In Monday’s Irish Times (10/08/15) Tim O’Brien broke the final taboo in print journalism to say what we in the recreational sailing community have been saying for decades, boats are terrible. O’Brien righteously pillories common nautical bugbears such as the tranquility, the freedom, the relative affluence implied by boat ownership, and the rigours of spending time with your loved ones on the water. There are so many other things that are terrible about boats though so I’ve come up with another ten reasons why boats are the absolute worst. Don’t @ me.
1. Port & Starboard
Like, hello? It’s 2015, we have these things called Left and Right now. Here’s a secret for you, us nautical types (or Nauties as we call ourselves) stopped using Port and Starboard sometime in the mid-eighties after Charlie Haughey declared them to be “more of a Fine Gael method of telling left from right”. What even is a starboard anyway? You don’t know do you?
2. Cabin Goblins
Open a boat catalogue. I know you have one lying around, we all do. Flip to any advert and look at the pictures of boats. Now read the description of the boat’s features. does it mention cabin goblins anywhere? Of course not! They save that little surprise until after your cheque clears. My cabin goblin is called Fqiqurgrle and he’s a pest. Always asking to be fed or to use the toilet or to “let me go home, why are you keeping me here, I have a family, I’m an accountant. Please stop calling me a goblin.” but that’s cabin goblins for you, always trying to trick you. Bane of the boat-owner’s existence.
3. The Hats
Sailor’s hats are mank. But you can be shot on sight by the coast guard if you’re caught captaining a vessel without the appropriate headgear so keep that ugly, white hat on your head at all times.
4. The Smell
Boats smell of Domino’s boxes, sheets you keep forgetting to bring back to land to get cleaned, and mildew. All boats. Every single one. And don’t get me started on the smell of the sea. What kind of maniac enjoys the smell of the sea? It smells like slightly salty water and fresh air and opportunity. No thank you.
5. No Girls Allowed
Did you know that girls (or women, I asked) aren’t allowed on boats? I didn’t either but the very first time I went on a boat with dear Papa, he took me aside and said “Now champ, girls are evil and weak and not to be trusted. If we allowed them on boats who knows what havoc they’d wreak”. Now that I see it written down it seems sexist and untrue but you know how impressionable kids are at that age. I’d ask my father to clarify his opinion but he set fire to himself outside the Four Courts in 1973 to protest women being allowed to keep their civil service jobs after marriage.
Poseidon is a prick. Always turning up in jeans and a T-shirt on regatta days, all like “aw lads, I forgot my boat, can I hang out in one of yours? I’m Poseidon, god of the sea, I’ll guarantee you safe passage through my aquatic domain.” And then he eats all your cheese and good luck holding on to any red wine you might have stored away for a special occasion. Wanker.
Like Poseidon but Italian. Now, I’ve got nothing against Italians but Neptune is very Italian if you know what I mean.
8. Other Boats
Sailing a boat is pretty easy, the sea doesn’t have white lines or hard shoulders. If you go in a straight line for long enough then you’ll arrive somewhere. What makes it hard is other boats. They think they’re so great but what they don’t know is that I’m the only good boat owner, they’re all just pretenders especially Terry Lehane, with his big white boat, taking up all the space in the ocean, telling everyone about the time I sailed the wrong way up the Shannon and ended up beached halfway up a mountain. Fuck you Terry. Fuck. You.
9. Sea Shanties
Sea Shanties are terrible. If you like sea shanties then we can’t be friends. Land shanties (or songs) are far superior to sea shanties. Mountain shanties (yodels) are also preferable. Air shanties (the Ryanair landing fanfare) are probably the worst but sea shanties are a close second in awfulness.
My boat doesn’t have WiFi. I don’t know if that’s common to all boats but it’s the thing I hate the most about mine.
To paraphrase the classic Slipknot song: Boats = Shit.
images via mikes-steam-engines.co.uk, Erik Von Lehmann, and projectaware.org