Women Take a Bow
The Allure and the Lure
Over the years I have observed how women gravitate to bows. Bows are boat chick magnets. But I have also realized how this lure entraps males into the web of illusions. It is men who are the ones bowing; they have usually been the ones who purchase the boats. So do they deserve credit for having designs on and for their women?
Men build a bow. Women take a bow. When women board a boat, they take the bow. When women take a bow, they own it. They take it on. They often become one with it. They become it. It then becomes them.
Shipbuilders have often designed sailboats with women in mind. Many of the most beautiful sailboats possess subtle, smooth, curvaceous and seductive lines. Though functional reasons may have been the initial priority, these boat architects instinctively knew women gravitate to beauty. That is another reason boat bows, fore decks and catamaran trampolines draw a feminine reaction.
Every boat bow is designed to reduce the resistance of the hull cutting through water and is usually tall enough to prevent water from easily washing over the top of it. On slower ships like tankers, a fuller bow shape is used to maximise the volume of the ship for a given length.
A "wet bow" results from seawater washing over the top of the hull. A raked stem can help to reduce the wetness of the bow. Aside from making the deck slippery, water can corrode the metal of the ship. If the temperature is low enough this water can also freeze on the deck, rails, turrets, and other exposed surfaces, increasing the topside weight.
Many a ship from older eras carved a female figurehead or mermaid-likeness and positioned her figure at its bow. Ever since the beginning of seaMANship, boat owners / builders / skippers have commissioned and christened their vessel with a woman's name.
Maybe many sailors' inspirations and reasons for existence derived from their love of women, so maybe a female bow figure at the prow of their ship was such a reminder. Not many of the figureheads were maternal images; most were curvaceous depictions of male fantasies - sea nymphs, mermaids or saucy lasses. Likely, men have seen their ships as female companions - by such a personification men can demonstrate their love - while they were at sea. Woman obviously lead the way. Men want them to guide their bows.
While bows attract anchoring, sail-changing and watch activities, they actually enchant many romantic, testful or meditative impulses. Possibly the bow's elevation and water's expansiveness heightens the intrigue and awe. Maybe it is a bow's proximity to the sea...and its breadth and breath-taking beauty. Possibly, bows offer a perfect public/private open air spot to commune with the sea or connect with a special someone. After all, bows offer ideal witnessing for upcoming ship-sightings, horizon-gazing and sun-setting. In relatively calm seas many passengers gravitate to the front of a ship. One often feels most free and relaxed on a boat's bow in those conditions. And maybe all of these factors and more are why women are so drawn to the bow...it makes them fly...alive with romantic flight!
Brenna sunning on Mystique's trampoline with Great Sandy Cay, Turks in the distance.
Men often venture up to this female domain, if not to get a closer look at the beautiful view, to adjust some lines, secure a halyard or two, help apply sun-tanning lotions, fulfill beverage requests or snap photos.
Sunfish sail shading the foredeck at Southside Marina, Providenciales, Caicos