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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

Rats! Just what you don’t need aboard

Nobody invited the rat. So it was good riddance. Maybe he thought he had a general invitation, like some of those people who crash important parties in Washington and L.A. But he didn’t. He probably knew he wasn’t invited and was just doing the rat thing.

But maybe he figured he was smarter than the average rat and smarter than the average person and that he’d just get a paw in the door, get a jump on the situation and be assured of his place at the table, closest to the best of the food. I don’t know what he figured, but he didn’t figure what happened.

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Head aches: It’s a dirty job but …

A king contemplates the product literature of a new throne.All you ever wanted to know about heads would probably fit into the eye of a needle. But when what’s passing through your head encounters difficulties similar to the difficulties of that camel trying to squeeze through the needle’s eye, you’ll wish you knew more.

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Take in the dock lines and plot a course south

Practice cruising before you cast off and head south. There are many beautiful anchorages along our coasts and close to home.The world doesn’t come to an end when you finally cast off the lines to head south. It might seem so because this time you’re taking them with you rather than leaving them at the dock that’s been your boat’s home for so many years.

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No mechanical skill? There’s a fix for that

The best way to fix a boat is to sink it. Or should that be, the best way to sink a boat is to fix it? Both ring true and neither inspires much confidence, particularly when you realize that whenever everything is going well on a boat, something breaks.

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There’s more than one way to downsize

With a smaller boat, it's easy to enjoy a summer afternoon at a beach.I keep reading about “downsizing” in boat magazines these days. A few years ago, all you’d read about was “upsizing.” Sometimes I don’t know whether they’re talking about boating or Viagra.

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