Thursday, August 21, 2014

The book shelf

While looking at my bookshelf wishing I could reread some of my library, but as if it was the first time, I picked up David Seidman's book, "THE COMPLETE SAILOR", and reread the introduction.  I will write it, in excerpts,  here for you to see and appreciate.  It is a good inspiration to read the rest of the book.

I have no permission to reprint this passage, but do so as tribute to this very worthy piece of writing. (Copyright 1994, 1995 International Marine, an imprint of The McGraw-Hill Companies)  

     There are more efficient, faster, and economical ways to travel on the water, but non as rewarding as when done under sail.  After many decades of being blown about, soaked, awed, teased and satisfied, each time I drop the mooring there is magic.  For thirty years it has stayed fresh and new.  Like a photographer who still gets a thrill out of seeing an image appear in the developing tray, it never ceases to lighten my soul when I realize that through cunning and skill I have tricked the wind into moving my boat.  There is nothing like it......Anyone can learn to sail.  That's easy enough........But there is more to sailing than...well, just sailing.  By its very nature sailing is slightly enigmatic and requires abstract thought.  You can't just press a button and go where and whenever you like.  it takes effort.  Which in turn necessitates a certain amount of involvement.  And this involvement is what being a sailor is all about.................A sailor is one who can handle a vessel of almost any type quietly and competently.  He, or she, can read the water, the current, the waves, the clouds, and even the smells.  The sailor, like any good craftsman, is at home with the tools of his trade and the elements he works in.  Becoming a sailor takes time (more than a weekend, I can promise), and it takes work.  But the time will pass all too swiftly, and the work will seem like pleasure.

I read this book early just after it came out and really enjoyed not only the writing but also the many drawings and sketches.  Somehow it seemed to be a great and practical summary of much of the other information I had gained by reading the many other books on the subject of "how to sail."  If your looking for a good refresher on sailing or to introduce somebody to the craft, I recommend this book.

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