Between the Lines: All I Ask is a 100-Footer and Radar to Steer Her By

Tim Kelly
Tim Kelly

Now, here’s a possibility. MV Seawolf, a 193-foot former ocean-going tug built in the Netherlands and converted into a yacht on the island of Mallorca.

Five staterooms, that’s good. With a separate owner’s deck with a full beam cabin. Extensive refit in 2016, engines rebuilt to zero hours. Wow, an ice-strengthened hull with a 12,000 nautical miles cruising range. And it still looks like a commercial craft, well, somewhat. Definitely a plus.

Wouldn’t that look impressive pulling into Sag Harbor at sunset and berthing next to those puny “yachts?”

What’s this? “Not for sale or charter to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters.” That’s un-American, that’s what that is. Get a guy’s hopes up only to…

Fine. How’s about something a bit more modest. Like… this 94-footer. Four staterooms and a hot and cold shower on the swim platform. Nah. Nice lines, but way too white. Way too vanilla. Way too yacht-ish.

No, I didn’t hit the jackpot in Vegas, nor Powerball nor Mega Millions, nor the Irish Sweepstakes, for that matter. The above is merely a product of the firing synapses connecting the neighboring wishful thinking and imagination-without-experience blocks somewhere the grey matter inside me head.

These scenes played out on a warm spring day in the outpatient surgery waiting room at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. The wait for the The Mrs., who underwent a major orthopedic procedure. She’s healing well, but has yet to clear the painful obstacle of physical therapy on her long path to recovery, poor woman.

Like most medical waiting rooms, it was slim pickins’ as far as reading material goes. Of course I could have brought a book! You think I didn’t think of that? I did… after I was already there.

You can only play solitaire on an iPhone for so long before your eyes glaze over. Once in a timed game I hit 15,000 points and… Right, who cares?

Anyway, that left just the periodicals on the large square tables. Don’t know about you, but I find week’s old copies of “Time” possess a limited appeal. Oh, look! Trump did/said something patriotic or psychotic, depending on your politics, and the Democratic response was insightful or frightful, again based on the right-left paradigm.

Good grief.

Ah, but lookie what we got here! Big, glossy yachting magazines! Now we’re talkin. Can’t remember their names, like it matters. Could have been “One-Percenters Afloat” or “Eat My Wake, Working Stiffs.” Either is apropos.

Still, I couldn’t get enough of ‘em, especially the “for sale” sections toward the back.

Ah, now this is nice, an 80-foot trawler design. Ok, nice bridge and salon, cabins looks comfortable enough, twin diesels in an engine compartment clean and shiny as an operating room. Bow thrusters, check. Water maker, check. One owner, good.

Asking price… Sister Mary Margaret! Are you kidding? They got some nerve, considering the vessel is six years old. Knock 20 percent off then we’ll talk, maybe.

After steaming through those magazines rather quickly – Can’t say I give a damn about the designer of the latest 150-foot Italian model. Those yachts all look the same to me – the search continued on YouTube, with the sound off, where the MV Seawolf first made a splash.

Made a splash? Get it? Yeah, OK. Same to you too.

As you may recall, last month when I waxed romantic about fishing. Well, the thing is, I feel pretty much the same way about boats, only in this case, my love is pure and chaste from afar.

Yes, that line’s swiped from “The Impossible Dream” in the musical “Man of La Mancha.” So sue me. Wait, wait, that’s just an expression. Put the phone down.

It is appropriate, however, given that my desire for a watercraft of substance is pretty much tilting at windmills.

The house of my youth was on a creek leading out to Moriches Bay, with Moriches Inlet separating the pristine beaches of the Fire Island National Seashore from the gaudy “look at me!” summer palaces along Dune Road, Westhampton.

And while I’ve owned two boats and a 9.9 hp outboard, never possessed a boat and a motor at the same time. Ironic? Nah. Sad’s more like it.

Especially since two docks down a local urologist kept a huuuuuge sportfisherman named, aptly enough, “Consultation.” Rub it in, whydoncha?

My old, yellow 12-foot wooden boat previously belonged to brother-in-law Gary, who got it from me back after it sat, high and dry in Ma Kelly’s backyard, for several seasons.

Years later, I acquired a 14-foot Fiberglas runabout from a co-worker, but ended up giving that to me father-in-law, a bayman by trade.

The outboard? Sold that on eBay to help pay for me bagpipes, which ain’t cheap, by the way.

All of which means my time on the water almost always involved OPB. That’s right, other people’s boats, the most cost-effective and least stressful option. I know, I know, the two happiest days in a man’s life are, first, when he buys a boat and, second, when he sells the boat.

All that aside, I still want to stand at the helm on my own flybridge, wind whipping past on a path to the foam in the wake. Now bring me that horizon!

Ok, that was Captain Jack Sparrow, but I understand what he meant. What I don’t get is the heavy use of eyeliner and big leather hat in the Caribbean heat. Whatever.

Fortune shone upon me in me youth as one of the members of the neighborhood gang of Kelly, Kelly, Osborne, Nally and Cook – sounds like a Bronx law firm, doesn’t it? – often spent weekends on his folks’ 32-foot Chris Craft “cabin cruiser” at Great Gun Beach, part of the F.I. National Seashore and accessible only by boat or four-wheel-drive.

From time to time, brother Dennis and I would tag along, leaving their dock Friday afternoon and returning Sunday p.m.

What bliss to rock gently to sleep, water lapping against the hull. Hamburgers for breakfast! With a nude white porcelain supine lady providing the salt and pepper shakers, if you know what I mean. Never before used so much salt and pepper.

While we worked on our sunburns, the parents had cocktails at the stern, all weekend long.

At the time we considered them idiots, but now realize they discovered the secret to kid-less, peaceful bliss.

That’s all in the past. The Mrs. and me are empty-nesters now with both kids living out of state, so the rationale for, and the means and opportunity of, acquiring a vessel with bow thrusters or a water maker are remote, to say the least.

Still…

Look at this! A Nordhavn 40, the maker’s entry-level model. Spacious main cabin, washer and dryer, single fuel-efficient diesel. And it comes with a wing engine, which can make 4.5 knots, providing back-up propulsion if the main engine conks out.

Nice!

What, Honey? No, I didn’t say anything. Just playin’ solitaire, and got excited about scoring…

Boats? Now why would I be looking at boats? Gawd! You make it sound like I’m surfing for porn. Not that I’d ever…

Hey, are the Yankees playing tonight?


Tim Kelly is a former congressional press secretary and award-winning reporter, editor, columnist, and photographer. He has lived on the North Fork for 30 years. For his mid-life crisis, he became a bagpiper.

East End Beacon

The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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