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The lure of the square meter

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  • The lure of the square meter

    Yesterday in another thread I wrote the following, which is oversimplifying things a bit:

    „From my point of view the right boat for men who want wooden beauty above anything else is a square meter. Either 30 or 50. Everything else is compromise!

    True stunners, really, for pure beauty few girls can compete. And they can sail!!! Close hauled to reaching they will outsail most everything you will meet on the water. In real style. Healing over a bit (or a bit more) and then accelerating. Winning 15 to 20 minutes per hour on your average week end racing cruisers. They don't go over waves, they (at least partially) go right through them. Call it wave piercing. Far more comfortable motion than any lightweight flat bottomned whatever. So to say the big sisters of the Dark Harbour. Yes, we are talking about the dark side of sailing here. You didn't know there was one? Well, there is - the square meter class. Well sailed they have won against J's under handicap. Met two owners years ago, both divorced, both living on the boat. Which is ok, because with two people on bord it gets a bit cramped and anything beyond that would be challenging to say the least. The wifes tend to understand - and leave. They simply can not compete.

    I guess after a few years the lure will wear off, its a bit cold in winter and so on. Then you will be ripe for glass, a new girl, a 9 to 5 and a semi detached.

    Just joking of course.

    The lure will not wear off! But you will feel your joints more and more with all the rheuma and then you will have to realize, that it is your duty beyond anything else to pass this beautifull lady on to a younger man who can look after her until he gets too old as well.

    This is the secret of the square meter class. A secret only revealed to wooden boat owners. You may not reveal this secret to someone who owns, operates or prefers fibre glass boats. And never to anybody who does so at his wifes request. The square meter is a boat for men who don't make compromises.“

    As I said, this is oversimplifying. Lets look at the whole issue a bit closer.

    Of course the square meters are boats. And boats are things. They don't live. They are not evil. Quite the opposite. Square meters are racing boats. They are beautifull racing boats. Thoroughbreds. They were quite many. A fleet of sisters. Of stunning sisters. And - the wizzards who designed them gave them the ability to bewitch men.

    The promise the square meters gave was „take me out on the sea and we can play with the wind and the waves and race nearly everything in sight into the ground“. Whilst playing with the wind and the waves and racing nearly everything in sight into the ground, these ladies turned many an innocent boy who boarded them into an experienced man.

    Square meters were used to lure men away from their homes and families, their fathers farms, their young brides, sometimes their little children, to become naval officers. Men, often without a marine background, who, but for the square meters, would never have discovered their love for the sea and might never have signed on. To race such boats would simply have been unaffordable for most young men who sailed them, if these boats hadn't been owned by the state. Many of them died a few years later on the submarines and battle ships they crewed and commanded. There is no free lunch.

    So big was the lure of these boats, that even Churchill fell for them. Many of the square meters were taken to Great Britain (Windfall Yachts) where the young British men spent far more time maintaining and sailing them then was good for the British economy. The Germans now had time again to work in their factories. In the sixties and seventies, the German economy kept going up and the British started to go down. All because of the square meters. (Ok, there is some argument on this point between those historians who sail wooden boats and those who just research paper).

    Some day, you may see one of the remaining ones. You will ask someone: „What boat is that beautifull one over there?“ You may get the answer „50 square meter“. It's your decision if you step closer or just turn and run. If you are not very rich but leading a happy life with a wife you love, a home you enjoy, take my advice and run. You are still there? You are coming closer? You look through her misty portholes deep into her soul, seeing the shadows of the men who have loved her slender body before you? Suddenly you have the idea in your head that it would be nice to take this lady out to sea, to play with the wind and the waves and race nearly everything in sight into the ground? Ah, well, she has done it again. She can't help herself. You are bewitched. You will spend all your spare time doing the necessary maintenance and repairs, caressing her buttocks, submerging yourself in her moist bilge, your ripcage touching hers, feeling the coolness of her skin, smelling her, toiling away on your knees and your belly, spending your money and yourself on her. Find out the asking price, then go and see your bank manager about a home secured loan. Buy her, pack your things, tell your wife about the home secured loan and run.

    The square meter will keep her promise: Take me out on the sea and we can play with the wind and the waves and race nearly everything in sight into the ground.

    [ 04-17-2005, 04:40 AM: Message edited by: Henning 4148 ]

  • #2
    One of the great things about this forum is that we don't all have to accumulate the same scar tissue.
    AJ Zimm


    • #3
      Mr Henning 4148 has boat lust real bad.
      I understand to a point - I have a 22 sq metre and am generally seen as a deviant among my boat owning friends. Here is a photo - in B&W, but that is what my neo-Luddite wife prefers. A calm day on the harbour, no wave piercing required.


      • #4
        VIVI. still not launched I hear.

        [ 04-18-2005, 12:39 AM: Message edited by: John B ]


        • #5
          I understand how you feel. I just got off of my Dragon an hour ago after racing her for the first time. I am being honest when I say that I had so many people sail by before the race and complement us on the boat that I was having a hard time thinking about what I was doing out there. It's harder than I thought it would be to be gracious and prep for a serious race at the same time.

          Anyway, I've had a love for the long overhangs all of my sailing life. I saw my first Dragon as a teenager sailing Lightnings in New Orleans and never got over it. Now, 25 years and more later, I own my own Dragon and what a thrill it was to race her today in a steady 15 knot breeze. Beautiful.

          How much is anything worth? Is it worth it to sacrifice to own a day boat with an incredible amount of maintenance? It is to me. That's about all that I can say about it. It is worth it to me.

          Mickey Lake
          'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'


          • #6
            Caprice ex Reimers ex Caprice.

            She has a plank added I think. quick quick quick. we couldn't catch her in 25 knots in january. Mind you she had 3 on board .. we had 11. I should hope we'd show her the way in the light.fingers crossed.
            Interesting history. I think she was built here. What I was told was that she wasn't competitive in the local racing fleet so Chris Bouzaid hotted her up with more sail. He sold her to build Rainbow II, the S and S one ton cup champ from 1970.
            another bit of her history. circa 1983 or 5 she struck a rock and sank in fairly deep water. When they dived to salvage her she was sitting upright on her keel on the bottom , sails set to the tide.. erie to see he said.

            [ 04-17-2005, 10:23 PM: Message edited by: John B ]


            • #7
              The other one is a german boat called leuchtkafer( spelling.... something like that). she's one of the boats taken after WWII . she made her way here and got very badly run down. she had a destructive restoration in the 80's where they skinned a hog into her and re rigged and cabinned her to look like some sort of horror show. I don't know where she is now. She was bigger than a 30 sq. Perhaps a 50.

              [ 04-18-2005, 12:52 AM: Message edited by: John B ]


              • #8
                Another one. bit of a wreck. Hjalmaren she is called

                she's a south african one a Kiwi found in the seychelles .He's had it shipped here in a container. That necessitated chopping the counter off but considering the state of it and as its all to be rebuilt to VIVI standard, thats not a problem.

                [ 04-18-2005, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: John B ]