Paul M. and i got into a hotrod/custom motorcycle discussion a couple days back, and he ended up dropping off a pile of chopper mags here at the shop for me to look through. i’m into most anything that is simultaneously technical and creative/artistic, so cars/bikes/trucks have nearly as much appeal to my eye as boats. i got to thinking (and later talking) about so-called “rat-rods“, and the parallels to some (few) boats.
It seems these days that modern boats are thouroughly “bolt-together” and pre-fab. Does that “custom” piece of hardware from Harken really count? Classic and traditional boats have a bit more attitude, as more things are actually hand-crafted just for a specific application on a specific boat. Still, those who can typically afford such custom work certianly don’t care to see cobbled-together bits, no matter how functional.
In my eye, functional is beautiful. Take a look at this example, and this one here. Here we have a few uses of not-made-for-this-boat sails, and while neither example fits into what most folks think a set of sails is supposed to look like, both are great, beautiful examples of creative use of resources at hand.
No great hardware picture examples handy (anyone with one?), but i can certianly say that there’s a few creative uses of hardware on my new dinghy. i can afford “proper” hardware, but it’s so much more satisfying to see what one can come up with out of spare bits of bronze plate, stainless rod, etc, in a well-equipped shop. Hell, with a good supply of bronze, and nothing more than a tap & die, a hacksaw, and a few files, it’s amazing what you can come up with!
i see these “Loups” getting more and more use on modern boats. Shucks, anyone with a little skill and patience can pull off a similar thing, albeit in lower-load applications. Look at a lot of real salty traditional boats, and you’ll be hard pressed to find too many shackles; everything is a lashing or a seizing. A decent lashing in Spectra or Vectran smallstuff has got to be just as strong (or stronger) than a shackle, and certianly more flexible; don’t even get me started about weight! Most importantly, it’s not something you have to buy, but rather just sit down and do yourself.
i’d like to see more examples of “sailing rattitude”, fun little hotrod/cruiser/custom sailboats that rely on owner ingenuity, skill, and patience rather than just falling out of the pages of the West catalogue. i’d like to see more people actually out sailing, in whatever they can find, rather than agonizing over getting just the right hardware installed. One fellow in our boatyard has a natty little (twice, yet managed to sink over $5000 into it. Frankly, the boat was ready to head back across the pond when he got it, but i guess it just wasn’t ready enough for him.
i’m all for preparation and prudence on the water, but sometimes enough is enough, and you just have to throw down and get out there. i guess that’s what i admire about “rat rods”, with their primer paintjobs and minimal interiors, yet well-tuned mechanical systems, served up hot out of backyard garages; just doing what needs to be done, enjoying the hell outta it, and leaving off all the excess trappings.