So, is this nice or what?!
17 June 2012 | Me:Thailand. Boat: Mexico
People who fabricate lovely things from materials which seem quite incongruous to the form of the finished article, are the superstars of the engineering field.
Any clown can draw a nice boat; that isn't to say the boat will do as it is expected to do, such as float on an even keel with good fore and aft balance. A marine architect can overcome that though, by applying the tried and tested physics of displacement, aquadynamics (hydrodynamics?) and the physical principles which together can produce a boat which will work in a predictable manner as long as someone knows how to get the finished product into the water, as a working sailboat, after merely looking at a set of drawings.
Consider the form of the hull displayed in the photograph above. Someone designed it, drew it then wandered down to the boatworks and said in a Dutch accent "Hey there Hans, can you build this here yacht for the wealthy Pommy sailor"?
Hans obviously said "ja" and dutifully got to work, way back in 1963.
I know little about steel fabrication beyond what I have seen on a weird American show called Orange County Choppers. Apparently it involves a lot of arguing, an even greater amount of horsing around, throwing stuff at walls, sleeping on the job, divorce, and swearing at your kids.
I somehow doubt that Hans used the same formula when he was charged with producing this beautiful thing, but no matter how he did it; he did it well. Compound curves, fine creases and long slow, delicate arcs along the transom, the gunwhales, the coach house and keel. How does one form such smooth lines from steel which, as it is a custom plan, cannot be stamped out en masse?
I reiterate my great respect and admiration for the facilitators. The designer is of course, important. But the truly difficult work, the art, the passion, the sweat....and maybe just a little bit of swearing at the kids or the family pooch, is done by the Hans's of the world.
And those of us who can then sit back and enjoy looking at, or engage in guiding that art across the seas, can honestly say that the artisans who laboured hard and long helped make our lives immeasurably better.
And that is a good thing.