Monday, August 24, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 27

Paul Simon wrote a song called, "She's Got Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes".  I think these words are meant as a sort of metaphor of how riches can separate a person from the reality of the earth when compared to a poor person walking in bare feet .... and there is the implication (which is a paradox to some modern minds ) ( and obvious and a delicious irony to others ) that the poor person connected to the earth with bare feet is somehow often richer. The bare feet enable connections with many experiences, people, ideas and things that money can't buy.

I am neither a financially poor or rich person by modern western cultural standards and in terms of connection to other aspects of my cultural context I guess I am rich in some things and poor in others. It is what it is and generally I cope adequately with my situation just like millions of others on this planet; which is another way of saying that half the time I wander around with costume jewellery on the soles of my shoes and the other half of the time I freely go bare footed.

"What has this got to do with yet more photographs of a Starling yacht restoration which after a thousand years of work is still only half finished?" I hear you ask.

I guess what I am doing is affirming the worth of small boats. I have a 30 foot keeler with a buggered motor and in need of a scrub and some anti fouling paint - time and expense. Small boats don't require this amount of time and money. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an either / or argument AND I enjoy my sailing on my yacht Mariner very much indeed, BUT! sometimes small boats just seem a bit easier and the experience of wind and wave is more immediate. (And the comparative maintenance a cinch ).

Yesterday I undercoated the Starling cockpit and varnished the cockpit slates. Why varnish this heavy duty part of the cockpit? ....... because I can, because of the aesthetic appeal of varnished mahogany and because I like the balanced look of it .......... and it's a surface that will feel great under my bare soled / souled feet.


Don said...

You have completed a very fine job. Makes me want to do up the Starling my kids sailed.
It is hanging in the shed, needs a bottom repair as it leaks round the Centreboard.
Excellent log of your journey and very helpful as well. In the meantime I am planning the haul out of my 30 footer.

Alden Smith said...

Hi Don, thank you for your comment. I hope you will continue to follow my restoration, any comment is welcome.

I am pretty happy with the restoration to date but it's more than I bargained for when I bought her on TradeMe. I have already restored a P Class but this only involved paint, varnish and a large amount of elbow grease. Replacing all the plywood on this Starling has been a major job BUT not as much hard work as building a Starling from scratch.

Tell me something about your 30 footer - what design is she??

Alden Smith said...

...... and may I encourage you to do up your Starling, small boat sailing has a lot going for it. I have noticed a couple of old guys like myself who race their Starlings at one of the local Yacht Clubs, and / or you can just go cruising with a packed lunch, a few beers and a good destination in mind.

Don said...

Hi Alden, I have been involved a few boats over time.
Still in existence is a Wellsford Janet dinghy at Taupo, mainly used to catch trout, with a 18 foot Fleetcraft in original condition.
In the hayshed is a Hartley 16 ready to sail.
And at the marina a Woolley 88 launch, I built new and launched in 2004. Love it to bits.
In need of work, I have a Flying Ant hull (needs a new bottom), the Starling (possibly a new bottom - decks are all okay) and a unfinished Townson pram (tender for launch).
I tend to collect them.

Alden Smith said...

Don, that's a great fleet to be going on with. I am a bit like you in that I like collecting them - and restoring them.

I know the Wellsford Janet dinghy it's featured in his 'Backyard Boatbuilder' book (It's listed as 'Janette' but I'm sure it's the same boat) - its a great looking dinghy.

The Hartley 16 is one hell of an old Kiwi stalwart of a boat, my brother used to own one - good solid boats that sail well.

Building a Woolley 88 launch is no mean feat - I remember the travails of building my own 30 footer back in the '70s.

I don't have any experience of Flying Ants but I think they were a reasonable option in its day as a two handed dinghy before something bigger like a Cherub.

The Townson pram will be worth finishing - all his designs are good lookers.

I have just read in the latest 'Boating World' that arrived today that the 'Tino Rawa' trust is having a two day Exhibition on the water front (Karanga Plaza, Halsey Street Auckland) of Des Townsends model yachts, dinghies and keelboat designs on 3rd / 4th October - my pick is that will be well worth a visit.

Dan Gurney said...

Varnish those floorboards! By all means. Your bare feet won't do them any harm, and they'll feel good to the soul/sole.

When I was a kid I wore Keds and PF Flyer shoes. Canvas with rubber soles... and a pattern molded into the sole (for better traction) that featured diamond shapes. I think Paul Simon may have also been talking about that kind of diamond in the soles of her shoes as another layer of meaning in his lyrics.

Alden Smith said...

Hi Dan. So very nice to have you commenting again on my Blog.
I think we have both been through the 'mill' lately. I am glad to see you looking so well in the photograph in your last blog post. I am now 2 years out from my quad-ruple heart by-pass and all is well. I had a scare a week ago when I strained my chest area by lifting too many heavy things - ended up visiting the hospital for tests. They declared me as fit as a Norwegian racing sardine.

You make a good point about diamond tread patterns on the soles of her shoes, I hadn't thought about that! As you say, "another layer of meaning in his lyrics".

I like to go barefooted in small boats and when I am kayaking. When sailing the big boat (Mariner) I usually wear a good pair of boat shoes without socks because when I rush around on deck I usually end up stubbing my toes on something. When I row ashore in the dinghy I like to go barefooted - nothing like the feeling of sea water and beautiful beach sand between my toes.