It Was Made By Blind-Tibetan Monks . . . .

When I worked for Carver Boat Company in Pulaski, Wisconsin, we had a saying in the engineering department. Whenever we came across a particularly expensive part, it was said to be "Made by blind-Tibetan monks on a mountaintop in (insert location where part was made)." Thus explaining the rationale behind it's high price.

With some items, it's easy to see why they are so costly. Their design makes them hard to manufacture, they are made from exotic materials, or they were exquisitely crafted by that blind-Tibetan monk on a mountaintop somewhere. When you are building and outfitting your new boat, there are many choices to be made. One of them is whether you would like a gold-plater, or just something that floats and does its job unobtrusively.

There is much to be said for either choice. With the gold-plater you get the satisfaction of enjoying your time aboard surrounded by not only the beauty of nature, but also the beauty of your boat. It isn't just the look of the boat, but also the tactile feel of the finely finished surfaces and fabrics. Of course, there is the added maintenance associated with all that varnish, leather and chrome. As with any object of desire, there is a price to be paid. The boat has gone beyond mere transportation or a tool, it has become a work of art.

The other extreme is what I call the tool philosophy. The boat is as simple as possible. Easy to maintain, easy to use and, most importantly, reliable. You climb aboard and don't worry about whether you have the correct shoes on or whether that tuna you're chasing will bleed all over your deck. Aboard the tool, you just hose it down or rinse it out with a bucket of seawater. The boat is designed and built to do the job you have asked of it, be it cruising or fishing or just poking around. Nothing more, nothing less. It may be beautiful in your eyes, but it will probably never be a work of art.

Which direction to go is probably based more on the personality of the owner, and less on the merits of each. The perfect boat for you may be at either end of the scale, or someplace in between. When you are planning that new boat, be honest with yourself. If you don't find cleaning, polishing and primping all that enjoyable, you may not want the boat built by those blind-Tibetan monks on a mountaintop in . . .

Timm Smith
June 26, 2003