A couple of weeks ago one of my Aunts made a comment here about how I knew how to do everything I have been doing to Flirt. In a way that some might call smart arsed (or worse, snarky) I replied that I didn’t, that I was making it all up as I went.
In telling the same to my mother, I got “that look” and realized maybe my answer had been a bit too self effacing. It is true that I have been charting unknown territory in what I am doing to Flirt. Before I bought my Sprite, I had never even opened a can of resin, let alone decided to play with carbonfibre cloth to combine the two to make something much stronger than it was original.
While a lot of what I am doing has some background in my previous hobbies involving ancient down on their luck European sports cars, and some has to do with being a stagehand for the past 26 years (has it really been that long?). Both aspects of my working and hobby life involve quite a bit of knowledge of what to do to get stuff done and when to “fake it” to get the same result.
To put it another way, the Ocean is not just a capricious thing. It may smile one day and let you sail on carefree, but never ever think that it is not actively trying to pull you deep into her depths and drown you. The sea is not benign, it is a malicious thing that will kill you the first chance it gets.. and for most sailors, it is but a thin shell of glassfibre that keeps them safe from her clutches.
If we (as sailors) were not able to “fake it” or make it up as we went, we would not be able to cruise. Sailing a boat is not like driving a car.. if a car breaks down, you can get out and walk. If a boat breaks down.. well, humans are rather poor swimmers and most of us lack the necessary body fat to keep us warm enough to swim to shore. Instead we need to be creative, fixing things as we go lest we sink beneath the waves to form the ultimate recycle. In the water we are not at the top of the food chain, we are food.. and we need to use our knowledge, tools, and imagination to keep from feeding the nearest predator.
I know that sounds a bit scarey to contemplate, but any sailor who lets down their guard is not going to make it to the next port, vigilance is the best tool we have, followed by the imagination and creativity to take our knowledge and apply it to keep on sailing.
So yes, I am making it up as I go.. and I will continue to do so for as long as I can.