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.
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”.
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:
- Adding carbon fibre reinforcement to a fiberglass laminate can make it more prone to failure.
- A boat with a heavier mast can be less prone to knock down than one with a light mast.
- That anchoring a boat fore and aft can result in as much as fifteen times the load on the anchor rodes in comparison to that exerted on a single anchor.
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.
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.