Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Get a Cat - History

Editor's Note: I first wrote this series – a spoof of the Apple “Get a Mac” ads, over a year ago. The multi vs mono debate is comparable to paper vs plastic, snowboard vs skiier, tastes great vs. less filling debates. There is no right answer, but of course, I'm a multihull girl. So to my many monohull friends, please be patient with my prejudice and silliness. I also happen to be a Mac Fan Girl, so I'm probably hopeless.

* * *

Nick? A Sailor?
Nick? A Sailor?
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Two men stand on a field of white. The one on the left is a handsome white man, about 50, distinguished, knowledgeable, and stylishly dressed for dinner at a seaside restaurant. The one on the right is much younger, casually attired in Bermuda shorts, Crocs, an open T-shirt, and hailing from some mixed Pan-Pacific ancestry. A pleasant jingle plays unobtrusively in the background. The younger man speaks first:

Catamaran: “Hello, I’m a Catamaran.”

Monohull: “And I’m a Sailboat.”

Catamaran (turning to Monohull,gently reproachful): “Now, Monohull. I thought we agreed to do this together. “

Monohull (attempting to look innocent): “Of course of course. Yes… I’m a … a Monohull. I am the original sail boat, that’s all I’m saying. I just thought we should start off familiarizing the audience with my long and august history.”

Catamaran (thoughtful and slightly apologetic): “Well you know, Monohull, catamarans and trimarans were sailing the Pacific before the Vikings ever left Europe.”

Monohull: “Perhaps. But you didn’t write it down.”

Catamaran (taken aback): “What does that have to do with sailing?”

Monohull (smug): “If you didn’t write it down it didn’t happen.”

Catamaran: “But there is ample evidence…”

Monohull (interrupts with a hand up to stop the flow of words from Catamaran): “Didn’t happen… no paper, no history.”

Catamaran: “But Monohull…”

Monohull (covers his ears): “Lalala! I can’t hear you.”


History as taught in the schools of Europe and the United States is full of the great ships of the discoverers. Literally billions of words have been written about monohull sailing vessels and the men who crewed them. The modern cruising community as we know it started with monohulls, and these single-keeled craft still dominate the cruising landscape. Certainly, most of the major authors writing in the trade magazines, publishing their work and delivering seminars at boat shows, began in monohulls and largely remain convinced of their superiority.

However, the truth is that multi-hulled vessels have been around just as many years and with arguably just as much success. The problem is that these craft were primarily traveling the waters of the Pacific, out of the vision and interest of European historians. And to date, the contributions of catamaran cruisers to modern cruising literature represents only a small, albeit fast growing, fraction of that genre.

Don’t let the lack of documentation, however, slow you down. You probably didn’t read the manual for the computer you are reading this on either. It doesn’t make the computer less useful than a book.

* All credit to the Get a Mac marketing team whose incredibly clever work inspired this series.

1 comment:

Cap'n Franko said...

If you haven't caught my blog recently, my friend Bob in New Orleans is about to buy a cat. If the deal goes through, I'll probably be flying to Florida in the next coupla weeks to help him sail it back to New Orleans. Big fun!