This is without a doubt one of my favorite pictures I have ever seen. Everything about it describes the quiet dignity of the true romance of sailing. Hank on yankee cut jibs, batten-less main, tan bark. Every sailmaker on the planet will tell you the error of your ways using this set up. Slow, tender, shorter life… the interesting thing is that rumor has it that Ron never lost a race to a BCC in his life.
My dream is to pull the mast and paint it mahogany yellow. A new suit of tan bark yankee cut sails, no battens in the main, no headboard and a teeny tiny tri sail. My. Bonus sail would be a drifter or a new asym.
We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What I find beautiful is simplicity. Minimal electrical systems, simple sail set up, wide decks and soft curvy lines. I understand the necessity for an inboard engine but seriously doubt I’ll ever have one. To me the heart and soul of a sailboat lies in her rig and design. Clean, simple interiors, rich wood, lantern light and a cozy layout. Systems make me crazy, I hate installing them, paying for them and maintaining them. The most complex system on Sookie is her galley sink, a few clamps and a hose.
Water comes from my 2 gallon gravity feed tank. Hot water comes from my tea kettle. Light comes in many forms from my soft white incandescent lamps to bronze lanterns, 12 hours a day it comes from the sun. I don’t live in my boat, I just sleep in it, I live on the planet earth and it has plenty of space for my needs. I chucked the cedar bucket years ago and went modern with a plastic one which I have grown to love.
There is an old saying measure twice, cut once. On sookie it’s more like measure 100 times and then think about it for a few years. She is perfectly functional as she is so any changes take me a very long time to get to. Her sails fill dozens of pages in my log book. Sookie isn’t just a boat, she is a work of art, so slowly and surely I make progress.
I’ve wanted to add a roller to sookie now for years, that 5’ bow-sprite gets pretty exciting at times. The staysail and tri are no brainers. The jib and main have me torn. Yes I know tan bark stretches more as do batten-less sails. I know roller furling makes sailing easier. Again size is a huge factor, that roller is heavy and adds quite a bit of windage aloft. It also makes for easy reefing and sail storage, keeps me on deck and in a pinch can help sookie point a bit higher. On my flicka I would roll out just a smidge in higher winds to help keep her nose up. Everything is a trade off but it’s almost time to start writing checks so I need to figure it all out.
When I get lost in it all I refer back to this picture and all the things that made me fall in love with this lifestyle. To be on the water, to see and feel things I’ve never experienced, to live a ferrel and wild yet civilized life. I’ve always loved living as close to the edge as I can, close enough to peer over without falling. The challenge has always been in less stuff more experience.
When it comes to outfitting sookie money has never been factored in, if I can’t afford it I’ll live without it till I can. It’s hard to think about but I might be hanging up my bicycle for a little bit so i focus on the blurry aspect of the refit.
Any damn fool can motor around on a ship. The ocean from the deck of a small boat will instill in you both fear and beauty that can’t be realized in the depths of your mind. There is no movie, there are no books… your all alone out there and nobody is coming to get you. The sea is indifferent to your suffering. Heavy weather can be a challenge yet the closest I’ve ever come to loosing my boat was in the calmest weather I have ever seen. You never stop learning, while it may get easier it also becomes more difficult. When I was younger I thought that with experience my fear of the sea would diminish. What a fool I was, with each and every mile I learn more about what the sea is and her cruel nature. The challenge isn’t in avoiding it, this is an impossibility. The challenge is to flow with it, to live so close that it flows through your veins. This is where I live.