They say the two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he gets it and the day he sells it. Well, we've spent months wading into the possibilities and finally charted a course.
To boat? Or not to boat? This is a recurring conundrum in our lives. We have owned a fleet of boats... a couple of sea kayaks, a sailboat. Another sailboat. A paddleboard. Right now, we're back down to the original sea kayaks, having sold or lost all the others. Pirates we are not.
I absolutely LOVE the sea kayaks. Toodling around the lake is so peaceful and you're so close to the water that you can see fish and get near birds... the best. But they're limited. One person per, and no room for doggies. Plus, they're enormous and heavy and can't be wielded by one person. That's why we got the first sailboat. Then we got the second one and all sailing pretty much stopped. (We hit ramming speed and made contact on several occasions aboard the USS Jazz Hands. What a production. I just never figured out the wind, or how to not panic when it started blowing. Anyone else would have made me walk the plank, but Brandon just sighed and hung a For Sale sign on her bow line, then watched her sail off into the sunset under someone else's command.)
On our Honeymoon, we lost the never-been-used paddleboard in the middle of Nevada thanks to high winds and completely crappy tie-downs. We were just hours from getting to use it for the first time, too... suffice it to say it was an annoying day.
At any rate, the question has long been, when will we replace the paddleboard? Then it became should we replace it with a kayak? What about inflatable options? How many do we need? Should we get a two-seater? Then it became, what do we really need? Ultimately, nothing.
Here's how we got there and some things that might help others decide on whether or not they'll need another toy.
POINT 1: Inflatable boats (kayak or SUP) are expensive. Getting two is twice as expensive. Having just one means someone is left on the shore. That's sad.
POINT 2: Inflatable options are what we really need in order to take up as little space as possible. The roof is completely covered with the solar panel and the cargo carrier. We had planned to use the carrier for our other gear - helmets, backpacks, bike shoes and clothes, etc. Thus we face a storage and cash-flow problem at the same time.
POINT 3: We have other toys. The bikes can serve several purposes, we can ride them for pleasure or necessity on any surface as they are mountain bikes. (Perfect for a city street? Not so much, but Brandon assures me I'll develop an ass callous eventually.) Items that have more than one purpose are a necessity for us. There simply isn't much room for one-hit-wonders.
POINT 4: How many rentals and how much gear can you test out for the price of buying your own boat(s)? A lot, that's how many. While there's a romantic picture in our heads of finding a hidden watering hole off the beaten path and just shoving off, it's unlikely. Most places have nearby rental facilities. We bought the paddleboard without ever having used one before. Now, we can rent one and see if we really want our own or if we want smaller, lighter kayaks someday.
POINT 5: WE ALREADY HAVE BOATS!!!! Yes, they are more of a production and one person can't load/unload them alone. But we're always together and they're FREE! If we want to do a kayak trip, we can clear out other gear, take down the roof box, and just be gone for a few days. Seriously, this van is all about having less stuff... why would we buy more?
POINT 6: Mother Nature. I should live on a tropical island. It's the perfect climate and place for me. I don't. In fact, I live nowhere near a beach. Therefore, I know that it is not always warm everywhere you go. Hauling a boat around when you're landlocked or it's cold outside seems like a waste of every resource imaginable. Seriously, what were we thinking? We can almost always ride our bikes, I can do yoga on any flat surface big enough for my mat... but a boat is only useful in the water. And I'm only going near the water when it's warm.
If you have a bigger rig, get whatever you want. Otherwise, we feel like you can save on money and gas and time and effort and just rent. It's not really what a respectable pirate would do, but you'll have more booty than he does.