Long ago, to be a mariner, meant that you were of a separate breed.
Sailors of old were a people who lived a hard life with no amenities and carried an aura of exoticness and danger — worldly, yet often crude and brash.
Their lives on the sea were difficult and laborious.
Today, judging by last week’s 31st Annual Marina del Rey Boat Show, it seems times have indeed changed.
By the standards set at the show, where boats filled the Burton Chace Park docks and lawn, to be a stoic mariner might mean that the onboard trash compactor and the washer/dryer can’t be used simultaneously while at anchor.
It could turn out there is no bubble bath for the bathtub or even more severe tragedies could arise such as: the 42-inch flat screen’s reception is out of whack or the surveillance system has a blind spot.
But just as in Captain Cook’s time, true adversity at sea can, of course, beset the modern sailor.
It’s well documented that horrible accidents would occur as crewmen climbed the rigs of the enormous masts of the tall ships in 40-foot seas, and sadly fell to their deaths after a misstep, and similarly in these modern boats the possibility of misfortune also looms large.
Using the bidet while under way in high seas, for instance, could be a costly and painful mistake.
And there have been tales about the dimmers on the offset lighting in some of these yachts not having enough “in between” range ñ which can really screw up the ambiance.
This heavily sarcastic paragraph was inspired by the $4.2 million 82-foot Sunseeker, that boat show attendees walked and gawked aboard through the show’s four-day run.
While it was probably the most lavish (and expensive) of all the boats there, it was not unique in its opulent theme.
From the $1.4 million 72-foot Knight and Carver Sportfisher equipped with five flat-screen TVs, PA system and 14-foot dinghy with a 60-horse power outboard all the way down to the 31-foot Sea Ray, comfort and style are clearly in the forefront of the contemporary boat designer’s mind.
The show was mostly that of powerboats, with dealers from all over Southern California represented, but three major cruising sailboat companies ñ Hunter, Beneteau and Catalina all had boats on display.
In addition to the sailor, sportfishermen and luxury yachtsmen demographic, the show also had something for the performance minded boater.
The Sunseeker XS 2000 will be featured in a soon-to-be-released James Bond movie and that just about says it all.
The sleek speed machine is one of the fastest pleasure boats in the world and it can reach speeds up to 80 miles per hour.
It’s made of carbon fiber and all of the running gear (shafts, propellers, rudders, etc.) are made of stainless steel.
“The whole boat is bulletproof,” said Sunseeker representative Joel Romero, from California Coast Yachts.
“In rough water it’s unbelievable. It has an ‘anti-stuff-nose’ which is a design that makes the nose of the boat look like a shovel. So if the nose goes down into a wave, because of its shape, it lifts the bow out of the water really quickly.”
The Bond movie bought three out of the five Sunseeker XSs made, two to destroy via Hollywood stunts and one that they still have.
The boats retail for more than half a million dollars and when asked if it made him sad that the studio ruined two of these amazing vessels, Romero smiled and said, “That’s showbiz.”