If I had it my way, here’s how I’d roll.
On the home front, I’d split my time between New England and somewhere in the Caribbean. There’s an interesting fellow, Felix Dennis, who had a place in Mustique. I like how he wrote about his time there. You should read him. He was the OG of publishing, spent a ton on wine, women, pharmaceuticals and song, and then wrapped up a hardy life with some pretty good poetry. Get his books on eBay; they’re cheap and you’ll like the reads.
On the waterway, it’d be something cold-molded out of North Carolina, not less than forty feet LOA and with that kind of resonant-sounding diesel only Caterpillar and Detroit seem to get right. If I could rustle up conventional diesels, I’d install them instead of that common rail nonsense with its twin sisters complication and computerization. I wouldn’t want a Seakeeper or a television that plunges up from a cabinet or excess of any sort. I’d want clean and simple.
On the roadway, I’d drive the Mercedes w144 chassis. That’s the style Diana and Dodi were aboard. It’s a massive vehicle with double-paned windows. It’s fast and comfortable. It must be black.
As for one of my top boating safety items, it’d be the Beckson Thirsty Mate hand pump (You know, the one with its gray tube and red handle) along with a bailer fashioned from an Arizona ice tea container. You can keep crafts of all sizes afloat with just those two items so long as they’re coupled to the good sense of knowing what you’ll lose if you’re not bailing fast enough.
As for communications, I’d use a V.H.F. marine radio and the 1996 Motorola StarTAC. The latter fit in your shirt pocket and was only ever sold in matte black. It was the best damn piece of wizardry we’d ever thought up or down. What about Apps? Don’t want them and don’t kid yourself; like an Ivory soap bar percentage, 99.44% of your time on Apps is for amusement. Frankly, we’re amusing ourselves to death as someone (not me) once coined.
On the sailing dinghy, it’d be a 15-foot sailing Lawley. They put those together with a pretty line and a bolt-on iron keel. It sailed fast and acted mature in the way a Piper PA-28 Cherokee flew, where when you got good those talents transferred easily to something bigger and faster.
As for music, it’d be a Marantz 2270 receiver with SVS cables plugged to twin Polk Audio L800s (the tower series speakers). I’d spool heavy on 1990s rap. Fact is, you should too; go spin some Pete Rock & CL Smooth and I’ll bet you can’t not tap out a beat to Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It.” Let the memories burble listening to Busta Rhyme ask “if she really wants to party with me” or those sauced-up lyrics of Naughty by Nature. My love of music is broad and the poetry of Tupac and Dr. Dre’s preaching isn’t lost on this lyrical lawyer; but the straight-up party hip-hop of the ‘90s has its place for the amateur audiophile. (You snicker alright, but I rank high my daughter being raised with the tunnage of Johnny Cash, Biggie Smalls, Daft Punk (and its vast French electro-house progeny), Art Pepper, Green Day, Van Halen, Bob Seger, Metallica, Diana Krall and so forth (as patrician great-aunts say when boring of a train of thought). Back when my daily driver was a w144 chassis with an over-sauced CD-player and my then young daughter riding shotgun, I remember tiny hands squeezing the armrest in her gleeful anticipation of that thundering drop in Queensryche’s “Jet City Woman.”
On the vices, I’d want the original Marlboro Lights and (only because I liked the packaging) an occasional box of Dunhill Deluxe. I’ll drink my scotch so long as you pay more than $50 for the bottle and it comes from Scotland and the ice isn’t floating, but jammed tight in the glass. It’s Plymouth gin (Navy Strength) and Belvedere vodka. If you’re buying, I’ll drink whatever draft beer is offered.
I have more: compass bearings and having someone come aboard to “box” your compass; those old-style, red metal six-gallon fuel tanks; LORAN and waypoints instead of satellites; two-stroke engines for their better torque curve (and beloved banshee wail); and spinnaker dipping on days too hot to be ashore.
Nostalgia is good and fun, but don’t hold it too tightly. I was watching a wrinkled investor doing a morning show interview on Squawk Box. You know the sort – old coot in the obligatory antique chair in front of a sprawling swath of Hamptons yard. He closed the interview by telling Becky she looked good in pink. Really? WTF, as the kids say. Becky, if you’re reading, you should’ve told him to pound sand because times have rightly changed.
And that’s what I’ve got; maybe less than you expected or more than you wanted. Either way, it’s a column that’ll have its fans and its haters, particularly in the wake of the recent election. That tick of claw and huff of breath just might be the wolf at your door. Put differently, don’t lose sight of how quickly good weather can turn bad. Or, consider that democracy is like sailing, it’s wet and uncomfortable but it sure beats being towed about like a barge on a wire. Capische?
Underway and making way. ■
John K. Fulweiler, Esq. is a Proctor-in-Admiralty representing individuals and small businesses in maritime matters including personal injury claims throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and with his office in Newport, Rhode Island. He can be reached at 1-800-383-MAYDAY (6293) or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at saltwaterlaw.com.