Saturday, July 21, 2007

Our First Boating Mistake

If you're reading our other blog, Great Lakes Cruising, you may get the idea that, although we're a bit inexperienced, we still sort of know what we're doing.

Don't let us fool you.

We've found that, no matter how much reading, studying, discussing, preparing, etc. we do, there's really no substitute for experience. And for us, experience means "screw it up a time or two before getting it right".

So when we say things like "We bought and outfitted a dinghy", there's a long sequence of goof-ups between purchase and proficiency. In fact, I'll be posting about that dinghy soon.

But our first mistake? Why, it was buying a boat this size and age in the first place. Now don't get me wrong . . . we love this boat. But despite years of reading about boats, going to boat shows, boat yards and marinas to look at different ones, and untold hours studying magazine articles and books that describe "How to buy a boat", when I look back on it, we knew virtually nothing. We certainly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into as far as how much effort it takes to maintain something this size and age.

But what we did know was that this was a lifestyle we wanted to experience. And Meridian fit the bill for that.

It wasn't until after we purchased her that we realized just how BIG and just how COMPLEX this boat really was. Here, take a look at this picture to get an idea of the size . . . that's a real adult person hopping aboard - after climbing the steps on the dock. And a couple of people who hadn't operated anything more complicated than a canoe were going to be the new owners? Are they NUTS???!!!

But looking back on it, I believe this was a mistake that we had to make. We wanted a boat this size, we liked this style, and there was really no other way for us to get that experience. So we jumped in with both feet, and have been bungling our way through maintenance, repairs, upgrades, operating experience and handling, and pretty much everything else related to the boat for over four years now. And I do mean "bungling".

So now we've finally reached the point where we're ready to graduate to a whole new level of ineptness . . . cruising around Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. So while Great Lakes Cruising will (hopefully) be full of beautiful photographs of lake scenery and glowing descriptions of the various towns and markets along the way, The Inept Boater will tell you the real story behind those adventures!

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