Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Here is a quote from First You Have to Row a Little Boat by R. Bode. It describes a piece of my views of sustainability and it's relationship to sailing. The A-cat is a very specific type of boat, bred and born for a purpose. It lies within the boundaries of sustainability because if it did not, the class would cease to exist. The boundaries are firmly set (and tested) by sailors each year.
My boat will be smaller, simpler and more comfortable than an A-cat. I can not commit to the capital (~15K) that an A-cat requires of their syndicate each year in upkeep. My boat will not burden my resources, but the maintenance costs will be subscribed to and planned for by building and design plans based on minimizing those costs. My boat will allow the observation of nature at a more moderate pace than an A-cat, perhaps losing some of the adrenaline rush, but gaining in the smaller successes of getting across the line rather than being first to finish. There is room for both. Both are sustainable. Both use the same power source.

"What I didn't know was that I was also developing a consciousness, an acute awareness of the relationship between myself and the elements over which I had no control. God gave the wind. It might blow from the east, west, north, or south. It might gust; it might fall off to practically nothing. It might leave me dead becalmed. I didn't pick the wind, that was a power far greater than myself. But I had to sail the wind--against it, with it, sideways to it; I had to wait it out with the patience of Job when it didn't blow -- if I wanted to move myself from where I was to where I wanted to go.
"As humans, we live with the the constant presumption of dominion. We believe that we own the world, that it belongs to us, that we have it under our firm control. But the sailor knows all too well the fallacy of this view. The sailor sits by his tiller, waiting and watching. He knows he is not sovereign of earth and sky, any more than the fish in the sea or the birds in the air. He responds to the subtle shiftings of the wind, the imperceptible ebbings of the tide. He changes course. He trims his sheets. He sails."

This is written so well. We work with what we are given and try not to waste any along the way.

1 comment:

Professor Fleming said...

Wendy...these are interesting comments, especially at the end of teh passage...the part about sailors knowing that we are not in control of nature is pretty strong..i wonder if you can incoprorate some of this in your paper, and cite your source of course