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The Love Boat Potion
By Barb Hansen
February 3, 2003

From his comic strip barstool Hagar the Horrible announced that he had nine true loves in his life. Readers, and perhaps the tavern regulars, too, were relieved to learn that Hagar's nine loves were all boats he had owned and loved. I clipped and taped this strip to the refrigerator.

Have I told you that Vic is a bit like Hagar?

When we were dating, Vic confessed to me that he had been in love before. I listened patiently and apprehensively to love stories that didn't involve me.

The first true love of his life, Vic said, occurred when he was only 12 years old. He had an affair with an older sailboat. He even made a set of sails for it... from bed sheets. Hmmm.

I'm sure I understood that his pre-teen's psyche had been imprinted with a powerful, though strange, attraction. I married him anyway.

I'm not sure to this day if I know about all of Vic's earlier sweethearts but I've been an enthusiastic partner with him on every acquisition since. The arrows that Cupid released at us were surely tipped with a Love Boat Potion.

Many people meet and fall in love with a boat and remain true to that boat for their entire lives. But whose veins course with this potion would never agree to be with just one boat for the rest of their lives. People change. Their circumstances change. So, understandably, some are going to fall out of love with one boat and fall into love with another. The process repeats itself.

In an earlier View from the Marina column I analyzed some of the failed marriages. Some owners are just not able to attend the physical needs of their vessel. Some owners are not physically up to the demands of climbing steps and ducking through passageways. And some realize too late that their boat likes to run with a fast crown and all they want is to cruise slowly and comfortably to nowhere in particular.

In the strip, Hagar started counting his loves. "1... 2... 3... 4..." When I read that, my boating memory kicked in and I started counting up our loves: The sailboat that was our "home" for four years. Dolphin, a 36-ketch. A Boston Whaler. Another Boston Whaler. A sailing dinghy, a canoe. A Grand Banks trawler. Another Grand Banks trawler. And still another Grand Banks trawler. Several sloops ranging from 25 to 35 feet. Two houseboats. Then dinghies, dinghies, and more dinghies, all inflatables.

Hagar told the boys in the bar that a man is lucky is if he has one true love of his life. A boat owner nine times, Hagar had been lucky nine times. Counting boats only, Vic and I have Hagar beat several times over.

Sometimes truth speaks to you from the funny papers.

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