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.

16 people are having a conversation about “Math-man-ship

  1. I really enjoy fishing with my uncle from his canoe in the bays along the south shore of the Cape. One of these days, though, I am going fishing with you and Kevin. The boat-bait gets more tempting every year.

  2. This is one of the wittiest posts I have read in a long time. Absolutely brilliant. “Don’t worry, we also have collision avoidance” Tee Hee.

    I failed my Maths A level in UK, twice. I rather wish you had been my Maths teacher, I would have laughed all the way to university.

    I would like to buy everything on offer. Sadly, there is no way I can get the stuff to Angola (the country in Africa, not Louisiana State Penitentiary).

  3. Amanda, Paula, and Tom — Thanks for the kind words. And, Tom, all the way from Africa! On the one hand, I love the idea that somoeone so far away is reading. On the other hand, I wish you were next door so I could sell all that stuff in one fell swoop.

    Tovar — We certainly hope to take you and your uncle out when you’re here next. Let’s hope the stripers are running.

    Mary Lee — Kevin and I are both down about a third of our goal, but we bought the boat anyway because it was available. If he doesn’t lose his full 21, we’ll just have to sell it again!

  4. Mary Lee/Tamar,

    Clearly your skills in the arena of mathematics are suspect!

    The combined weight of the new truck and boat is 10,968 lbs

    The combined weight of the two boats and the Land Rover is 7,355 lbs

    divide 10,968 by 3 =3,656 (losing 3 items and adding only 2)

    divide 7,355 by 2 =3,677.5 (adding 2 items and losing 3)

    As you can see! a loss of exactly 21.5 lbs!
    It’s simple Math.

    • Oh Husband Mine, it’s clear that I can’t possibly win our bet, because there’s no way I can lose all the weight of the burden of having a mathematical genius for a husband.

  5. So this makes the fish you catch cost how much per pound? Sounds like you’re heading for the 64 dollar tomato!

  6. Kevin,

    as I already confessed, I am mathematically incompetent. I was with you up to and including the combined weight of the two boats and landrover, after that I felt the way I did in class all those years ago. Bewildered. Please send me your Curriculum Vitae so I can put it into the folder in Human Resources marked, ‘NEVER employ as company accountant’. I have this feeling that in no time I would be the one driving around in the Korean compact and you would be in the company limo. Mind you, I can see merit in hiring you as a consultant to do the company tax returns.


    I shall overlook the obvious implication that youi only want me as a neighbour so you can sell your chattels. I, on the other hand, would love to be your neighbour and buy all that excess kit in the hope I ingratiated myself with you enough to secure an invitation to dinner.

    You should also not forget that it was a man who proved mathematically that all women are evil by pointing out that women equal time x money, also that time IS money, therefore women equal money squared and that the root of all evil is money, therefore women = evil.

    Having been divorced twice and unsuccesfully presenting this theorum as defence when it came to the division of spoils, I am not sure it holds water.

  7. Sharyn — We stopped amortizing the cost of the boat a long time ago. If you do, your fish is just prohibitively expensive. But the experience of lazing around Nantucket Sound on a sunny day with your husband, catching bluefish? Priceless.

    Tom — Despite the fact that you have Kevin’s number (or perhaps because of it), you officially have a standing dinner invitation. This, despite the fact that your opinion of women isn’t what it might be. You make up for it with good humor and really cool African animals.

    Bill — That is PRICELESS. Kevin says it’s accurate down to the accent. Thanks for posting it.

  8. Kevin,
    I am impressed with your “magic math” skills! How about working on the national debt?
    I loved the video. I am so glad Bill thought of it.

    Please post pictures of the new addition from Chicago as well as more pictures of the boat. A cuddy cabin, a head and enough rod holders….sounds like you are ready to go!

  9. Bill, that video was ace!

    Tamar, thankyou for the standing invite. So, if at some time in the future you see a rather emaciated and scruffy individual at your door, It’ll be me having stowed away on a tramp steamer across the Atlantic and then hitch hiked the rest of the way. Just hose me down in the yard and then please feed me.

    Regarding my attitude to women, Tamar, I adore them. That has always been my problem…

  10. I agree, lazing around in a boat all day is priceless.
    I used to have an airplane so I’m not one to judge things by practicality!

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