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Lifestyle : Boat Show 2011
1HERSA1 S003 Registration of 406 MHz distress beacons is co sor . Register and date o r infor ation on ine an ti e. www.amsa.gov.au/beacons 1800 406 406 LET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO AG4076092AA-230711 The Sydney Morning Herald July 23- 24, 2011 3 SPECIAL REPORT SOUL MATE OF THE SEA Loveatfirstsite. . .you can indulge your devotion to boating at Darling Harbour. Like Bogie and Flynn before him, Terry Smyth celebrates the romance of being at one with a beloved boat. O f course I'm going to the Sydney International Boat Show. Wouldn't miss it for the world -- and that's simply because Ratty was right. So was Errol, Bogie and every man, woman and child who has ever stepped from dry land to float off to somewhere or nowhere in particular. And so, too, was that unknown dreamer who, standing on the shore one day some 10,000 years ago, saw a broken branch float by and thought, ''Hmm, freedom . . .'' In a boat, you can't affect anything in the world beyond the gunwale, so there's no sense worrying about it. When you're afloat, life is all about you and your boat versus wind and water -- the cruel sea, the intemperate lake, the wild river -- you and your trusty watercraft only have each other. You are soul mates and anyone who tells you a boat doesn't have a soul has, like Mole in The Wind in the Willows, lived an entirely landlubbered life. And you'll no doubt recall what Ratty famously said as Mole stepped gingerly into a boat for the first time: ''Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.'' He went on to explain why. ''In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it.'' Charm indeed. We give boats affectionate or heroic names and write books, poems and songs about them. We attribute to them the most noble human qualities, such as bravery and dependability. We find the waft of wind in a sail, the thrum of an inboard diesel or a thrashing outboard as seductive as a lover's whisper and men continue to defy political correctness by calling ships and boats ''she''. When aboard, we can't seem to resist waving at other people on boats and when we see one founder, a catch comes to the throat. The names of ships and boats invoke entire chapters of history -- Mayflower, Endeavour, Victory, Bounty, Tom Thumb, Titanic, Bismark. Fiction has given us Captain Ahab's Perquod, Charlie Allnut's African Queen and Gilligan's Minnow; and folklore, the Flying Dutchman. Some people say a boat is nothing but a hole in the ocean into which you throw money. Boat owners hear this a lot and nod politely as one does to humour those who will not or cannot understand. Yes, with a boat there is always work to do, always something that needs to be repaired or replaced. But the course of true love never did run smooth and love is what boating's all about. Here are a couple of famous love affairs. In Sydney in 1930, when a larrikin adventurer name Errol Flynn clapped eyes on a cutter called Sirocco, it was love at first sight. Flynn was to break many hearts in his life but his heart always belonged to Sirocco. And when Humphrey Bogart died in 1957, it was not a casket at his memorial service but a model of his beloved yacht, Santana. His wife, Lauren Bacall, would later write: ''When he bought that boat, he was enslaved -- happily so -- and truly had everything he'd ever dreamed of.'' Sydney Harbour, as the world knows, is a thing of beauty and there is no better way of getting personal with this natural wonder than by messing about on it in boats. The same goes for the waterways to its north and south. At the Sydney International Boat Show, you'll find everything from humble fishing tinnies and runabouts to houseboats and palatial cruisers, kayaks and canoes to sleek yachts and speedboats, serious sailing to family boating. Whatever the vessel that suits your fancy or your pocket, that special feeling comes for free.
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