Of Differing Tastes
I am a woman of very particular tastes, especially when it comes to food. And I’m not talking about a five-star dining palette, as I enjoy a good wing night with the best of them. I’m talking about my British parents raising me on meat and potatoes so that the only spice my poor body can take is salt.
Considering this, it strikes me as incredibly ironic that my college internship was at Canadian Living magazine – arguably best known for its Test Kitchen. Several times a week, staffers would be rounded up mid-afternoon to partake in the cast-offs from a day of testing and re-testing recipes. Unfortunately, this job perk – one that many would rank up there with full benefits – was completely and utterly lost on me… with the exception of some heavenly confections.
So why bring this up? Well, here at Boats&Places, we devote roughly a third of our year to boat testing. We start with a wish list of boats in June or July; spend August, September and October pairing testers and boats around a very fickle Mother Nature; and then sprint for the finish in November, corralling write-ups and tracking down missing specs, prices and photos. Needless to say, it’s a hefty task.
Over the years, many colleagues, friends and readers have asked about this part of my job. "How do you say bad stuff about boats that you test?" After all, isn’t that what testing is all about? Well, no, not exactly. You see, just like some people prefer seafood while others can’t stand the mere smell of fish cooking, some want a Frank’s red hot sauce while others are happy with a smoky barbecue, boats cater to the wide spectrum of boaters’ tastes.
A family who are watersports fanatics and a family with a water-access cottage have very different needs. A bass fisherman looking for speed and manoeuvrability may scoff at a pontoon equipped for the recreational fisherman. And budgets are always spread well across the board.
My point is that buying anything is about compromise with the final decision boiling down to taste. And both are completely subjective. As such, our test team tries to objectively offer the facts. Leaving the reader to make a list of wants, prioritize those criteria and then make a judgment call on what boat ticks the most boxes.
We are just purveyors. Recognizing our tastebuds are distinctive, we simply present the buffet, leaving the reader to fill the plate.
Enjoy the meal!