I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. She was slim, sleek, and tall, oh boy was she tall. She was probably 20 years older than me but that didn’t matter, it’s just a number anyway right? Her glossy candy apple red finish had faded over the years, and she was a tad to the heavy side but looks aren’t everything. No, she had personality, miles and miles of it. They showed through every scratch and ding along her hull. That’s right, my first love wasn’t a girl, or even a car, it was an Old Town Discovery 174 that showed up in our yard on my 13th birthday.
I still remember that first trip Dad and I took in her, it was a few days later and we had taken her to the James River at Arcadia to do a short little paddle-up. I don’t remember much about the fishing that day, or the car ride there and back. What I do remember, is sitting in the bow and looking into the water that was separated from my feet by only a thin layer of Royalex and thinking “Wow.” It was love at first stroke.
Now, I’ll confess this hasn’t been an exclusive relationship over the years. I’ve been with several other boats. There have been countless trips in Paul’s old Ram-X Coleman Camper 16, a lovely little boat, but it just doesn’t have the curves of my Discovery. I’ve also been out with my friend Chris’ OT Sport 15, also a nice boat but she’s a little short for me. There has also been many a trip in Dad’s 14 foot V-hull Sea Nymph with a 9.9 Merc on the back, that’s a whole different animal all together, but she still doesn’t hold a candle to that big Red Old Town that still has my heart after all these years.
She’s never gotten jealous about my time spent with other boats. I think she knows that she doesn’t have anything to worry about it (although I think she did get a little nervous when we had the kayak talk), she simply waits , comfortably in the side yard, under her cover, until the next time I pull it off and we go again. It’s never that long a wait, she’s got me wrapped around her gunwale.
I can’t say she’s never hurt me, that’s just not true. There was the time I tried to carry her across the yard all by myself, I told you she wasn’t light. That ended with me wrenching my back, and not making it all the way across the yard of course. There have also been countless times I’ve tripped, fallen, ran into, and stubbed my toe on her, but every time it’s been my fault, and despite all my clumsiness she keeps taking me back.
I don’t want to get too sappy on you guys, but I really do think she’s perfect. She’s steady as a rock, I can stand up in her and fish all day without fear of being tossed. I can fill her up with all manner of gear and she doesn’t mind one bit, she still tracks straight as an arrow. She’s low maintenance too, just hose her off every now and then and she’s good to go. I really couldn’t ask for more.