myself – but that only covers a couple of hours for me, maybe four or so if there’s booze of some kind on board. Otherwise, you’re soon reduced to realizing that you’re trapped: surrounded by deep water in a craft that you can’t even work up a good jog on and that really isn’t all that safe when you get right down to it: one good storm or unlooked for object in the water, fer chrissakes, and down you go … but then, at least *that* would be exciting. At least that’d be novel. Once you get past the salt-encrusted romance of it all, that’s what it boils down to: confining yourself to an unstable, crawling box for potentially days on end. Jeezis: count me out.

For those who haven’t experienced the sheer hell of being on the water for real length of time in one of these things, think of it as piling aboard an RV that only goes 13 miles an hour – top speed! – and, once you’ve pulled away from the curb, even if it stops, you can’t get off without donning a special suit and risking being eaten alive, drowning or, up here in the Pacific Northwest, dying of hypothermia.

So this inescapable RV pulls away from the curb and it craaaaawls its way out into a big, sloppy parking lot and it slooooowly putts around, maybe aimlessly, maybe in a straight line (hell if you can tell) and, in the time you could have passed this silly vessel in a car maybe 50 to 100 times, by the time you’re pulling what’s left of your hair out in fist-fulls to beat the teeth-clenching boredom of it all, this lumbering, nausea inducing, swaying and dipping RV reaches another curb where you can, thankfully, hopefully, please dammit, let me get off and, if you’re smart, take a car or plane or even friggin’ *walk*  back to your point of origin.

The Wouldn't Boat FestivalBut if you don’t reach that curb, if, gawd-forbid, your captain only parks you somewhere out in the middle of that great, grey nowhere to slosh around for awhile, your only entertainment is to look out the windows and wait for this heinously outmoded and ridiculously irrelevant vehicle to meander like some wounded hippo back to land and let you the hell off.

Now, I fully understand I am pretty much alone in these feelings. I know that, for most, there is some kind of brain-damaged wonder that comes over you when you see or are set adrift in one of these death-by-dullness traps, a feeling that, wowzers, you sure are going back in time and stuff and, my, aint it kind of an adventure? Aint it manly? Aint it mighty peaceful? Aint it just so human to want to capture the wind or set your whirling pinwheel down into the waves and watch it nudge you around the briny blue at crawling-like-a-baby speed?

For me, adventures aren’t peaceful, peace isn’t adventurous, and pleasure boating is neither. Pleasure boating is practiced, intentional tedium for people with too much money and nothing better to do. Screw below or sail above, you can keep it. I see the throngs at the Wooden Boat Festival drooling over the arrayed craft, lining up and jostling each other for a chance to board, peer, and fantasize about owning or setting sail in one of the craft and I toy with starting my own celebration: The Wouldn’t Boat Festival.

The Wouldn't Boat Festival

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