Chasing ghosts, bad for the soul

John Welsford, designer of my boat, among many others, writes:

Almost all of us have within us a need to be creative, a need to make things, and a need for a connection to reality. Too many of us are confined for 40/50 hours a week within a cubicle shuffling paper, and the fact that much of this paper is now digital on screen removes it even further from reality. I call this sort of occupation “chasing ghosts” and am sure that its very bad for the soul.

We evolved over half a million years or so to do a certain job, but its no longer possible to go out and hunt down a mammoth or a sabre toothed tiger, for most its no longer practical to go out and build pyramids or even to build yourself a house so we're trapped in a role that we're not made for. So, to build a boat is a gentle refuge from the unrelieved stress of our daily grind, a place where the hands and the head can work together as our evolution intended, and where we can create something special that contains something that connects with our heart. Something that has a personality, a soul and which, when complete will be able to return some of the care and skill that went into its creation thus filling a need, a need that keeps us happy and (relatively) sane.

As I see it, boatbuilding is a hobby apart from sailing, connected but separate, if a man just wants to go sailing its quicker and cheaper to buy something off eBay and go, but to sail something that you've created from a heap of raw materials is very special. To design that, and to see others build and sail our “babies” is a buzz that is beyond description.

John is the designer of many fine boats. Why not build one? Image: A Welsford Light Dory via Fyne Boats who sell plans in the UK.

 

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About Osbert Lancaster

Creating ripples to foster sustainability. Seeking solace & clarity on the sea by sail & oar.

One comment

  1. theresa

    I’m bringing a wooden 1957 Snipe back to life. Nowhere near building a boat from scratch as you are doing, but Simone is my baby, and by working on her with patience and love , I hope to get her on the water this spring. I love your photos and comments. Thank you !

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