The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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April 27, 2010


Mark Hendy

Adam Said:

It's a great thing to hope for, yet one thing I am sure of is even with all this innovation, we still won't have personal jet packs

Take a look at this then!

Mark Hendy

ok, so it looks like hyperlinking and blockquotes html code doesn't work in the comments. The link is


Um, not sure I'm convinced.

Perhaps if more development time was put into reliability and less into those extras which are more to do with sales.

And the developers of navigation aids should perhaps do more to educate users to the problems of travelling on water rather than suggesting that is simply a question of pointing and going.

There are excellent reasons why sailors tend to be conservative.

Take for example the two plucky girls at present attempting to sail around the globe.

Abby Sunderland, from what I can gather is sailing on a relatively expensive hi tec boat.

Jessica Watson on the other, hand is on a more old fashioned cruiser and using a wind vane.

Jessica is almost home, while Abby is having to stop off for the second time for repairs.

But I have to admit to being biased old fart.

I'm a traditionalist at heart and I wouldn’t swap my old wooden boat for a plastic one for many reasons including the aesthetic.


I'm not 100% sure that electric engines will automatically be simpler and safer, especially in the context of a sailboat. The motors they're putting in cars are simple in terms of moving parts, but truly complex in terms of electronics, and batteries tend to fail by catching fire or exploding, especially when shorted.

If these problems could be solved, I agree that it should be possible to create something signifigantly more reliable than a combustion engine, but it's a pretty big if.

Adam Turinas

Mark: Now I know what I want for father's Day. I may abandon sailing for this

Mike: I think there will always be two types of sailors (OK gross over-generalization I know).: Those who go for simplicity and reliability and those who go for the new. Racing tends to drive innovation and that filters down to cruising. Most of what I am talking about is already being used by the high-end racers.

Cameron: You may be right, however there was good episode of NOVA last night on PBS with the Car Talk Brothers looking into the state of alternative energy in cars. It surprised how much further along things are. the Tesla is a great example. That said, the big barrier is innovation in battery power to be more efficient and indeed safer.


Great post! I like your balanced approach to all the marine electronics that's available (and affordable) for the average boating and sailing enthusiasts.

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