Wednesday, October 14, 2015
L. FRANCIS HERRESHOFF AND THE ROZINANTE (1)
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."