Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Confession

We are all well aware that there are some very rich people out there and anyone who’s spent time on the water can testify to the ever growing hoard of stinkpots propelling themselves though the seaways into nearly every harbor, anchorage, dock etc like a fossil-fuel devouring plague. I have to temper my extreme disgust when it comes to motor yachts with the knowledge that I spent six months in the Caribbean (a regrettable lapse) as second mate on a 130’, custom built Benetti. Aside from the pay, which was better than sailboats, and the chow, which was as you might expect superior – the experience was generally a drag. At least that’s how I now prefer to cast it though, admittedly, being in charge of the tender, an 18’ dual outboard center-console Boston Whaler, as well as being the designated “toy” supervisor with charter guests – a duty that included leading scuba tours (we had our own compressor), rigging the Laser and windsurfer and taking people sailing as well as babysitting guests at the beach bars – almost made up for my main responsibility, which was keeping the hulking wedge of floating steel sparkling clean in a marine environment. Oh and I got to meet Harrison Ford, nice man. I’m raising this topic via a short piece I found in the Associated Press. Apparently we’ve moved from “mega” yachts to “giga” yacht and, no surprise, Larry Ellison is the main culprit. According to the brief, fuel costs for these behemoths can top $1 million a year – a tidy sum that would buy me the Swan of my dreams…

2 comments:

wingssail said...

There are some real downside effects coming out of the booming market for huge yachts, both power and sail. This is where the money is nowdays for the builders, designers, brokers, everyone in the industry (& yes, paid crew too). It's also, more and more, where the demand and money is for marinas. More and more marinas are filling up with big yachts. The huge yachts drive up the prices and they take up the space. Marinas increasingly want to convert 30' and 40' slips into slips for 70-110' boats. There are other impacts on the middle class boater too: Agents, officials, tradesmen, all seem to be getting used to the idea that boaters are super rich and can pay any amount. It sucks.

What can we do? I can't think of a thing, but its going to be ineteresting to see how changing weather due to global warming and skyrocketing fuel costs affect the appeal of this sport to the mega and giga yacht owners.

Zephyr said...

Could not agree more with your very thoughtful comments. Take a look at this site:http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

I can't see how this types of vessels with their rate of consumption will be sustainable as fuel spikes. We can't do anything except stay out of their way and cheer the show as they become victims of inevitable market forces...personally I hope gas goes to $5.00 a gallon...not that I have any tolerance for that in my budget but pain is going to be the forcing function for change with something as entrenched as our dependence on fossil fuel...