The Boat as an Idea

Do you know someone who has a boat but never goes sailing? Tell us about it!

December 1, 2011

Jim Carrier and Ranger

Jim Carrier with his boat, Ranger, in the background

This post on the CW forums is from Jim Carrier, and he would like some input for a story that he is working on:

Hi – Jim Carrier here, a contributing editor at CW. I’m working on an essay for the May issue and thought you might have an anecdote or thought that would spice the stew:

The piece is about boats as “ideas,” that is, their value above and beyond the actual sailing. I have gathered stories from Maine to Morocco about people who own sailboats but rarely use them. About people who never take them out of the harbor—or even storage. There’s a guy in New England who drives to the harbor, sits in his car and watches his boat on a mooring, day after day. There are plenty of people in Spain who use their boats as cocktail lounges only. There are boats all over the world that gather moss for years on end.


I’m the classic example, with a boat in the Med for a decade now, but precious little sailing time. (That will end in March 2012, when I bring her home on Dockwise.) Because of that sorry record, and perhaps justification for it, I’ve come to think of Ranger as an “idea” as much as a sailboat, a vessel in which I store dreams and memories, plan voyages that I will never take, and hold dear as an ultimate backup should another disaster strike our household, as it did in Katrina.
How much time do you actually spend sailing on your boat? Do you have stories of other mariners who own floating ideas?

Feel free to reply here, or email me directly at: [email protected].

I’ll assume I can use your story in the piece unless you indicate otherwise.


Jim Carrier,
Madison WI


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