And the Oscar goes to…

In my previous article I compared how the concept of classic yacht has been understood by a group of internationally recognized boating people and a group of Finnish classic boat experts and professionals. The insights of the international group of people bottom to the articles in Classic Boat Magazines issues from July and August and the so called Finnish view of point to a contribution from a special researcher mister Hannu Matikka from the National Board of Antiquities and additional information from an association called Mahogany Yachting Society. The Finnish partners co-operate in order to hand pick a showcase of Finnish classic boats and administrate a register of those classics that meet the requirements what the group has presented.

The article showed that there is some overlapping between the understanding of the concept of a classic yacht between the Finnish group and opinions presented in Classic Boat Magazines articles. There are however well enough differences to make evident that people and actors on the boating branch may face problems in such committees as where they should be agreeing upon which boat is a classic boat and which one is not. Many of these kind group members spend a lot of their leisure time for the good purpose of promoting the heritage of classic yachts and while doing so they ought to feel themselves secure and cozy instead of sitting uncomfortably thinking whether they are making the right decisions or not. The feeling of uncertainty actually rises from the outcome of their work. Instead of celebrating yachts and their owners they divide boats and boat owners in two groups. The other group feels embarrassed and confused from the attention paid to them and the other feels bad for not having been paid attention to. Besides of that the latter group may feel frustrated because their boats are not able to meet the criteria, which themselves may seem more or less artificial and unjust.

The concept of classic yacht would need to be thoroughly investigated before taken to specific and permanent use by any organ with more or less official status like the classic boat expert group in Finland. A similar model was however taken to use in Sweden too. First, a common distinction is made between classic, vintage and spirit of tradition yachts. Secondly, boats have been successfully built from wood, metal, plastic and composite materials for a long time. Thirdly, their designers, builders, owners and uses comprise of a wide spectrum of interesting historical details and knowledge. In fact, we could speak of, not only of a specific branch of maritime history, but of a branch of human knowledge which gathers under its umbrella myriads of technical data from vessels and their evolution, the aesthetic as well as other factors regarding the design, their use and meaning to the economy and people that have been involved with their building, use and restoration etc. An essential feature related to boats and their life cycle is the boats ability to move across nation’s borders. Ships, yachts and boats have always been changing owners and been taken forth and back even across the deep seas. This notion is directed towards the Finnish National Board of Antiquities demand emphasizing the concept of a classic boat as representing itself in a certain historical time and space context. The focus in such a case is limited in a local and narrow approach to the theme and risks leaving urgent boats or actors in margin and even outside of the spotlight.

Finally, I shall try to be more constructive myself, and therefore I would like to propose a better way of promoting the use and heritage of classic yachts and boats instead of dividing them in to two categories; classics and no classics.

The idea of an expert group or committee, national or international, fits perfect to the purpose of promoting classic yachts and boating. The agenda of such a group or committee should be made crystal clear to everyone but also as rich as possible covering all the aforementioned aspects from building materials and evolution in design to the economical and societal points of view. A living example of relations between the society and classic yacht activities is the traditional boat building area in Orust, Sweden, where a local school tries to secure the availability of skilled workers at local boat yards. Yachts and boats as well as the people and communities around them should be highlighted properly and comprehensively. The model of an applicable action plan for rewarding already exists, is well known and has shown its functionality insofar 85 times, namely the Oscar Academy Awards.

“This year’s nominees for the best restoration of a wooden yacht are 12mR yacht Blue Marlin and 6mR yacht Renata, and the prize goes to…” The list of various good reasons to get an award or become nominated could easily turn out as long as it is in the movie industry. “The best classic yacht racing achievement” and “the best authentic or historical vessel” are a few examples of meaningful and understandable grounds for prizing. Please, all boating experts and professionals in the world, unite, and celebrate the classics for good causes!

“The awards for the best sailing achievement and the best restoration of the year 2013 go to sailing yacht Dorade for winning the Transpacific race again after a 77 years pause and having undergone a thorough renovation where she got new masts, new sails, new engine and electronic equipment.”

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