From the Editor: Matters of Opinion

There's more than one way to skin a cat
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
MOP

Pat Schulte’s article in this issue on the relative merits of monohulls and multihulls got me thinking about, well, much the same thing. I’ve been lucky enough to sail a good many examples of each type of boat and I’m no closer to the ultimate answer to the question, “which is better?”

It’s another one of those sailing questions to which there is no definitive answer other than the woolly and feeble-sounding disclaimer “it depends…” Like which anchor is best, or which sailmaker, bottom paint, anchorage, varnish, chartplotter, etc. No one has an answer, but everyone has an opinion.

Like most people I am rather fond of opinions, because there is no need to back them up with those tiresome things known as facts. You can hold forth at great length about why it is better to join two lines with a pair of bowlines instead of a sheet bend, and absent destructive testing no one else’s opinion holds more water than your own. (I reckon neither has any real-world advantage, but that’s just my opinion.)

We sailors can be a bloody-minded lot. We’ll find something—a technique, a tool, it doesn’t matter—that works for us, and that’s it, end of story. No one will be able to argue you out of it, because it’s always worked for you, so why would you change? Anyone who has sailed on another sailor’s boat knows how pig-headed other sailors can be. You’ll cleat and coil a line, and the skipper will clear his throat and say, “Actually, could you just…” Or you’ll go below after trimming the sails perfectly, and the next thing you hear is the clicking of a winch or the groan of a sheet being eased. Or you’ll make all the docklines fast just so, and the skipper will follow you, uncleating and re-cleating and adjusting and generally fussing needlessly.

Of course, when you take other sailors out on your own boat it’s payback time. “Hey Gunther, that doesn’t go there, it goes there. And I don’t use locking hitches when cleating off the anchor rode. And if you twist that halyard while you’re coiling it, it’ll kink and jam in the clutch.” And so on. The fact that boating etiquette requires you to do things the way the captain wants them done does not make it any more palatable when his way of doing them is downright wrong—in your opinion, of course.

None of which gets me any closer to the answer to the mono versus multi question. There isn’t one, in my opinion. 


 When Peter Nielsen isn't editing at SAIL he races and cruises near Marblehead, MA.

Peter%20Nielsen

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more