Monday, November 2, 2009


An essay I once read postulated that two technological improvements of the last 100 years have actually improved our lives: modern medicine and recorded music. Rapid transportation, automobiles, television, the internet - all overrated and even inimical to our content.

A similar argument might be made about sailing in the twenty-first century. Three improvements I will unhesitatingly grant you: electronic position finding, radar and the depth sounder. While there is a modest charm to navigating in zero visibility, without electronics fear soon becomes the overwhelming characteristic of such sailing. I own a sounding lead, and have used it when my depth sounder was out, but I like knowing where the bottom is at a glance!

And I like synthetic ropes and sails. I am too young to have sailed with manilla and cotton, but all that careful drying and tending sounds like a pain. Although I was told once that a flaked out soft cotton jib was wonderful for a nap . . .

But as for laptops, smart phones, even outboard dingies, I'm not so sure. Each adds a level of complexity, complication and frustration that I go to sea to leave. Look at the folks in the picture, circa late 50's or early 60's. The essence of why we go to sea is here: a fresh breeze and a fine reach, companionship, and relief from the pressures and complications that beset us the moment we step ashore. Isn't the idea to get away from complications, not to carry them with us?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Site Meter