A New Voice at AAC

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We are very happy to welcome Matt Marsh to the ranks of AAC writers.

Many of you will have seen Matt’s clear and concise writing in the comments over the last couple of years and will know that he has become an unofficial consultant to this site.

About Matt

Matt is currently working in the field of medical radiation physics, but he is also a true renaissance man with a wide range of interests including photography and all things boat design. Working as M. B. Marsh Marine Design, Matt designs innovative powerboats of all shapes and sizes, mainly for inshore use.

The Up Side of Inexperience

Which brings us to the obvious question: Why would we invite a man who has never been offshore and in fact does not even sail that much, to write for a web site about going offshore, mainly in sailboats? The answer is simple: because that is one of Matt’s greatest strengths as an AAC writer.

Let me explain. No one is a greater proponent of the benefits of experience offshore than we are. After all, between the three of us (Colin, Phyllis and I) we have wrung an awful lot of salt water out of our socks, with combined years sailing offshore that add up to close to a century. But there is a downside to experience: it can make you set in your ways. I like to think that the three of us do reasonably well at avoiding this trap, but still, there is always the danger.

That’s where Matt comes in. He will be writing from a completely fresh perspective and often questioning “accepted wisdom” which can often be a euphemism for “we have always done it that way”.

Engineering

Matt is also trained as an engineer and I have written before about my huge admiration for that profession. You see, there are an awful lot of things about offshore sailboats that are counter-intuitive, at least to us non-engineers. For example, would you believe that:

All three are true but not exactly what you would expect. So Matt will be writing about issues like this where following your intuition can really get you in trouble.

Writing

There is also another reason that we asked Matt to join us: The man can write really well. That’s a talent that is much more rare than you might think. But wait, it gets better. Not only can Matt write well, he has an even rarer talent: He can explain complex issues and make them easy to understand to non-engineers.

Matt will be writing every other month or so about whatever interests him. He may even go off topic occasionally, as I do. One thing I can guarantee, you will find his pieces thought provoking and you will learn at least something from each one and probably a lot.

Matt’s first article will appear soon.

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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9 comments … add one
  • Chris Mar 2, 2013, 10:21 am

    Welcome, Matt.

  • Simon Wirth Mar 2, 2013, 10:39 am

    As an engineer myself I have to say that I really enjoy Matt’s comments.
    Now this is geting even better. Thank you for sharing Matt.

  • JAZ Mar 2, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Welcome Matt,
    I look forward to your contributions.

    Those who fall in love with practice without science are like a sailor who steers a ship without a helm or compass and who can never be certain whither he is going.
    Leonardo da Vinci

  • Marc Dacey Mar 2, 2013, 1:22 pm

    A very apt da Vinci quote there….

    One of the underdiscussed aspects of good seamanship is humility and being conscious of one’s limitations in experience or analysis. After all, the sea is indifferent to the sailor’s knowledge base!

    Being accomplished (loads of sea miles) and successful (not drowned) in something like distance cruising does not necessarily mean that one knows it all or even knows “the best way”…but that’s not something one hears very often, because everyone would prefer to take seamanship advice from a superhero, not just another fallible human being who may have been often as lucky as right.

    It’s impressive to see that expressed here, and even though I find the discussions here quite fresh already, a new perspective, even a slightly unsalted one, perhaps, is going to bring all sorts of benefits.

  • Colin Speedie Mar 2, 2013, 2:17 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed Matt’s contributions, sensible, well-argued stuff, always presented in a logical, easily digested way, so I view this as a big plus for all AAC readers.

    And I’d like to second Marc’s comments above!

    Welcome to the ranks, Matt – look forward to reading your thoughts.

    Best wishes

    Colin

  • Victor Raymond Mar 3, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Welcome Matt. We look forward to your expanded role.
    Enjoy!

  • dpddj Mar 3, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Matt’s contributions have been good to read. As one of the few registered professional engineers in the marine industry (boat building side – I could have made a whole lot more money doing something else but I love boats), I find it is always a pleasure to read from someone who has not only the smarts but also the practical side. These days I primarily work on the tooling side and it is amazing what designs we see that simply cannot be built. There is no substitute for having done it. Welcome aboard, Matt.

  • Patrick Mar 3, 2013, 9:01 pm

    As an engineer and a sea novice, I too look forward to reading his insights. As a novice, one often is embarassed to ask questions that border on the stupid.
    Few Oldsalts from the sea take time to share and explain lifesaving techinics and pratices essential to bluewater cruising as I’ve read on your forum.
    Thanks,
    Patrick

  • Milton Mar 4, 2013, 7:30 pm

    Welcome Matt. I am an electronic/electrical engineer my self. I appreciate someone giving a prospective from an engineering standpoint. Good explanations are always welcome. Thanks.

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