According to a University of California study, dogs really do resemble their owners… not a big surprise, right?  What I would find interesting is a study on the resemblance of boats to their owners. Of course, it was a mere matter of time before the subject of BOAT surfaced in this blog. Messing about in boats (ah yes, I own a few), reading maritime accounts or simply thinking about boating can transport me into a nautical trance unrivaled by the fugue state induced by opiates.

Of my fleet, the boat currently favored is Pyxis, a small trawler berthed at Port St. Joe Marina. I always look forward to time spent on Pyxis and especially enjoy getting together with other boaters with whom I have shaped friendships.

Pyxis, a proper little yacht

Pyxis, a proper little yacht

On a recent trip to the marina, it was my pleasure to meet a few “Loopers”– boaters who circumnavigate the eastern United States via the Great Loop, a continuous waterway that encompasses the eastern portion of North America – including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. It was during this recent marina visit that I began to notice the resemblance of people to the boats they own.

Have you ever met someone for the first time and experienced a spontaneous affinity for that person? I don’t know if the feeling of fondness was mutual, but I felt an immediate harmony with Leslie. She and her husband Greg are cruising the Great Loop, had laid over at Port St. Joe Marina and joined some of the Port St. Joe Yacht Club members for an early evening cookout. After dinner, I happily accepted the invitation to come aboard the Amalia – their steel-hulled trawler.

Amalia, cruising the Great Loop

Amalia, cruising the Great Loop

Just like her owners, the Amalia is special. Built in the ’60’s, the yacht has great lines. She is sturdy, strong and dependable– as Leslie and Greg also appeared to be. Boarding the Amalia mirrored the delight of meeting Leslie. The pleasant pilot house with its 360-degree views is made comfortable by eye-pleasing, air-purifying live plants, beautiful lace curtains, abundant cushions and Leslie’s hand-painted frieze on the bulkhead near the ceiling. 

Entering the living quarters of the Amalia through a ladder companionway is a bit like coming home. Family photos, a wood-burning fireplace, large stainless steel cooktop and oven, comfortable beds and a cozy dinette only begin to describe the many features of this intimate friendly environment, which like her owners is altogether stylish, graceful, authentic and unpretentious. Hard-pressed to decide, I would have to say that the wood floor, painted bright lipstick red, was perhaps my favorite feature of the salon and measured up to my impression of Leslie’s resourceful, cheery nature.

As I thought about Leslie and Greg and the Amalia, I began to see similarities between a few of my fellow yacht club members and their boats. Matt’s classic Chris Craft sailboat – which he single-handedly sailed from the Florida Panhandle to Key West – personifies his strength of character and spirit. Jim and Jayne’s beautiful, pristine sailboat with its “always open” galley reminds me of their good judgement and open hospitality.

Henry and Mary keep busy working to improve their sailer, the realization of their pluck and enthusiasm. Dave and Margo’s good nature and generosity are as big as Plane to Sea, their large and lavish yacht; and the open spacious environment of the PatsyRay – a beautifully appointed Island Gypsy trawler – epitomizes this couple’s unselfishness and readiness to go the extra mile.

So, what of the similarity between Pyxis and her owner, yours truly? Well, dear reader, Pyxis is:

  • not long (short)
  • not usually tidy (messy)
  • not slow nor fast (half-fast)
  • salty (piquant)
  • accommodating (adaptable to small spaces)
  • well-found (dependable – most of the time).

Until the next post…  wishing you calm seas and fair winds.