Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Feel like I've been derelict in blogging lately, taking advantage of everyone else's industriousness. So thanks to everyone who's been posting - I'm sure sometimes it seems a chore but I enjoy reading my way 'round the Mothosphere.

I suppose I should have an opinion on the new Payne/Amac effort, but a) who cares what I think and b) so far it looks just like a Guillotine. I'm sure it will do all the right things eventually; it will also do some things better than have been done before, if history is any guide.

What my own effort lacks in funding and sex appeal, it makes up for in chutzpah. I think I understand why Amac does this stuff though - it is hugely satisfying and great fun to design and build something and then sort it out on the water. Now if only I could find a way to get paid for it, we'd really have something. 

Whoever wrote that interview of the top BR and Prowler sailors on the UK site, my hat is off to you. Just the sort of thing the class needs to have as a resource. I have to admit that after reading the various opinions on everything, however, I was less convinced that anyone really knows what these boats actually do or why. You have a good sailor like John Harris with a solid boat but no real inclination toward design or construction win out over Amac, who has probably the most sophisticated technical understanding of Moths in the class, though it was obviously very close. I think what this means is that there is no substitute for sailing a lot if you want to win things.

Whilst sorting out my boat, Douglas Adams quotes keep coming to mind.  Though he is widely quoted as saying the secret to flying is to throw yourself at the ground and miss, the second part of this adminition is often overlooked. So here, to refresh everyone's memories, is the quote, which I purloined from some website claiming to purloin it from Hitchiker's Guide. As it is copyrighted, I will probably go to jail, but this is just too relevant to Mothing to pass up, and I'm certain everyone reading this blog has a copy of the book at home anyway.

How To Fly

© by Douglas Adams

There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] suggests, and try it.

The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.

That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.

Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.

One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it.

It is notoriously difficult to prize your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people's failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport.

If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phyllum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinty, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner.

This is a moment for superb and delicate concentration. Bob and float, float and bob. Ignore all consideration of your own weight simply let yourself waft higher. Do not listen to what anybody says to you at this point because they are unlikely to say anything helpful. They are most likely to say something along the lines of "Good God, you can't possibly be flying!" It is vitally important not to believe them or they will suddenly be right.

Waft higher and higher. Try a few swoops, gentle ones at first, then drift above the treetops breathing regularly.


When you have done this a few times you will find the moment of distraction rapidly easier and easier to achieve.

You will then learn all sorts of things about how to control your flight, your speed, your maneuverability, and the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it were going to anyway.

You will also learn about how to land properly, which is something you will almost certainly screw up, and screw up badly, on your first attempt.

There are private clubs you can join which help you achieve the all-important moment of distraction. They hire people with surprising bodies or opinions to leap out from behind bushes and exhibit and/or explain them at the critical moments. Few genuine hitchhikers will be able to afford to join these clubs, but some may be able to get temporary employment at them.


Dubai Moth Association said...

comedy, currently getting my moth worlds blog vote!

now just post more!! We dont really need doctors anyway, although my GO did spare me some anxious moments about my leg issues.

Karl said...

Yes, medicine is fairly mundane, but it becomes progressively more interesting as one's skin infection approaches one's privates. Knowing which antibiotic to use involves no higher thought processes, but is quite useful nonetheless. What did he think it was? Vibrio? There aren't many bacteria which live in salt water, but if there is raw sewage around all bets are off.

The more I post, the less I get done on the boat. Did manage to sew up the tramp again last night, so will be good to go on the weekend after some minor carbon work.

I think Scott has the Mothosphere Worlds wrapped up, if number of comments is any indication...

Dubai Moth Association said...

Yes i do believe that i cannot corherently put enough sentences together without any spelling mistakes to get enough to people to comment!!

He did not say what it was, said it might not be related to the sewage..... no matter, feeling better now!