Inside Angle: Spouses, Boats and Money

Inside Angle: Spouses, Boats and Money

Some say its impossible, but Bill Prince claims to have designed a way to give his boat and wife gifts at the same time.

Some say its impossible, but Bill Prince claims to have designed a way to give his boat and wife gifts at the same time.

Like a lot of you, I’m a guy with a boat and a wife. This presents opportunities and challenges across broad swaths of my life. The wife and the boat get along famously. But the wife came first, so let’s begin with a tale about marriage.

As a young newlywed, I learned the fine art of gift giving the hard way. Believe it or not, there was one Christmas about a quarter century ago where I thought it would be a good idea to put a George Foreman grill under the tree. Little did I know.

My new bride cheerfully tore open the wrapping paper and found the lean, mean fat-reducing grilling machine in her hands. I beamed with pride at my rational gift-giving decision.

Illustration: Brett Affrunti

She coldly acknowledged the clamshell-shaped appliance as her expression soured and she stiff-armed the box, rejecting it outright. I remember hearing her exclaim something like, “This is not a Christmas gift, dammit!” But my memory’s a little blurry about what happened next.

That’s how I learned one of the universal rules among married members of the fairer sex: Household Appliances Shall Neither be acquired Nor distributed As personal Gifts. Or HAS NAG for short.

Now we bring the boat into the story.

Fast forward several years and we moved up to a newer, larger vessel. Amazingly, I found the HAS NAG rule did not apply to anything on the yacht if you have a spouse who’s as into the boat as you are. This changed everything! If I played my cards right, I could go back to buying the fun stuff each holiday instead of dumb things like jewelry and purses.

I bought a new radar a week before our Mother’s Day cruise. “Just in time, Dear!” she happily bragged in front of extended family as I fired it up on the bridge.

I arranged four shiny black Taylor-Made Big Boat fenders, obnoxiously wrapped like enormous hard candies under the stockings hung by the chimney with care. FROM: Santa TO: Boat. “Oh, yay!” she trumpeted. “No more dirty white fenders … these will look so great with our black dock lines.”

Oh, man. I think I’ve got this all figured out. Time to take it up a notch.

I arranged to have the hull professionally waxed before the Easter launch instead of doing it myself. She looked up at the bow while the boat was still on the hard and said, “This is the best money you ever spent.” (Really, she said that.)

I had new flybridge Strataglass fitted on her birthday. Her: “This makes the whole boat look 10 years younger!”

Transmission rebuild for our anniversary? “Anything to get me to my favorite anchorage on our special day, Sweetie.” Fist pump.

Heck, I bet with what I know now I could buy that George Foreman grill for the boat and she’d love it!

But I am not the only member of the Power & Motoryacht crew who has this figured out. I’m an amateur compared to our fearless Editor Dan Harding. Legend has it that he actually bought himself a boat for Christmas, Photoshopped his wife’s name on a picture of the transom and wrapped a framed print of the doctored image as her Christmas gift. In plain view of the in-laws no less! And he got away with it. Evil genius, that guy.

So with apologies to rock singer Warren Zevon, I have a new outlook on his song “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” I call it “Spouses, Boats and Money.”

I was shopping for antennae
I took a little risk
Oh yeah spouses, boats, and money
Santa, get me out of this

Now I’m cruising in Annapolis
No longer a desperate Bill
Send spouses, boats, and money
And George Foreman with that grill

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This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.


Boat Lyfe