Saturday, November 10, 2007

To Buy, or Not To Buy.

Nope. I'm not buying it. At least not right now.

The Laser, I mean.

The one that's sitting on a rack at the club not getting used at all by one of the two guys who bought it a couple of years ago. The other guy uses it a bit, but I ran into the guy who doesn't use it (he's taken up whitewater kayaking, since his retirement spends much of each summer out of the city, and with his wife's imminent retirement is looking forward to a lot more travel with her - like me, he'd taken the sailing committee's sailing class a couple of years ago & really enjoyed it, enough to go in with another club member on a Laser with a few nice bells & whistles - but it just never worked out that he had time) right when I was all bubbly & giddy after my own reasonably succesful first time in a Laser & mentioned that he might consider selling his share.

I have to say it was ever so slightly tempting. More than the various kayaks-for-sale ads that people send me. My toys & entertainment budget is only so high, so I have to know for sure that buying something is for SURE going to increase my enjoyment of my paddling by a level appropriate to the expense. Right now, I have a sea kayak that's not the fastest in the world, and also a bit on the heavy side - but in every other way a boat I truly love paddling. I also have an old, old surfski that's great on a summer evening where I just want to get out & paddle fast & not be stuck in a cockpit. The missing boat is a fast sea kayak, which I used to have in the form of a Seda Glider - I liked having that but the fact is that I get along fine without it. Getting a replacement for the Glider would be nice - but "nice" isn't enough for me to have much interest in spending a sum that would almost surely be approaching or past $2K. Only way I really see getting a fast sea kayak (assuming that I continue to not win the lottery, which is highly probable since I don't buy tickets) would involve the Romany getting stolen (I'd bawl) or damaged irreparably (which is tough with a glass boat, you can repair a LOT).

But buying a share in a sailboat I can sail myself?

Well, that was a little more tempting. That would be not just a boat that was basically the same as one I already have, just a little better for covering the miles. No, this would be a different kind of boat entirely.

And the boat is THERE. That's pretty huge when you're a person without a car. In fact part of the reason I bought the Glider as my first boat was because it was there - there was more to that, though, I was actually about at the same skill level as a kayaker at that point as I am as a dinghy sailor now, and again ideally I would've held off (the Glider was a bit challenging for my skill level then), but I'd had my first round of having kayaking abruptly taken away from me & I thought of buying a boat as the best way of getting my own "keys to the river" instead of relying on somebody else as completely as I had my first year.

Anyhow - between the boat being there, and the price being within reason, I did have to think about it. The fact is, though, that financial issues aside, I'm just not ready to buy a Laser. Even half a Laser. In fact I'm not ready to buy a dinghy, period.

Because quite simply, I wouldn't know which kind to buy. I'm up against the conundrum of the first year boater -

Do you buy the boat you KNOW you can handle, or do you buy the boat that's a little beyond your current skill level and gamble that you'll grow into it?

It's actually a gamble either way.

I know I could buy a shiny new Sunfish and have a lovely time kicking around Jamaica Bay.

But if I start doing more Laser sailing next year, there's some chance that by the end of the summer I'd feel like a kayaker who decided to buy a Pungo for their first boat, then went & took some lessons - "OK, this is still fun for knocking around, but this just won't do for my primary boat anymore".

Fortunately unlike my first kayak purchase, where I bought because I thought there would be fewer risks to my access if I had my own boat (ha, ha), this is a club situation - so I don't HAVE to decide, and that's the option I'm going to take. Now since the sailing committee has been doing a pretty good job of turning out dinghy sailors, there's been talk of a fundraising effort to get another secondhand Laser to add to the fleet.

If that happens, I fully intend to throw some money that way.

I just won't gamble a big chunk of money on a boat I might or might not be able to deal with. I would rather go take a couple of good, challenging classes somewhere. Four star training with AKT springs to mind - yes, I'm already a four star paddler, but I just think it would be a lot of fun to go take the training as a brush-up. I've had that in mind for a while, just haven't been able to swing it.

Guess I'd rather buy knowledge than things these days. Got pretty much all the things I need.

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