Gulp, what kind words. Thank you. As you have likely noted the wide and deep piece of how I approach my public words is tinged with a bit of apprehension in that I never wish to come off as self promoting, just sharing.
Anything I have done is hardly original, I observe and reckon I stand on the shoulders of sailing giants far more skilled than I. This said I acknowledge little of what I see in the world as actually original in that we are all influenced by the palette of colors that paint our lives, by the works of others, by our experiences of influence. I look at my boat modifications and know she in all her purposefulness has direct lineage back to Blagden, Manry and many others and they in turn as humble men were influenced by others preceding them.
I scan around at my inner landscape and the motivations that drive me forward and I do see originality of aspiration to go out there however misdirected but then originality is always that way seemingly misdirected. At first oft branded crazy stuff, or out of step with normal, etc.
I will always remember seeing the SCAMP design (and I was one of the first to see it) and within about a minute (literally) I knew the boat inside and out, I could feel it. I was in Micronesia at the moment and recall phoning Josh Colvin to order two kits, he seemed a bit shocked (I think). I am a lover of beauty in all things but none more so than boats.
I am all about graceful sheer lines, bring you to tears bows, seductive sterns, classics. In SCAMP I could see past her pram bow (having already faced down the idea by sailing Fireballs, and Mirror Dinghy's) and got it in the over all sum of the parts way. I saw a simple form/function beauty that speaks to me still. She by any measure is a bit of a Guinness Stout (an acquired taste not for all) sweetened with a hint of hibiscus flower.
I knew when ordering SCAMP kits that friends from my sailing world would likely laugh at the choice and I didn't care a whit because I believed the boat would speak for itself over time. Little did I know she would become so popular. I have trailed along nicely in the process for there are some real sailors out there who have elected to build or buy a SCAMP. Good affirmation for a daring early adopter.
You have noted my contributions and Johns............I say pay real attention (do your best to ignore the puns) to his, mine are bush league, every man sort of stuff but I do thank you.
I may be a bit like the blind squirrel as analogy, as in "even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and again" and I believe in this manner I have found one of the last genuinely untrammeled places left on our over worked planet. These being the southwest islands of Tierra del Fuego. I looked into these dark foreboding islands from far west on the Beagle Channel back when I had more hair atop my head and dreamed of some day, well so many of those have come and gone so it's shake up my life and go for it.
Aside from the commons of the oceans and the same commons of the Antarctic/Arctic winter deserts so few places have been left alone, unmarred, truly wild and likely for good reason. I am excited to sail and equally fearful of doing so in such a dangerous place yet in this cocktail of opposites I find a wild attraction and an over coming process each day as the set sail date approaches.
I'll do my best and this means quietly marching to my own drummer however that plays out.
Thanks again Dirk, very much appreciate your words however underserved.
Sterling Hayden sums up voyaging motivation quite nicely.
"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
- Sterling Hayden (Wanderer, 1973)
Dirk Visser 166 wrote:Hello Howard,
I know you are busy guys, and am very impressed with the " due diligence" and creative energy both you and John W. pay in crafting contributions to the various small boat forums and publications.
As I read your current SCA column ("Out There"), and recent posts, http://thepocketyacht.blogspot.com, I see that you are consistently going deep and long with the wide-ranging backstory and prep details of the upcoming Southern Cross expedition.
Let me just affirm what you are hearing from many others: This is a world class work in progress, reportage befitting a timeless adventure, and loaded with meaning for all small boat sailors, and truth be told, ordinary people with imagination, everywhere.
While you say that the microdetails of all the planning and strategy might keep you yourself orientated in this complex on-the-grid world we share, rest assured there is inspirational soothing, grounding, and enlightening power here for your empathetic and enthusiastic readership as well..!
Hopes are that your dedication won't waver in this beautiful and risky endeavor ...but know personally that howsomayever it ultimately plays out, the success is profound simply by the positive audacity of your vision, attention to experience-based detail, realistic expectations, excellent narrative, and has already been made real for many of us...!
"The world is nature, and in the long run inevitably wild, because
the wild, as the process and essence of nature, is also an ordering
Gary Snyder, "The Practice of the Wild" (1990)