I woke up this morning with a wild debate raging between my ears.
I am in a position that I guess most boat owners find themselves at some stage.
Can I justify spending a substantial amount of money on my boat, when the one certainty is that there will be little, (probably no), financial return on the investment?
The argument is running like this:
As this is a leisure activity, should I be looking beyond a gain in financial capital.
Surely, there are gains in human capital and social capital that are more relevant and definitely worth seeking.
So my current reasons for spending the money are sketched out below in personal and social terms :
Twelve reasons to spend money on Blue Mistress:
- To be able to continue to enjoy sailing for the sake of it.
- To restore and give longer life to an attractive, sea-kindly vessel that can be passed on to a younger owner when I can no longer sail.
- This boat has a design, shape and size that make it ideal for single-handed sailing, and, given that we won’t be living aboard, for the two of us to spend time together comfortably.
- To have a specific activity that we can enjoy together as a complete family – the not-so-young children can be involved too. On the occasions we are together, we can learn together.
- To be able to take friends out for a day/morning/afternoon – to enjoy sailing in good company.
- To be able to explore the coastline and harbours of Devon and Cornwall.
- To open up the possibility of going further afield – around the UK coastline, across to France, or to Ireland.
- For personal health – fresh air, exercise, mental stimulation outside a daily career.
- To have an activity that will take me out of that career and onto the next stage, whatever that may hold. Since I bought Blue Mistress, I am meeting interesting, active, concerned people in situations that would never have happened if I had maintained the status quo.
- The boat and the maritime environment give me a focus for my writing and photography. For me this is the more outward-looking contribution.
- In environmental terms, from a maritime perspective, I can witness first hand the effects of global warming.
- Sailing, harnessing energy from the wind and the sea, is essentially a green activity, and worth pursuing because of this. As with most similar activities, it is not quite as simple as it first appears – some aspects are more ‘green’ than others and, no doubt, these will be the source of debate over the next decade. How can we learn about them without being involved in them?
The trick seems to be in avoiding sending good money after bad money.
If I get it right, although I will have invested more initially, I will have lifted the value of my boat just a little in financial terms, but a lot in human and social terms, ensuring longer-term enjoyment and making possible the outcomes I am looking for.
If I get it wrong, I will have spent albeit less money, but on short-term improvements that are likely to beget more short-term improvements that, in the long-term will cost me a lot more both financially and in personal angst, and will lead to me and my boat parting company sooner rather than later.
You can see which way the argument is going, can’t you.