Apocalypse or Bay Cruise?

Clark February 3rd, 2009

Everything I read these days seems to be either about great hope (Obama as messiah) or apocalyptic despair (the financial crisis). When I read about the former I think about my new life on shore and the good things it may bring once I move beyond underemployment. San Francisco seems a prosperous place, and my girlfriend just bought a house. Let’s call this the optimistic plan.

When I read about the latter I’m glad I’ve still got Condesa.

There’s been a lot of mention of sailboats as liferafts to escape the death spiral, and not just from the lunatic fringe. Or perhaps in light of the crisis the fringy are having their day. I’ve read mention in both The New Yorker and The Economist lately. An often cited work is Dmitry Orlov’s The New Age of Sail, if you’ve got an hour to spend. In The New Yorker he’s quoted,

“We don’t have a long wait before sail-based transport is the only option. In the future, I expect coastal property owners to get downright excited when they see any sailboat, whether it looks fashionable or not, paddle out their leaky canoes, and try to barter jewelry, silver cutlery or pretty seashells for the things they desperately need.”

Mr. Orlov lives on his sailboat. He is Russian and survived the collapse of the Soviet Union by bartering a trunk full of vodka when rubles were worthless, so he might know what he’s talking about.

Let’s call this the pessimistic plan, in which Condesa could be the most utilitarian way to ride out total collapse of petroleum, the monetary system, and the economy. I wonder how many ‘cruisers’ have set sail from Iceland lately?

The great thing is that in either scenario a sailboat is a highly coveted possession. If it’s optimism, nothing like a nice sail on the Bay with friends and colleagues after a hard week’s work once things pick up. If it’s pessimism, nothing like a sailboat to get away from the armies of desperate mutants who roam the earth fighting for the last remaining scraps of food, human flesh, and gasoline (see Cormac McCarthy, The Road) in a land slowly disappearing as the sea levels rise. Can’t sell a boat in this market anyway – not that I’d want to – so Condesa stays in the mix, for better or for worse.

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2009-02-04 09:44:28

Yep, that’s where we’re at mentally. We’ve said it many times over the last few years actually- “maybe it’s time we get our boat and get out of here.” Don’t think the grandparents will appreciate taking the babies away from them right now though.
Love your literary references. Thanks for keeping me in touch with the dream – makes me realize how consumed I am by motherhood!
Let us know if you see any deals on a good cruising boat for a family of 4 up there in SF!

Comment by Rob Webber
2009-02-06 10:46:32

Hi Clark

It was great fun to see the article in L38, even more fun reading of your adventures therein. It has been a long time since we both worked on the ferry….

I see Barton and Linda on the Island whenever I go to dinner at Giorgios, always fun to chat with them sometime other than Christmas at my Moms…LOL.

I am between boats right now, save for a dory at my place in Baja and a Prindle16 at home in Huntington. I keep busy building my business(TV and Film sound http://www.smartpostsound.com) and sailing and surfing. Give me a ring if you are down in SoCal… Take Care!

Rob Webber
818 632 3246

Comment by Chris Larsen
2009-02-07 09:43:44

Hey Clark! Let me know if you need crew for your SF vino deliveries. Will work for wine is my motto. Seriously.

Chris Larsen

Comment by Michelle Burr
2009-02-12 12:03:01

Hi Clark
So happy to have met you and I’m also happy to help with the underemployment situation… I too have thought of my sailboat as the last great escape if things really go bad in future. Nice to know I’m not the only one thinking this way.
Love your writing and being able to share vicariously in your adventures.

Comment by dori
2009-03-06 13:58:20

I know what you mean! The dichotomy between Obama-joy and economy-blues is enough to make anyone seasick, even on land. Sounds like a good reason to keep the boat. Sometimes I use that rationale to motivate myself to exercise—wouldn’t want to be too out of shape if the world turns into a Mad Max or Waterworld situation. Not to be pessimistic or anything…

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