As a result of the mentioning of Oceanus I read the tread about Bill Garden when he deceased in April 2011.
In there was a valuable exchange of opinions between Bob and Tad Roberts about Bill.
Tad wrote to Bob among many other things: "Well as you know the real magic is in creating a "character" design that is just short of cartoonish, it's so easy to drop over that edge. Garden was a master at skirting the edge but never going over."
I think this is so true and gave real credit to the natural, almost nonchalance, organic flair of Bill Garden's designs.
There is also this kind of magic when I see pictures of Francis Lee. Apart from the here more or less general confusion to recognize the bow from the stern there is some nice puzzlement with me regarding the dimensions of the Sliver. Sometimes when there are no apparent things in the direct setting of the boat that immediately give away the real dimensions I can happily see a 30 or 40 foot boat, before I realize again thats 60 feet of very nice sliverishness.
A short story about a prize application of faux wood when I was racing "Skûtsjes" some 30 years ago.
In that time a lot of skûtsjes were again restored and were rediscovered to be great fun to race.
As ever everything took more time and money then anticipated and it was decided to put the rig of another boat on the one we were supposed to race. Only the skûtsje we were racing was 16 m and the Tjalk we took the entire rig of was 23 m and had on the gooseneck a big hydraulic cylinder mounted with large steel sleeve on the 25 -30 cm diameter massive oregon boom to be able to put some workable pressure as outhaul on the loose footed main which of course was a big no no in very conservative skûtsje-raceland.
On the day of the first race everything was ready . We didn't have had a single day of practice and the end of the boom only stuck out some 4.5 m past the rudder (which was only allowed because it wasn't mentioned in the rules) but the big hydraulic cylinder with the steel sleeve was invisible…. apart from some rubber hoses coming out of the (faux) wood The faux wood was so realistically applied by the artist owner of the skûtsje that even some of the crew never noticed this faux feature.
We didn't even do that bad during the regattas and sometimes surprised everybody with the still legendary spurts of speed the boat reached at moments only to be beaten by the entirely new to crew handling of the boat at the buoys. Of course we made sure a small but efficient, innocent whistling, crowd gathered around the man working the biggish handle on the hydraulic pump when some outhaul to flatten the main was needed.
The racing was challenging at moments, not to say hairy with the 140m2 main and 80m2 jib if I remember the numbers well, but we sailed and learned a lot.
Another small detail with the motley crew was that of course everyone had a dog or dogs. On the more windy days we simply couldn't afford to leave someone to watch & tame the dogs as everybody was needed to tame the boat.
So the 15 or so very varied dogs, from Newfoundlanders, Pit-Bulls, Chow-Chow's and many more big and small undefined species were left on the anchored de-rigged talk to take care of themselves. When the racing was done we would look through binoculars if there were possibly any casualties. Never..they were always happy quietly lounging aboard which changed of course the moment we stepped back on board.
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