A Different Kind of Technology

Brief confession: I’ve been expending way too much mental bandwidth on sailboats lately. This afternoon, the family and I spent about an hour going through a Pearson 35 sailboat that’s for sale in our marina. The technology of even a ’77 sailboat is impressive, from the foils of the mast spreaders to the compromises of the hull design beneath the waterline. All to move a hull through water by harnessing the wind, and provide a living space below with the necessities and comforts needed for days, months or years. Pearson 35 Design

As for the rev of this– I don’t know. Centuries of thought and design have been dumped into the project, some lessons learned at the expense of lives. Mission critical failures in the open ocean are show-stoppers.

The technology I work with– the stakes are lower than life and death. Failure is accepted as operating cost. There’s a web of alternative support and replenishment. I’m glad of that, or burn-out would be inevitable.

So why the fascination with sailing and sailboats? Highest stakes? Mature technology? A playing surface that covers three quarters of the earth? Who knows. Sailboats are freedom, according to Jack Sparrow.

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