Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Many Splendid Thing


Maurice Griffiths (Sailor, yacht designer and former editor of 'Yachting Monthly') wrote these words about the attractions of owning and sailing ones own small yacht. He writes in a direct, 'non flowery,' unpretentious way about what the attractions are about this world of little yachts that is dear to the heart of many............ it matters not what she is like, a yacht is at once one of the most comforting, the most satisfying, and the most enviable possessions of man.

Nor does it much matter what he plans to do, or even does, with her. Happy the man who finds sublime contentment in just pottering about aboard his beloved ship, oblivious or contemptuous of the sneers of others who sail to win races, or take their ships to foreign ports only to hurry home again. Happy indeed is the man who enjoys to the full all that his ship has to offer him in her relationship to the sea, the wind, the sky, the glorious freedom of the open spaces. Unless he be a laggard, a thing without a mind, he will know all the bitter thrill of fright when he has brought his ship into a position of danger; he will enjoy the pure ecstasy of a fine days sail when the very water seems to frolic and sparkle with his mood. He will learn the anger of a lost tide, a fouled sheet, or a grounding on the ebb. He will know the humiliation of a faulty manoeuvre amongst the other boats, and the sudden consternation of a dragging anchor at night. Impatience at a long continued calm or an obstinate motor will be his until he learns in the school of experience to accept everything as it comes, to adopt the age old philosophy of the old seaman.

Therein perhaps lies the difference between the herded life on shore and the untrammelled life afloat - the acquisition of a philosophy, an appreciation of those small blessings whose very existence is forgotten in the mad rush of modern life. A sunset betokening a fair wind on the morrow, the sun piercing the clouds and changing the grey sea to a vivid green, the sound of ripples against the ships side at the end of a long calm, a windmill waving its arms beyond the meadows bordering the creek, the lone flight of a solitary gull and the sound of a lark rising above the saltings, the light of the moon playing on the yachts wake, the good humoured companionship of good shipmates, the call of the sea when the first of the ebb runs seaward: such things, unknown to the man in the city, become delights to be looked for, glimpses of the great world that lies beyond the suburbs, for the man with a boat of his own.

Simple pleasures, they are part of the life of those that go down to the sea in little ships seeking the adventure, the health, the peace and contentment of soul that is mans natural craving.

- Maurice Griffiths - (From Volume 65 - May to October 1938)

1 comment:

Kate said...

A lovely piece of writing. Thank you! Well, back to the herded life ashore... :-(