Fun or No Fun
Looking out at the docks at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, I heaved a happy sigh of contentment. Like a good story or, really, any professional sport (I’m reminded of the major tournaments of professional golf), the boat show season has a beginning, a middle, and an end that becomes part of the rhythm of our annual lives. If my assessment is true, then Palm Beach marks the end of our majors, and what a ride this season has been, with so many new-boat launches, a bit of consumer confidence to spice things up, and smart boaters figuring out how to make the sport work in their favor yet again.
Meanwhile the folks at Hinckley have pivoted a bit from the typical Down East profile to debut an addition to the line of runabouts (they had a 29-footer). The T34R is a slick design, and in speaking to company owner David Howe, he pointed out the importance of “fun” in the equation. It’s a bit odd to me how rarely we use that term in boating. So often we focus on safety, or efficiency, or seakeeping. Features, maintenance, horsepower, the list goes on, but how often do we just say, “Dammit, it’s fun!” Not a small thing, particularly when one considers the vast amounts of attention we give that other stuff. Howe may have figured out why recruitment into the sport of boating is not so hot for people in my age bracket (mid 40s). We’re all so busy getting ahead, we forget about the fun.
Another shot was fired across my bow at the Palm Beach show, this time in a panel discussion that featured Steve Moynihan of HMY Yachts. Moynihan told what seemed would be a funny anecdote about one of his grown kids who was looking to buy a boat. He drew a chuckle from the audience when he said, “They know someone in the boat business.” And then he talked about what he learned when he heard about their experience. The word “intimidating” was used and it didn’t sound like it was an easy or pleasant experience. That’s a big problem for boating.
Have you ever been intimidated in boating? If so, I want to know the circumstances. Please reach out at email@example.com and let me know. There’s no room for that in this sport for anyone who wants to go boating. The more of us there are, the better the sport will be. And the last thing we should see is intimidation or bullying at any level.
What’s the fun in that?