Sunday, March 14, 2010

Art Is What Artists Do

Profuse thanks to our "Viking Invader", Martin, for this video clip of Scottish yacht designer Alfred Mylne's yachts sailing on the Clyde in the 1930s.

I am totally blown away by their beauty. The long, slender hulls, the massive size of the sails, their symmetry and grace belying the raw power of the wind that they capture as they surge seemingly without effort through the waters of the Clyde. It takes my breath away.

To me, these boats make the modern America's Cup contenders with their cold, corporate advertising plastered across their hulls and high-tech plastic/composite parts, for all their speed, look gawky and pathetic by comparison.

And what's up with calling a boat by a corporate name, anyway? OK, so the winner's name is "USA-17" but the original name is "BMW Oracle Racing 90". How lame is it to name a boat BMW Oracle? And then USA-17? What is that - afterthought without the thought? Lame is as lame does. Corporate bozos.

Where is god, country, wife, mother, nature, music, sailing history, or other inspiration? In days past there were names like Puritan, Vigilant, Resolute, Rainbow, Kukabura III, Luna Rosa, Constellation, Freedom, Young America, and Team New Zealand "Black Magic".

Something has gone very wrong along the way. Perhaps that is part of the reason why I am responding so strongly to the images of "real" boats with real names made of real materials which integrated form, function, and beauty.

The music by Breabach is a nice fit too.

Boat design is an art. What is art? Art is what artists do. Alfred Mylne was an artist.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Don Snabulus said...

Agreed on all counts!

Martin J Frid said...

I'd love to know more about how they designed these beautiful ships. All made by hand, from the first line of a pen on the first blueprint. How did they get it so right? The proportions, the stability, the sense of grace, the speed. Then, "let's talk to the carpenters" and make sure every piece of wood and every lenght of rope will be handcrafted, by skilled hands. Imagine the thrill of putting one of these to sea (or lake) for the first time.

Pandabonium said...

Snabby - you are so agreeable. :)

Martin - yacht design evolved over a very long period of time as knowledge was accumulated and design ratios and formulas were developed along with the knowledge of the properties of the materials available. Do a search on for "yacht design" and you'll find a number of texts on the topic. The basics are the same as ever. Well, I was thrilled to launch Bluesette, so I can imagine what it was like for them with these yachts.

ladybug said...

I have to agree these boats are much more beautiful...and I'm not even a "boat person" err.. ship if that is more correct! I think most people instinctively like objects which are beautiful. When items are well made..and function & form are in harmony..they make perfect aesthetic sense!
Thank you for sharing!

Zen said...


Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - (Technically, these are still boats, as a ship is anything of 100 feet or more.) Yes, one need not be an "expert" to see the beauty in things - it is, perhaps, in our DNA? - a thing of beauty in itself.

Zen - Thank you. In gassho.