Re: afraid of risk
Sat, 21 Aug 1999 11:12:38 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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The following is from _October Potter_ by Stanley Smith:

Presumptive Lecture

It may be thought that I am in favour of people making long passages in
small boats. In fact this is not quite so.

When I hear of a successful crossing of the Atlantic in a very small
boat I am delighted (Paul Johnson, Venus; John Riding, SJO AG; Robert
Manry, Tinkerbelle). It pleases me that they usually receive
an enthusiastic welcome ashore. But at the same time I think there may be
a tendency on the part of some people to say, " If tiny boats like these
can cross oceans, what's all this time-worn stuff about the terrors of the
deep ? "

The sea can indeed be terrible. It has terrified me, at any rate, on
numerous occasions in my life.

It is a fallacy to imagine that, because the safety of the land is
near when out for an afternoon's sail, this nearby security will be
quickly attained should things begin to go wrong. It may be a dangerous,
and sometimes fatal, false comfort, to compare the situation of a tiny
boat in a howling gale a thousand miles from the nearest lee shore, to
that of oneself in a much larger boat one mile from your own harbour

The off-shore man may well be blissfully asleep. You'd better not sleep !

It is a fact that the sea claims almost all her victims because the
shore is there to trap them.

I believe many " big-ship " men have a painfully ingrown impatience of
the very small boats which put out to sea in ever increasing numbers. I
think they feel these boats (and the people in them) are insulting the sea
their own hard-won experience has taught them to respect.

This lack of " respect " probably hurts the " big-ship " man,. more
particularly if he is unaware that many of the small boats are the result
of long years of hard-won knowledge and development. I sympathize with his
views, but I would hate to have to admit they are invariably justified.

My enthusiasm fails me when I hear of some ambitious voyage to be
undertaken by people, hair-raisingly flaunting their inexperience. I
sincerely hope that they will not come to grief, but I also hope they will
not succeed. Their success might tempt more people to "dare the sea."

Definitely a short term hobby !

Long passages in small boats should be made only after long

The boat must be trustworthy, the equipment well chosen, the
confidence of the crew well founded.


The full text of _October Potter_ is available at

Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA