Well, angry, actually, but I could be mad, too.
It's that damned autopilot of mine.
A few weeks back, I went into painful detail about how long it took to get it repaired and back into my boat.
But I'm still stewing about it.
That's because the first Catalina 30's didn't need autopilots. First of all, most autopilots mount on a steering wheel, and back in those days, there was no wheel.
The Catalina 30 don't need no stinkin' wheel.
The original boat had a tiller, with the mainsheet attached to the end of the boom, where God intended it to be. I've sailed Catalina 30's with tillers and they sail just fine, thank you.
The sheet was led to a traveller that ran across the cockpit, right next to the tiller. The jibsheets were an arm's length away. From one comfy spot, you could control pretty much everything you needed to sail the boat, all by yourself.
What a concept!
A photo from the first Catalina 30 brochure showing the original layout, with tiller, boom-end mounted sheet, and traveller in the cockpit. Please try to ignore the fact that the guy looks like he's dressed to cruise the Castro - not that there's anything wrong with that. Also try to ignore the fact that, like most brochure photos from the '70s, the guy is doing all of the sailing and the woman is staring off into the distance with body language that says, "Oh, Mr. Wonderful, take me away with you, please."
So, what happened to that nice, simple boat you could sail all by yourself?
Well, new Catalina 30's were sold to people moving up from little itty bitty boats. And those people went to the boat show to see all of the big boats.
At the boat show there were a lot of big boats. And some of those boats were yachts. You could tell the yachts from the boats because the yachts were the ones with the steering wheels. Great big gleaming stainless steel steering wheels. The bigger the wheel, the better the yacht.
And people who were moving up from little itty bitty boats to a great big boat and who went to the boat show thought,
"Why should I spend all of this money on a mere boat when I can get a yacht instead?"
And this was not lost on the clever marketing folks who sell Catalinas. They could sell a lot more Catalina 30's if they turned the simple Catalina 30 from a boat into a yacht.
But how could they do that?
Exactly - by adding a great big gleaming stainless steel steering wheel where the tiller used to be.
The Great Wheel of O Dock, which has, for generations, separated helmspeople from their sail controls.
Presto, instant yacht.
But the clever marketing folks at Catalina didn't stop there.
They knew that people who buy yachts eat canapés and watercress sandwiches. Everyone knows that.
And nothing can be more inconvenient, when you're trying to eat canapés and watercress sandwiches in the cockpit of your yacht, than to have the mainsheet and a bulky traveller getting in the way.
So, if this was to be a proper yacht, those would have to go.
It turns out that you can move the mainsheet to the middle of the boom if you add 26 fiddle blocks and ratchet blocks and bullet blocks and turning blocks and route the sheet forward to the mast, down the mast, through a rope clutch, and back to the front of the cockpit by adding another 26 turning blocks. Of course, with all of the leverage you lose by putting the sheet in the middle of the boom and with all the friction those 52 blocks add, you now need a winch to crank the sheet in.
Oh well, yacht owners don't mind that. They can just have the steward or the sommelier crank in the main a bit on their way down below to fetch some more watercress sandwiches.
Because if one of those yacht owners is actually steering from behind the great big gleaming stainless steel steering wheel, there's no way in heck they're going to be able to reach the mainsheet or the traveller controls from there.
So a boat that one person used to be able to sail single-handed became a yacht that requires a steward and a sommelier to sail.
(Wait, don't tell me you're going to Google 'sommelier'. That's just one of those snooty French guys whose job it is to guide you to the most expensive wine on the winelist.)
Of course, the clever marketing folks at Catalina have thought of a way around all of that. After turning this into a yacht that requires a steward and a sommelier to sail and charging you for a lot of fiddle blocks and ratchet blocks and bullet blocks and turning blocks and a winch you don't need, they will happily sell you something that turns all of that back into a boat that one person can sail all by themselves.
And that, of course, would be an autopilot.
At the moment, though, I can't think of why anyone in his right mind would want an autopilot.
Of course, I'm not in my right mind. I'm mad.
Maybe I should hire a sommelier.