Good times come in small packages

Boats can take you to places where no cars can venture.
Mark Rothfield
The roof's leaking, the fence is falling down, but you should always find the time and money to have fun in a small boat.

Who says boating is the preserve of the rich and famous? If there is one simple thing I have learnt it's that the best boat is not necessarily the biggest.

Some reckon that boating is the preserve of the idle rich but frankly I don’t buy it.

A while ago I purchased a second-hand Quintrex 350 Traveller tinnie for a bit over $3000 – the 'bit' my wife doesn’t know about – and proved that you don’t need money to find nautical happiness.

It was powered by a 15hp Yamaha outboard and sat on a neat little trailer. You could tow it behind a postie bike and launch anywhere.

We’d load it to the gunwales with a gas barbie, iceboxes, surfboard, towels, beach gear, better half, two kids and I. The boat needed as much runway as a B52 to get onto the plane but then ran like a trojan.

We'd load the Quinnie to the gunwales with beach gear
Mark Rothfield

At a remote, sandy beach we’d swim to our heart’s content, feast on sausage sandwiches, sip wine at the water’s edge, then tow the kids around on the surfboard. Hours melted like ice and stress levels plummeted. As the sky darkened we’d pile back in for the dash home.

My son would fall asleep on the floor of the boat, cushioned by a lifejacket and head propped against the bag of wet towels. My daughter sat on the bow seat, breeze blowing her blonde hair as she soaked up the serenity.

Driving home, my wife once remarked: 'It was worth coming … you were right.' I marked the location on our in-car GPS …

I sold the boat last week (and got more than we paid) because the roof’s leaking and the fence is falling down. We’re not rich, but we’ll buy another soon enough.

There is one simple thing I have learnt – that the best boat is not necessarily the biggest.

As the old Crosby, Stills & Nash song goes, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.
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