Buying boats is like playing leapfrog. You buy a boat, and you have to buy a truck to pull it. You buy a truck and then, one day, it occurs to you that your truck could pull a bigger boat. You want a bigger boat – you always want a bigger boat – so you buy a bigger boat. You do a lot of towing of that bigger boat, and one low tide when you have trouble getting up a ramp you realize that a bigger truck could tow your bigger boat more safely and reliably. You buy a bigger truck. You’re happy for about seven seconds, or maybe a season, and then you figure out how lucky you are to have a truck than can tow an even bigger boat. Pretty soon you own a semi and the Queen Mary.
We’re not there yet, and Kevin’s been unsatisfied with the pace of our progress. So he dispensed with the whole leapfrog thing and went ahead and bought a boat and a truck.
The boat is a Steigercraft 23 Chesapeake, with an enclosed pilothouse and a cuddy cabin. At least I think that’s what it has – I’m still a little iffy on the terminology. Better I show you a picture.
The hull is from 1990, and has a recently re-fiberglassed deck and a new gas tank. The engine is a 2008 225-horse Evinrude E-tec. It’s s super-low-emissions two-stroke, the big brother to the 50-horse version we have on our oyster boat.
The best part is that it’s totally tricked out. It’s got super-groovy Raymarine radar and GPS, and outriggers on the roof that are controlled from inside the pilothouse. It’s got enough rod holders for a small village and – get this – autopilot.
I was a little worried about the autopilot when Kevin explained what it could do for us. “We can go out to Horseshoe Shoal and set it to go in circles over our favorite spot.” I immediately had visions of us, lazing in the sun, as our boat went on autocrash with another boat with the same favorite spot.
“Don’t worry,” Kevin said. “We also have collision avoidance.”
A 23-foot boat with a pilothouse and cabin is a lot more boat than our current 19-foot center console. It’s the biggest boat Kevin was comfortable trailering regularly, and he’s only comfortable trailering it with a big hairy truck. So he flew to Chicago, made a deal on a 2008 Ford F250 Super Duty diesel, and drove it home.
While he was gone, our friend Bob stopped by. Bob knew all about the boat; he went to see it with us to because we wanted it to get the Bob Seal of Approval. I told him Kevin was away, driving home in the big hairy truck we bought to pull it.
Bob scratched his head and took a pointed look around our property, densely populated with boats and trucks. “I see a lot of addition,” he said, “but not very much subtraction.”
That hit the nail on the head. When Kevin got home, we had a come-to-Jesus on the issue of subtraction. At first, Kevin contended that I was overreacting to addition. “Hey, at least it’s not multiplication,” were, I believe, his exact words. I told him that if he didn’t focus on some subtraction, we might be headed for a long division.
So we officially have for sale one 19-foot Eastern center console with a 70-horse Johnson, a 14-foot Carolina Skiff with a 25-horse Honda four-stroke, and a 1970 Series IIA Land Rover. No reasonable offer refused, since we’ll never have room for the Queen Mary at this rate.