Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I am currently half way through a wonderful book well known to sailing aficionados - THE COMPLEAT CRUISER, The Art, Practice and Enjoyment of Boating, by L. Francis Herreshoff (Obviously an American hence: Compleat / Complete)

L. Francis Herreshoff was the designer of the 'Rozinante' as well as many other sublimely beautiful sailboats.

I grew up with this book as it was part of my fathers somewhat large library of sailing books, but I never read it mainly because I was put off at the time by the tone of its didactic approach i.e. it is intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive. This approach often comes across in a patronizing way which is unfortunate but if you can put that to one side as I have now done, you become caught up in Herreshoffs wisdom and the wonderful values regarding sailing that Henry Thoreau himself would approve of. The values are from a simpler time but are absolutely able to be embraced today in an approach to sailing.

I shall let L. Francis Herreshoff tell the significance of Rozinantes name:

"In the first pause in the conversation, Miss Prim inquired the meaning of the names Rozinante and Sancho Panza. Weldon explained; "Rozinante was the name of  Don Quixote's steed. She was a long, thin animal but every time the Don mounted her he had remarkable adventures. Perhaps seven-eighths, of the romance of these adventures took place in Quixote's mind,  for he was a great reader of romance who rather looked down on the times in which he lived. Like Don Quixote, every time I venture out on this Rozinante I meet with great adventure and romance. Perhaps, also, seven-eighths of it takes place in my mind, but each point that I round opens up new vistas with all sorts of possibilities. Each rock or shoal which I clear has its adventures for me, for I am a very timorous sailor. As for my tender, she is named after Don Quixotes squire or companion, who followed him faithfully in his exploits and often saved him from disaster at the last moment. Sancho Panza was a short, stout individual of a dark complexion, and so is the dinghy."


Dan Gurney said...

What a gorgeous double ended 7/8's ketch! Just a work of art on the water. Thanks for sharing that. I read Eric Hiscock's books 40 years ago and at that time dreamed of long sailing voyages. But I discovered I actually enjoyed sailing on small boats much more than large ones, so stayed in a series of Lasers most of my sailing life.

Alden Smith said...

There is a tendency for yacht owners (myself included) to dream of the big gesture - sailing around the world, dramatic cape horn passages etc, but have found that marriage, children, careers, mortgages, a less sailing inclined spouse and a thousand other things get in the way. Some break free of all of that and good on them I say - but this sailing malarkey as you well know is not a 'one size fits all' and there are a number of engrossing niches that provide wonderful ways of interacting with the marine environment. Small shoal draft yachts provide for exploring that fascinating coastal / river / estuary area bounded by land and water. The late great Charles Stock wrote a wonderful book 'Sailing Just For Fun' where he describes 40 years sailing in the Thames Estuary area (His ocean miles add up to several circumnavigations).
Personally I like small yachts (30 feet and under). My yacht Mariner at 30 feet is well able to be easily sailed single handed which I do quite often. My next "big" yacht will be a lot less than 30 feet and preferably shoal draft and/or centerboard.
Of late I have rediscovered the joy of the small centreboard yachts of my youth (hence the Starling and P Class restorations).

Ben said...

Beautiful video of a beautiful ship

Alden Smith said...

Ben, I agree, she really is poetry in motion.