Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sleeping like a baby

The rain had stopped. The city streets were covered in fallen leaves but the wind had dropped, so that by the time I reached the channel where Kuan Yin was moored, I was fairly confident that everything would be okay. The boatyard was closed and locked for the night but I was quite ready to climb along the steel fence along the waterfront to reach my boat if I had to.

Fortunately, that was not necessary. She was laying happily, as if asleep, with only a lazy movement from side to side as if to indicate a desire for company. I watched her for a while, counting the eight mooring lines I'd put out in the morning, to make sure none had chafed through. Then I departed, confident that no harm would come to her.

To write of Kuan Yin in this way seems perfectly natural as I write these words. Yet I'm also aware that to speak of a steel boat as being somehow "alive" is odd, if not slightly bizarre. All sailors tend to speak of their vessels like this. It's more than just convention. Boats do seem to have a personality. May it's only the outward projection of the sailor's innermost thoughts. I don't know. What I do know is that to think or speak of a boat with the same detachment as a toaster, for example, would be even more bizarre.

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