Re: Sail & Oar Homogenization / Why I'd Never Want A Snooty Tern.
Tim's right about the "loyalty" thing. I have no loyalty whatsoever to stuff, only loyalty to people (and for that matter only to some people).
You don't end up building over three dozen boats on your quest towards finding yourself just the right boat if you're easy to satisfy or cheerfully uncritical. On the contrary, I am cheerfully very, very critical indeed, which I think has turned out to be a good thing, or else I might still be laboring away under the dead weight of one of those sharpies or dories and suchlike that I had built along the road to redemption.
Rowan sorta shocked me when I realized three months after her launch that I didn't have any other boats in mind for the next one. I had finally found one that pushed every button and filled every slot. It was a bizarre experience. I think I was kind of mopey and at a loss for what to do with myself in my shop for a time. I ended up building some furniture and aimless crap like that to stave off the feelings of rootlessness in my shop routine.
So Rowan is kind of a Holy Grail for me. I like her a whole lot--if you hadn't guessed. But she's definitely not the right boat for everyone. She's overcanvassed for solo sailing, has no place to mount an outboard, is neither docile nor relaxed enough to be safe for a casual sailor, won't fit in a standard garage without a swinging-arm trailer tongue. . . .
I think my enthusiasm for her is occasionally intemperate, especially when I forget that not everyone has the same goals or desires that I do. I can get carried away.
But I'm not sentimental. I love the look of three-strand rope and tricksy splices and marlinspikery and homemade wooden blocks and all that, but I deep-sixed all of that stuff I had made on Rowan once I was convinced of the performance advantages of Stay-Set X double-braid. I've carved up my beautiful figured-wood thwarts to make it easier to sleep aboard. I snit-canned my glorious bronze Herreshoff anchor in favor of a Danforth that stows easier and sets better in my typical anchoring conditions. All of these things just passed my threshold of what I was willing to compromise in performance for the sake of aesthetics. . . .your own mileage will of course vary.
And I would sell Rowan in an instant if I found a design I liked better. So far it hasn't happened, and as much as I like Eric's HV-16, there are a few details that would likely eliminate the 19 outright for my own needs. If a meteor fell from the sky and crushed Rowan to smoldering shards tonight, I would almost certainly build a Rowan Mark II that is nearly identical in most ways, except for a few minor tweaks.
In fact, since I enjoy building boats every bit as much as using boats, maybe I should just sell Rowan after the boat show this September and build myself a fresh one. Take that, "loyalty"!
Amphibious Macroplankton Oughtredia doublendus
Mostly found frequenting the littoral and estuarine zones in the southern half of the Salish Sea, though sightings have been recorded both north and south of this area, and occasionally, but rarely, inland, in freshwater environments. This species lives on micro-brewed beer and dutch-oven biscuits,and displays brightly colored nylon and gore-tex plumage during the rainy season. Approach with caution!