Waking or sleeping, I dream of boats—usually rather small boats… If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful; like a fish or a bird or a girl, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.
I returned to the sea of necessity, because it would support a boat. I liked to sail alone. The sea was like a girl to me—I did not want anyone else along. Lacking instruction, I invented ways of getting things done, and so did not learn to sail properly, and still cannot sail well, although I have been at it all my life. I was always in trouble and always returned, seeking more trouble. I was twenty before I discovered that charts existed; all my navigation up to that time was done with the wariness of the early explorers.
There lies the boat, there blows the morning breeze, bringing the taint of the distant wet world, the smell that takes a man back to the very beginning of time. Once more I will get under way, and with the tiller in my hand, I’ll feel again the wind imparting life to a boat…
from: The Sea and the Wind That Blows E. B. White