May you live in interesting times, the old Chinese curse goes, and events lately have certainly proved to be very interesting. As I write this, the world is going mad over the new President Elect of the USA, a Mr Donald Trump. Well Facebook is certainly going crazy. I have never seen a time where people seem to be so polarised over their particular brand of ideology. Never has the gap between the left and the right been so big. I won’t stoop to using the left’s renaming of the two opposing ideologies, “progressive” and “conservative” because the left certainly isn’t progressive and although the right could be considered old fashioned or set in their ways with a desire to retain their old values, I certainly wouldn’t call them conservative. In truth, both sides are conservative and want a return to those values that belong to a period of the twentieth century from the 1930’s through to the 1960’s. And yes, I have purposely spelt left and right with lower case! This was when good old “Stalinist communism” was at its peak, along with the Gulag camps in Siberia and mass graves in forests. This is progressive? The right want a return to the same period where the nuclear family of Dad, Mum and 2.5 kids and the white picket fence life style of post war America. It was a boom time of lots of jobs and opportunities – a golden age if you like, but certainly not a traditional lifestyle as it only lasted for a few decades – the eras before and after were quite different. However, the world has shifted far too much in past few decades for these times to ever make a return. The nostalgia from the music and films and automobiles is about all we can ever hope to achieve – the fashion certainly hasn’t made a comeback, apart from a few sub-cultures that wear the clothes of the 1950’s and dance to swing or jive music. Do we ever really want to return to the past?
La Mouette was built in the golden age of Australian GRP boat building – the variety of brands from the 1960’s and 1970’s is quite amazing considering that Australia doesn’t really have a yacht manufacturing industry anymore. There are still lots of power boats being built locally but hardly any sailing yachts. Things changed a lot in the 1980’s and a lot of the yacht builders went out of business. When we bought La Mouette it was essentially a typical 1970’s family cruising yacht – designed for sheltered waterways and overnight trips. Sometimes, when I look at the to-do list, the amount of “modernising” that we have to do is quite daunting (and expensive). The temptation, is there to keep La Mouette rigged as a 1970’s boat. Hank on sails, ice box, sail rigging etc all done at the mast and not in the cockpit. I guess that we will eventually have roller furling but will the boat sail any better for it? It will be easier to sail, that’s for sure. It already has UHF and VHF radios, an EPIRB, dual batteries (but no solar charging) and an electric head (but no header tank). However, the EPIRB, radios and batteries all need replacing. Suffice to say, the boat really needs a jolly good refit plus some improvements along the way.
Our long term plans, apart from the refit, is to sacrifice the port quarter berth with a chart table, along with a station for all the electronics, ie radios, switch panel, music player etc. Set the boat up for blue water cruising with the usual goodies, arch/solar panels, dodger, self steering etc etc. plus a few luxuries such as a small fridge and one of those stern mounted BBQs. We already have a new mast and rigging, plus the engine re-build currently in progress. Of course, we know that by the time that all of this has been done, we will be a lot poorer, the boat will be a lot richer, but not worth the money we will have pumped into it. But that’s the way of boats.
Hopefully, we will have “our” boat, not a 1970’s icon, nor a modern plastique French weekender, but something that we can be comfortable in and be able to take places. So when the world has it’s meltdown, we can sit anchored in a snug bay sipping out gin and tonics, with no Facebook and enjoy life. When the grandkids ask us “what did you do in the great meme war of 2016 Grandad?” We can truthfully, say that we spent more time watching sunsets than we did on Facebook. That’s really something to aspire to!
As you may have gathered by now, the prospect of Donald Trump in the Whitehouse isn’t that scary a prospect for us. Unfortunately, for Australia, we don’t really have anyone for the populace to protest with – Pauline Hanson is too much of a minority to actually get anywhere and on the equally nutty left side of politics are the Greens. I think most people have seen through their deceptions and realise how utterly incompetent they will be – so they won’t gain any power. Instead, it’s the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the More of the Same Parties, representing no change whatsoever.
Can’t wait for the boat to be made shipshape and loaded up with gin and tonics ready for those sunsets in some far off foreign bay, away from everything. Just can’t wait.