Grounded research in boat building

BBM and I often have conversations where we relate the core of what one of us is saying within another context.  Last night I was talking about grounded research which makes sense to me on many levels.  Ah, says BBM. Yes, it is like when I came to understand the basics of the gaff rig.  Once I had all the pieces sorted, I had to revisit my understanding of how the gaff rig worked.  One of the boaties told me that a running back stay line just gets in the way.  So I had to investigate whether I actually needed that kind of line.  So each time I gather new information I need to revisit my own context and test the ideas again.   And, I remind him, the boatie who was talking to him only went out with numerous crew members.  He probably didn’t want extra lines tripping up feet.  Whereas BBM is intending to go out on his own, and a running back stay line makes perfect sense to me. (Please excuse if stay line isn’t the right terminology.  The correct phrase likely went over my head since I was mentally comparing the iterations of grounded research to other stages of BBM’s boat building experience.)

This reminds me of all the conversations we have had over the years regarding people’s lack of understanding in circumstances where it was expected they would have understanding or a working knowledge.  We have come to two conclusions.  Firstly, there are a certain number of heart-beats required for a level of understanding to be reached.  Similar to an apprenticeship arrangement, it is the extended period of time, over which the apprentice is exposed to a myriad of problems and solutions, which builds the ‘pegs’ upon which knowledge can be hanged, or retained.  Secondly, these ‘pegs’ are crucial for people to be able to transfer knowledge across different contexts.  Otherwise, similar to trying to hang a coat on an empty wall, if there is no peg the coat falls and is not easily accessible.

Relating the above conclusions to BBM’s boat-building experience.  I would say that he has put in so many hours into the project that he could relate just about any topic to some part of the boat or the process involved in building it.  In my eyes he has done a PhD in boat-building.  He has researched, trialed and tested ideas, and modified his thinking and actions as his understanding has grown.  His understanding has increased across resources and their characteristics, at times resorting to developing his own resources.  His understanding has grown regarding the necessities for effective and efficient boat handling. So he can now easily draw an analogy between boat building and any other topic.

Coming back to the realities of daily progress toward launch though, I continue to find some actions frustrating as a wife.  I agreed to help take the boat out of the shed and put up the sails, practicing with the new gaff and the lines.  So this morning, when BBM mentioned rolling the boat onto a flat carpeted surface, my question was, why?  Why would we put it on a flat surface? What would we be testing? To what end would we go to all that effort?  I understood that the boat only required 8 inches of draw (depth of water required to float?).  And, I understood that the trailer was designed to allow the boat to float onto it and be winched?

Well, says BBM, yes that is the case.  We would just be putting it on the carpet to see whether the old method of a slip way would work in reverse.  Huh?  I had no peg to hang that on.  I simply could not grasp why we would do such a thing.

So, we finished breakfast and BBM asked whether we should take the boat out of the shed after lunch?  My reply, as long as there is a purpose for the expended energy.






2 thoughts on “Grounded research in boat building

  1. Sounds like you are both enjoying all of the “learning” required to launch this fine boat. As you Kiwi’s say, ” Good on ya!”.—from your old mother in the USA.


  2. Well I have been watching progress with interest but still a bit concerned about the little piles of wood (all beautifully made) sitting on the saw horse. Will it float and when?? Keen to attend the launching but afraid have drunk the bottle of rum I was going to bring to celebrate.


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