And we did, be manly that is, even my wife.
Our first boat had a large exposed cockpit with no protection from the elements at all. Wind, sun, salt—we took it all on the nose and ears, and that is why bits are now falling off.
Back then, we wouldn’t be seen dead sporting a spray hood, no sir, they were for wimps. Our yacht would always remain sleek and uncluttered by unsightly canvas and ugly frames. I would, however, have made an exception for a French Plexiglas ‘bubble’, and I wanted one real bad because they smacked of Bernard Moitessier, Cape Horn and voyages through the Southern Ocean. If canvas made you a wimp, a bubble made you a hero!
With maturity came common sense, well, at least some, and for our next boat I tossed my prejudice out the porthole and fit a spray hood … to a classic yacht! There, I’ve confessed and feel better for it. Not only did we fit a spray hood, we also built a frame at the back of the cockpit that allowed us to attach a canvas top with removable back and sides. In fact, we turned the cockpit into a greenhouse and it was wonderful. I admit, the boat looked awful, but man, were we happy. At the first sign of bad weather, we would roll down the back and sides and sit in comfort.
On my final voyage with the boat, I left St. Maarten with her looking like a classic yacht, unsightly frames and canvas down and folded, but by the time I was north of Anguilla, I was watching the ocean go by from the comfort of the greenhouse. I took the thing down again before docking in the Azores, so that people would know how tough I was, and did the same before entering Falmouth in England.
The boat we have now has little shelter and so it’s back to the old character-building stuff while I design something to protect us from the weather.