We have just returned from a holiday in Croatia – not sailing, but walking, busing and ferrying along the Dalmatian coast and through the islands – another opportunity to wander around small harbours, (some very small indeed), looking at boats.
I am fired up with a new enthusiasm. In the face of some of the more elegant and expansive examples of modern yachting (of which more later), I understand why Blue Mistress suits me and have an inkling how to evolve with her over the next few years.
I come from the Robin Knox-Johnson first era – (his first circumnavigation, rather than his second), and, while watching (and enjoying) the more extreme examples of modern sailing, which a younger generation takes for granted, I am able to pause and wonder what are the things that are being lost in the rush for the new that would be worth highlighting.
There are skills and knowledge that grew over time (because they took time to grow) that will be lost in half a generation. Some are obvious, and some we do not need any more, but there are others that we will miss when they have gone. And they are less obvious than you would think.
Blue Mistress’ lines were taken from the Folkboat, (which was designed in the 1940s), but she is not such a classic boat that we can’t put some new materials and innovative ideas into her – and still have a fine boat. We can straddle the generations and see what comes out of it.
Even if we wanted to, we cannot avoid the modern – it constantly hits us in the eye. But we can take the time to look a little further, trawling beneath the surface. And wondering along a coastline, wherever you are, is doing just that. Some of the knowledge and skills I am talking about can still be found in places like the little harbour below.