Friday, February 05, 2010

The mast and guitar conundrum...

The real hassle of building a boat or any big project of a nautical variety is simply to get started. There are always a million reasons not to get started, but once you do, it all gets pretty simple...

Getting started is the HARD PART!

Case in point... The new mast! For years I have had a certain idea about a way of building a mast that would be light, strong and the sort of price that would make my oh so frugal Mom give me a big thumbs up. Of course, like a lot of good ideas that no one has actually done, there are a whole lot of reasons that many will give on why it should not be done that way... We, being something of a herd animal when all is said and done. So what it comes down to is a whole lot of pressure to go with the same old same and tried and true. What makes it worse is half the pressure to do the same old same is generated by "yours truly" as I find myself on one hand knowing the idea will work but then having attacks of doubt and the whole if-is-was-such-a-good-idea-why-isn't-everyone-doing-it sort.

So I have been doing the running in circles route the last few weeks, jumping from a semi-traditional mast construction to semi-traditional strip planked mast construction to a what the hell maybe I should just buy some aluminum pipe to the mast I really want to make and back again, and again and again! Exactly the reason boats don't get built sort of stasis!

The traditional mast in wood has a lot to say for itself as it is strong, easy to build, and fairly cheap, but it is also heavy in the grand scheme of things and while a monohull is not as sensitive to weight as a multihull, it is a real factor when all is said and done. The semi-traditional strip plank or birds mouth is more work and while lighter than your basic box mast is still heavier than it could be and they both have issues that make me a little uncomfortable. Which leaves my untried adaptation of the old Gougeon/Gold Coast wing mast construction as possibly lighter, stronger, cheaper and with a very real possibility of being a complete failure (spelled mast fall down go boom)... Yeah, choices are hard.

So what to do? Well, one way I use to decide stuff is by simply working it out using the guitar algorithm. Traditional wood mast means I have to give up a guitar or two... Strip planked or aluminum mast means I can keep my guitars while my adapted Gougeon mast design means (if it does not fall down and go boom) I can get a couple of guitars to add to the quiver. Now put that way, what do you think I'm going to do?

Which brings us to the red/black conundrum... Should I get this in red?

Or Black?