Time for Another Boat

You would think that at some point you get the joke, and yet…

It’s time to build another boat.

baidarkabow2014This time I have in mind a baidarka, set up around the swede form lines of the Epic 18x. The Epic boat is notoriously fast. (At least to the extent that a craft traveling at five to six miles an hour can be described as fast.) It carries a bit more width behind the cockpit than most baidarkas. I’m curious if this will make a noticeable speed difference compared to the traditional lines of a baidarka, which widens out slightly more toward the bow.

Of course I would happily build this kayak to fit a Frogtown Kayak customer. But, as I’ve observed here before, the customer is not an essential aspect of this business, which exists somewhere between art, craft and commerce.

There’s always chatter in the arts world about how artists deserve to be paid fairly for their work. My feeling is that some are paid more than fairly, others aren’t paid much at all, and nobody has much right to complain. The world needs art, but it doesn’t much need the art that any particular individual creates. There’s always more. Great if the wheelbarrow of money gets rolled up to your door, tough if it doesn’t. But if you’re not doing it for the experience, and if the experience is not significant to you regardless of the dough, then you’re in the wrong racket.

Yesterday, coincidentally, a young friend quizzed me about building kayaks. What’s the appeal, she wondered. I ticked through the usual rationalizations. My work life is mainly spent rearranging pixels. In comparison my boats are useful, tangible objects that are pleasing both to look at and to use. Each one is an experiment, in which small changes can make (to my mind and experience) large differences. With each new boat I get a bit better at fitting joints, fairing lines, and defining an aesthetic style. Admittedly I’m doing all this mostly for myself, but I don’t find that makes it less meaningful.

That said, I’m off to Menards to get 16 feet of cedar board.

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