In Defense of Perfection…

February 8, 2011

Email from Joshua Summers to a friend interested in the CW Hood 32                     August 19, 2010. Subject: In Defense of Perfection

“You know you’ve achieved perfection in design,

Not when you have nothing more to add,

But when you have nothing more to take away.”

-Antoine De Saint-exupery

Barry,

Currently anchored, in the fog, in a cove off an island just to the South of Jonesport, ME.  Interestingly my spell check does not know Jonesport.  I am taking the occasion of your search for a day sailor to share with you my philosophy on yachting.

The first imperative is to identify your practical use.  Yes, yachts must do the job you intend for them.  Furthermore, they should do no more.  Additional capabilities, amenities and the systems required to support them take away from the desired experience.  In this sense, yachting is like all other pursuits, everything comes at a cost.  Unlike other aspects of our lives, the financial cost is truly the tip of the iceberg.  (See quote above.)

I submit you have a very clear design brief, daysailing out of Cundy’s Harbor.  Of course you identified your objective.  The Alerion 28 is a lovely little boat. Unfortunately, it is full of things requiring maintenance and attention, which bring nothing to your day on the water.  The design brief for the Alerion is some sort of pretty pocket cruiser.  A little engine, lights, interior cushions, toilet, cabinetry, etc.  All of this adds up to a boat that is not particularly well suited to your design brief.

This leads me to the overriding tenet of yachting, from my perspective, perfection.  There is nothing practical about yachting, it is, by definition, a luxury.  It takes us nowhere, it transports nothing, it is an end unto itself.  It is the one thing I know which makes horses and private planes seem practical.  Again, see quote above.

This is where the C.W. Hood 32 enters the discussion.  Quite simply, as a day sailor, the boat is perfection. I just celebrated my 44th birthday.  I started sailing at 7, had my first dinghy at 9 and have been professionally engaged in yachting for 26 years, took a break for graduate school and a couple of years in Colorado.  In the tens of thousands of hours I have spent on boats I have never been as impressed by a boat as I was sailing the C.W. Hood 32 last week in Rockland.

I have sailed faster boats, more sophisticated boats, more challenging boats, roomier boats, etc.  However, I have never experienced the ease, performance, comfort and beauty of this 32′ boat.  Easy to rig, easy to sail, easy to enjoy, easy to put away.  Actually, the Hood boat will be much easier in all aspects of ownership, including sailing. Last time, see quote.

Yes, the Alerion is a nice boat, one which you would enjoy.  The Hood  boat  will shine as a beacon of perfection, beautiful in its fulfillment of mission and beautiful in execution.  It is a boat you would own for the rest of your life.  Incidentally, a new C.W. Hood 32 is within 15-20% of the cost of a used Alerion.

I realize you probably got more than you bargained for when you asked for a recommendation for a day sailor.  In my defense, the C.W. Hood boat was unlike anything I have ever sailed and  it is not often I have the opportunity to try and convince the President of the this years #6 liberal arts college on the U.S. News and World Report list.  Congratulations, again!  Thus, please excuse the grammatical errors and my somewhat pedantic tone.

Best to you and your family,

Joshua Summers

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