Thursday, December 5, 2013

Simplicity afloat

One of the reasons that I think I chose to build the first three boats that I did was because of their simplicity.  That desire for simplicity was not just to accommodate my limited experience as a builder, but also, and more so, to get at the foundation of what building a boat was about.  The boats were simple in design.  The materials were simple and accessible, common, not exotic and not expensive, and mostly left over scrap or reclaimed, even the sail.

By limiting the complexity of the boats it became easier to see what the essentials of any boat was.  By some apparent law of nature it seems that the simpler and most basic brings the greater and longer lasting fulfillment.

The row in the marina basin just the other day reminded me of how pleasing that simple act can be.  I didn't want to get out of the little boat, but I didn't need to be doing much at all in it.  It was enough to just be in it, upon the water.

As I listen to, and watch people around me struggle and grumble with the complex systems of their boats, and their lives, I am reminded of why I have made the choices that I have about what boats, what systems on those boats, and how I keep them.  My goal, ultimately, is to be upon the water in a boat, being happy.  This can be attained by being in my largest boat, with all it's accommodations or in the smallest of my boats with all it's limitations and because none of my boats is so filled with complex and expensive systems I can manage to keep quite a few boats, each with it's own unique application and qualities.

"Simplicity afloat is the surest guarantee of happiness." L. Francis Herreshoff

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