|“There is nothing – absolutely
nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The above quote of Mr. Rat’s is at the point in Wind In The Willows
where he is introducing his way of life to Mr. Mole. Just a
page later Mr. Mole asks Mr. Rat about living by the water, Mr. Rat
answers: “By it and with it and on it and in it. It’s brother and sister
to me, and food and drink, and washing. It’s my world and I don’t want
any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t
know is not worth knowing.”
[Need a member to add a section concerning his/her general feelings about sailing]
Shallow water sailboats are truly mess about boats that are designed for those that want to be by, with, on, and in water - those that love to messabout. Shallow water sailors are drawn to the water. There’s something in our blood that needs the water to satisfy. Many of us have vivid childhood experiences “by, with, on, or in water.” These experiences drive us, as adults, back to the water so that we might relive the experiences. In doing so we recapture the excitement of youthful discovery and play.
Water has always posed a challenge to man. The sea is ever changing. It hides its dangers from us and then pounces upon us when we are careless. Skill, discipline, preparedness are all required to meet these dangers. Many of us are drawn to these challenges and measure ourselves by how well we prepare for and face them.
Boats, themselves, fascinate. There is such a variety of size, shape, and purpose. Their history and their survival against the violent sea fascinate us. Boat stories are consumed by us. Each is so different, and with each, a lesson is taught.
Some of us just like to tinker with them and clean their decks. Just looking at them pleases
us. In the case of a wooden boat, we must touch them, running our fingers across cedar and oak, feeling the craftsman’s work. All this is a part of messing about.
The comradery adds to the pleasure: To meet other like-minded people. To learn from them and be challenged by them. To grow to know them as part of a large sailing family. Finally, to realize they have become close friends who matter.
The marine environment attracts us. Whether on a lake, stream, river, creek, bay or ocean; the water’s ever-changing face, its creatures, its margins - be they sand, sedge, or rock, all combine to keep our attention and interest. This, among all the possibilities that define “messing about,” the watery part of Nature, calls to us the loudest.
This manual contains ideas and suggestions by owners of Dovekie sailboats.
None are warranted. None are tested. Neither the contributors nor
the editors are professional naval architects, boat manufacturers
or boat repair experts. We do not evaluate the ideas. We only
present them for your consideration. You, the reader, must evaluate
any idea or suggestion for its appropriateness to your situation.