Yacht Parade

By , June 22, 2010

Sometimes during the summer months our waters seem to be filled with boats. More interesting, if rarer, than the big cruise ships we see so often, or the local fishing boats, are the luxury yachts.

de Vrouw Christina in Portage Cove, Haines Alaska 2008 (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Each summer we see plenty of fancy boats going up and down Lynn Canal, including a few world class yachts with helicopters (with fitted covers!) and more on deck, and smaller private pleasure craft with simple lines that disguise their true luxury.

We’ve found that if we can read a boat’s name, an Internet search often pulls up a Web site that shows the boat off to great advantage. Many of these vessels have more square footage than our homestead, including the cabin and all the outbuildings combined! Their amenities make a five-star hotelroom look like a hovel.

My favorite so far came through in 2008. I was out fishing on the rocks one day when I saw a boat coming north. It appeared to be a type of Dutch sailing vessel called a tjalk, with leeboards instead of a center keel. Assuming I merely saw what I wanted to see, I ran and got a pair of binoculars. Sure enough, it was a leeboard sailboat (kind of) like mine! Pity, but it motored up the fjord instead of sailing.

Later that day when we went to town, we passed the boat harbor, and saw the boat moored at the dock. I went down to look her over, and ended up chatting for awhile with the captain. She was de Vrouw Christina. Like many yachts of a certain opulence, the captain and crew (in this case, the captain’s wife) had sailed her to Alaska on orders. The owner may or may not fly in to join them there. They might be ordered to some other place next to await the owner’s pleasure. I’d always suspected that would be a good life, sailing to exotic locales on a gorgeous yacht, just in case the boss might decide to drop in . . . . It’s certainly a different lifestyle than ours.

I can’t help but envy these nice boats as they pass, but I wonder if maybe they don’t catch sight of our homestead, and envy us?

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