Monday, March 21, 2005

Minimal Sailboats

A pithy proverb explains that ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss,’ but what’s the connection with boats? Boats roll and stones have been used as ballast since vessels first sailed the seas. In terms of minimalism there could be nothing more minimal than a canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk, complete with stone ballast. Such a craft rigged with a tiny sail will move across the water effortlessly. She can be steered by positioning the ballast, moving the crew, or by using a paddle.

In our industrial age, modern hi-tech materials and sophisticated machinery facilitate the design of complex sailing boats such as Ellen MacArthur’s trimaran, ‘B & Q-Castorama’. Although extremely exciting and exceptionally fast, the building of this boat required huge resources, large quantities of materials and components, thousands of man hours for her construction and dedicated teams to ensure success. The trimaran’s accommodation was minimal, but everything else was far from minimal!

Choices revolve around needs, motivations, desires and ambitions, but they are all subject to the resources available and the prevailing circumstances, e.g., victims of the recent tsunami would be very pleased with a minimal fishing boat made from a coconut tree, but those who live in more prosperous lands such as the USA or wealthier parts of Europe are not constrained by a lack of resources, instead they have bewildering choices.

This freedom of choice is the crux of the matter. People are free to make wise or unwise choices, but if they use the principle of priorities they will make wise choices. Unfortunately many do not understand the need to conserve expendable natural resources such as rain forests; neither do they understand the need to minimize the adverse effect of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and therefore they do not choose eco-friendly choices. This is clearly seen in those who prefer resource-zapping vessels such as huge motor yachts, but sailors in the Western World who understand and care about the priority of conservation will make right choices - they will be very satisfied with their minimal sailboats.


Minimal Folding Proa.

Outrigger Sailing Canoe.

Definition of a Minimal Sailboat.

Kellan Hatch’s CLC Mill Creek 16.5.

Flying Pig.


Acadia Conversion.

50/50 Canoe Caleb.

Paradox Cruiser.

Sri Lanka Proas.

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