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From the Boatshop
by Ron Magen 

“Remember; Professionals built the Titanic, Amateurs built the Ark”    -Anon

New Years has passed. Saddam & George are continuing their ‘pissing contest’ while the rest of us are checking our umbrellas. While Marines are sweating in the desert, the rest of us are ‘in the freezer’ and the Winter Doldrums have set in. Or is it ‘Cabin Fever’ ?

The typical indicators are the complaints about it being too cold to work in the shop, problems with epoxy/paint curing, and interminable discussions of minutia. Wave Ratios, ‘hull speed’ {1.34 x LWL} discussions with pages of accompanying mathematics, and ballast-to-scale calculations for model boats.

My guess is that it’s something to do with the amount of daily sunlight we absorb. Getting started on these dark mornings is certainly tough for me. Especially since I’m a Pack Rat and keep stumbling over the piles. It gets like this every couple of years. Each time I decide to ‘shovel out’ and SWEAR to keep it under control . . . Yeah, RIGHT !! Sometimes it’s like an archeological dig - it’s amazing what surfaces.

Anyhow, I found a set of plans for a wooden ‘tissue box’ with a scroll sawn insert. Being of a ‘nautical sort’, I felt a piece of scrimshaw would look better. While investigating sources of Ivory substitutes I came across a double-spread photo of: “Floating Egg” 1969-1970 {a sculpture by Herbert Distel. A 10-foot high fiberglass egg . . . “Launched from the Canary Islands, the ‘egg’ arrived in Trinidad six months later, commemorating the first solo transatlantic crossing of an ART OBJECT”

Oddly enough, at the same time one of the ‘best hull form’ threads ‘degraded’ into the effectiveness of the ‘barrel shape’ and from there into barrels, long drops, and sudden stops. Then it became how far could you go in one.

Well, girls & guys, it’s been done. The ‘Voyage of the Egg’ proved something that a lot of us already know; a small vessel can handle MORE than it’s CREW can.

It also proved to me that I should stop calling myself a ‘boatbuilder’ and instead say, “Artiste”. That adds about two zeros to the left of the decimal point.

Got to go now, Joanne wants me to continue ‘practicing my art’ replacing the old hall trim with ‘Faux Mahogany’ and varnishing the floor.

I wonder if this is how Nakamura started out?

Ron Magen
Backyard Boatshop