I´ve just returned from another handover of a yacht. As summer is now in full bloom, we had to cope with a clear blue sky without any clouds and a merciless burning sun: Plus 30 degrees out in the open was a mess, but somebody has to do the job, right? Anyway, as we prepared the Oceanis 30.1 which was in the water, waiting to get her mast stepped and everything commissioned for the owners, I got the job of applying the stickers for the ship´s name and her registration number.
This as such is not a big deal but, of course, the stickers have to be placed accurately, meaning perfectly centered at the boat´s transom and bathing platform as well as for the registration which – in this particular sailing area – to both sides of the bow. As the boat has already been in the water and there was no floating pontoon available, I had to take special measures …
Easy, lightweight and useful: The SUP
I must admit that I am not a particular fan of the stand-up paddleboard. I´ve noticed this mega trend which is going around since a handful of years now in the boating scene, but to be honest, I always found it ridiculous to stand upright on a board, no stability whatsoever, no sail neither and slowly going about, hoping that no wave would make you fall … well, up to this week. Because I´ve changed my mind completely.
Since you cannot put a sticker perfectly centered on a boat´s transom working overhead (I´ve tested it!), I took out the Beneteau-branded SUP and inflated it. The board needed one bar or pressure which was a bit of work with the manual pump, but a nice workout. I refrained from attaching the fins since I only needed a platform to work from, but I was astonished how easy, light weight and convenient it was to get it ready and bring it to the water.
Perfect for work on your hull
I attached two lines to the SUP and tied the board to the aft mooring clamps. Standing on the board was at first a bit wiggly, but literally within minutes, I had it. The SUP provided for a nice, large and wide platform and I felt instantly safe standing on it. Now it was time to start the work. Surprisingly enough, I was able not only to stand safely, but also to kneel, sit down work properly.
Setting themarkings to find the centerlines, applying the sticker and peeling off the carrier-foil was a no-brainer. I was able to work standing upright, no overhead, no contortion or crazy stunts. That´s amazing! Now, imagine the possible scope of application to put an SUP to use? I mean, there is always something to do along your hull and not always – as we had to experience this week – a proper pontoon available.
Cleaning your hull (especially the big hull-windows of modern cruising yacht), looking for scratches and damage alongside, checking rudder or waterline – this all perfectly doable by just inflating this little cute board and securing it with two lines to the clamps. For many of you this may seem odd, but I had my eyes opened and did a 180 on judging the stand-up paddle board. I am sure: I will get one for my new boat as well!
Can the SUP replace a dinghy?
Of course can´t an SUP replace the proper dinghy, especially when it comes to blue water cruising and being at anchor. You may be able to leave the boat to paddle ashore (and back), but when it comes to hauling provisions, fuel canisters or guests, the SUP is no option – more over when there are waves in the anchorage, this will be a rather unsave option.
But for me personally, thinking of my new boat coming up, I do have now the perfect alternative to buying a full sized dinghy. My boat, at least during the first one or two years, will be a cruising platform and a boat office. I will enjoy time with my kids and provide for a sailing base to reach nice places and having fun with them. This is, surely, what an SUP can deliver: Being a great toy for the kids to play around, train their balance and jump to the water.
It´s amazing how such a small issue can affect your whole thinking. I always cancelled out the SUP for myself, but now, after having worked with it and spared myself for a neck-breaking ordeal, I really like it and consider getting one myself in the future. Of course, as much as I love Beneteau, I need one paddle board that fits the Omega 42 – so, is there a “vintage” look available?
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