Posted by: Alan Richards | October 26, 2009

Day 195 – 25 October 2009 – Slow Boatbuilding

25 Oct 09 002 Attaching one of the rubbing strakes with clamps at the scarf joint.

One of the links at the right side of my page leads to Joan Sol’s blog “El mar és el camí” (the sea is the path).  Joan writes in the Catalan language.  If you click on the automatic translator, it produces a garbled translation that is just enough that the ideas come through.   I found his blog very interesting reading, especially a section on “The Manifesto of Slow Sailing”.  Joan invites readers to contribute comments on the manifesto and so I include it below, re-writing the garbled translation in slightly better English and, I hope, correctly interpreting the ideas.

“Quiet Sailing”
As I explained in a previous post, the idea of slow sailing is inspired by the philosophy called the slow movement, which aims to live life more slowly, savor the peace, and enjoy every moment . From this, the idea came to me for the “Manifesto of Slow Sailing,” that aims to be a proposal to enjoy the sea and navigation with peace of mind. At first, the manifesto consisted of ten points. But then, in your comments, some of you said you were supporters of racing, arguing that races are a good way of learning sailing, and I included a new point in this regard. Therefore, it has become a decalogue of eleven points!
Manifesto of Quiet Sailing (2.0)
1.  What is important is not the boat, but your relationship with her and the sea. Never mind the length, or cost of equipment of your boat. Whether it is a rowing boat or a yacht, what matters is not to consider her a possession, but a travel companion for you that will provide pleasure, unforgettable experiences, and knowledge of the sea, and especially of yourself.
2.  Spend time aboard your boat, even if it is moored in port. Convert it into a part of your living space. Work on it, do some work there, so that some part of the ship is your work, and that some part of your work is linked to the ship. This will strengthen the bonds between you and your boat.
3.  Leave behind the feeling of speediness at the pier when sailing. Depart without a return time, as if you are leaving to make a long journey. Lose the clock and let yourself be guided by the sun. If you remove speed and time from the equation, there is only space: the sea.
4.  Depart for sailing aimlessly, without a point of arrival. Simply browse, let yourself be carried away by wind and sea. Do not think of mileage that you did not need to cover. Not going anywhere. Just browse and enjoy the moment.
5.  Unplug electronics and sail as had always done. Learn not to rely on instruments. How long does it take to take a sextant reading or position of a star? Place the cursor on a course  and draw on a paper chart. Forget the wind speed meter: feel the wind on your face or neck. Learn the art of sailing which is what really defines sailors.
6.  Disconnect the mobile radio and music equipment. Cut the ties for a while. Silence! Hear the sound of sea waves over the bow, the heartbeat of the candle, the breath of wind.
7.  Do not get fixed to the tiller or wheel. Cede the helm to the crew. How long ago was it that we are not on deck or in her bow with your feet hanging? If you are running before the wind, tie the rudder, balancing the boat with the sails and let it carry. Trust in your boat and crew.
8.  Write a logbook. Describe in detail the trips you make and record the sensations you experience. Save the emotions of each and you can relive them long after. Share these experiences and emotions with others through a blog like this about  how you feel better.
9. Take part in races, if you like, but not thinking about the prize, but instead because you learn to better understand the sea, your boat and yourself. There is no prize more stimulating than learning.
10.  Do not abandon your ship, she never would abandon you.
11. Look at the sea for a while each day, soak in the energy now and take it wherever you go.


I used to do a lot of dinghy racing when I was a teenager, but now the mellow philosophy described in the Manifesto appeals to me more.



  1. Hello, Alan!

    Thank you very much for the post that dedicate to my blog “El mar és el camí” (The sea is the path) and for the translation of “The manifesto of slow sailing”, I think that is very well made. Pleased to share these ideas with you and with all navigators that feel the sea and the navigation in the same way.
    And thanks also for the link to my blog. I have put also a link to your blog and thus I will be able to follow closely the construction of the “Tammie Norrie”.
    I apologize you for my garbled english (is the problem of automatic translators).

    Greetings from the Mediterraneo and we read us!

  2. Currently I’m writing a photo -journal called “Building ‘Friendsip'” about our experiece of building a 45″ Herreshof Mobjack between 1978 and 1988 in auckland, New Zealand.
    It was a hugely satisfying experience as well as being life changing
    I found you by chance when I was looking up to see if the 1785 Norrie sextant I had was on the net.
    I believe totally in the slow movement but have grafittied on my toilet door “i spend my life trying to go slower and slower, but alas everything else gets faster and and faster”
    Ive bookmarked your site and will drop into it every so often to check on your progress
    Rex Le Grice

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