Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats
To me, as an architect of buildings, the design process is iterative with multiple loops before I get to a final design. It starts at a very functional level, creating a written understanding of the project goals and constraints. Checking out views, privacy issues, solar and prevailing breezes, as well as other site constraints. That first step always feels cold and mathematical. It feels like being forced to eat the vegetables before you can have desert. But then starts the conceptual stage, rolling the pieces and parts around in my mind- a sense of joyful play with a mental rubek cube organizing the pieces and parts to solve the functional puzzle and in the process, beginning to mentally develop the aesthetics of the design. Often I have the design clear in my head before putting pencil to paper in earnest. That said, like many architects and designers of my generation, I visualize in three dimensional sketches and I will produce small sketches as a way of organizing my thinking and retaining parts of an idea. Even my earliest thought process tries to consider the technical aspects of how a design can be constructed to a relatively high level of detail. By the time the design gets drafted as a schematic design, I usually understand how such practicalities as structure, materials, heating and cooling, etc. will work.
This conceptual stage of the project is the most joyful for me, but a also the most stressful. I see this stage as being drought with traps. The most creative part of me, sees a wide array of potential directions but the realistic side knows I can only pursue one of these. There is always this leap of faith that I will have chosen the right one.
Any designer worth their salt understands the tightrope walking without a net that is involved in being creative for a living, and having to be creative on demand. It is the challenge, tension and ecstasy of what we do. But it is this moment that is my favorite part of what I do. But I also truly enjoy getting to know most of my clients. I also really enjoy solving and inventing technical solutions to make the project's aesthetic objectives technically sound.
As to the row away factor, I love beautiful boats. I love seeing them. They bring joy to my day. But oddly enough, my view of my own boat's are closer to Brent's even though our tastes are clearly different than Brent's. But to me a boat is simply a tool, a very sophisticated tool, but a tool none the less. It's reason for being is to function well in the ways it was designed to be used.
But like any well designed tool, there is an appealing aesthetic that derives from the simple visual expression of the purposeful sinew and muscle that makes that tool work well. I know this to result in a very different row away aesthetic sense than you might find in the sailing community at large. And that is okay with me since I also appreciate the more normally accepted sense of aesthetics as long as it's not my boat.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay