Sunday, May 27, 2012


Yacht 'Tawhiri" (Which means 'Wind' in the Maori Language)

This is the William Atkin designed gaff cutter yacht 'Tawhiri' which was built in Whangarei by Smiths Boatyard circa 1985. I remember seeing it being built amongst the sweet smelling wood shavings in the little boat shed by the Hatea River. She was planked with 2 inch thick heart Kauri planks. I remember the trouble they had laying the planks where the hull shape demanded both bending and twisting. As a result of this the hull was festooned like a hedgehog with large 'G' cramps that held the planks in place as they were fastened with big bronze screws.

I love this design, the small cabin that terminates at the mast, the generous deck room and the sense that this is a small ship rather than a 34 foot yacht. This is a serious small cruising yacht. If you catch her eye she will talk to you of deep, sheltered anchorages, her stern tied so close to a Pohutakawa tree you can easily step ashore, of the relentless sway of mast and sails below moonlight and stars - of warm trade winds, flying fish and dolphins. There is no nonsense about a boat like this.

I once read that the reason people garden is multi- layered. There is the aspect of the love of flowers, but there is also an aspect of design and a quest for perfection - a way, mainly subconsciously, of gaining control, of projecting ones will onto an aspect of the external world when so much of the external worlds larger aspects seem to control you - a balancing compensation of sorts; a way to gain mastery and a way of trying to create something as close to perfection as one can in an imperfect world - the creation of ones own 'Garden of Eden'. The key of course is to guide the innate ability of the garden and let it grow. Perhaps much of what we do has echoes of this psychology of gardening.

There are similar elements of this projection in my own love of boats. I am always looking for the 'Perfect' boat. I think this search is similar to the search by people who continually change their car in an attempt to find the perfect automobile. - It's a dopey kind of search, but kind of fun and there is nothing distressing about it at all. Sometimes I have about six perfect boats all lined up at once and it gives me great joy to see so many contenders for the crown. Of course it would be silly to project some sort of holy grail of happiness onto the search. The joy is looking at the changing parade of beautiful small yachts; the joy is in the journey rather than the destination.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee
(A story cut and pasted from FB)

"When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else--the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."