What is it you actually want from your life as a “creative person”?
My friend and mentor Bob Wise atop his boat Loose Moose II on launch day
This is from chapter 70 of Boat with an Open Mind: Loose Moose II
“Staring with the two desks, some more ambitious suggestions crept in, such as a proposed voyage from the Moselle in France to a West Indian Island, via the Rhone, the Mediterranean, and the Canary Islands. We didn’t delude ourselves that a Bolger Box, even a long one, was the best possible vehicle for this enterprise; only that is was capable, that the modesty of the investment advance the plan, and that the box was ideal for the in-port living between passages. The shallow and compact boat could take choice berths not accessible to more conventional cruisers.”
“I don’t have much respect for the architecture of Le Corbusier, but his “machine for living” concept is stimulating if you study, more than he ever did, how people can, should, and do live. If you try to disguise a machine like this, say by raking the ends or breaking the sheer, you produce a box with unconvincing concessions to style that only emphasize that you’re ashamed of it.
“I’ve been thinking that one of these boats might make a surface for a mural painting — say, an arctic seascape on the starboard side and a tropical beach to port. Or a fleet of vessels, or a crowd of people. The long, horizontal shape fits subjects hard to adapt to the usual proportions of a picture frame. The frame itself, the boat’s profile, is suggestive. As a child I was fascinated by the carved and gilded Victorian frames on the painting in my grandfather’s parlor. It’s a healthy exercise to call up from memory the art objects that I enjoyed before I was taught by academic critics to despise them.”
The Loose Mooose II was a good boat. It was more capacious than nearly any cruiser of similar length, sailed better than most similar sized racer-cruisers, drew only 18″ of water, was fast to build, and cost roughly an order of magnitude less than any commercially produced boat in her class.
Of course to achieve this Phil had ignored virtually all of the reasons that most people buy a 40′ sailboat. Most people buy a 40′ sailboats for the same reason most people buy a Rolex, to tell other people, to tell themselves who they are and where they fit into the scheme of things. What the boat is actually capable of doing is quite secondary to what it announces about it’s owner.
Loose Moose II upset people. It did. It made people angry.
Spend any length of time with Bob and you’ll will hear all manner of stories of his being told by other yachtsmen (in no uncertain terms) that the Loose Moose II couldn’t sail, wasn’t safe, and (most of all) that it was ugly.
The first two accusations were demonstrably untrue. LMII was good on all points, and regularly sailed past boats captained by her accusers. She crossed oceans and stood gales, whilst carrying Bob and his wife Sheila, a couple hundred bottles of french wine, all the tools used to build her, Bob’s Steadicam rig and the rest of his cinema gear, and their collection of vintage guitars (his) and basses (hers).
As to the third, that the Loose Moose II was ugly, well that is a matter of taste, isn’t it? If the notion of sailing around in tropical waters with your wife, at 40-something years of age, debt free, while putting your son through Harvard is appealing, LMII’s boxy lines take on a sort of winsome charm.
But like I said, that’s not why most people buy a 40 footer.