Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hall of Fame...

Today I was wandering around Vittoriosa, Malta and was struck by an interesting revelation. For the record, I can assure you that I had many very interesting thoughts to choose from to blog about. But this one stood out like Eminem at the BET Awards.
Recently, I was watching a short video where Michael Jordan explains why he did not initially embrace his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame. His airness, "was not ready for it now." He feels like he still has so much to do. "Don't put me out grazing yet." MJ. This is the way Mir (our boat) is feeling. Let me explain.

Is the Louvre in Paris to artifacts and paintings what Cooperstown N.Y. is to baseball memorabilia and career stats? A final resting place that adds a "full-stop" to the careers of those that stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries? When a piece of work gets placed into the Louvre is it symbolically the end and the final resting place of that piece of art? Or does it continue to evolve and develop as it would have done so, had it remained where its creator had envisioned and intended it to live.

As I was strolling through the alleyways of Vittoriosa I found myself intrigued by the opportunity to take a tour of the Maritime Museum of Malta. Inside the museum after a futile attempt to finagle a student rate to save 1.50 I bit the bullet and paid the full 5 euro fee. The first room I visited displayed many parts from a sailboat that was 103 years old. Ancient, yes I know. This boat was initially built and seaworthy in 1906. The same year as the first ever airplane flight in Europe, Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated Naples, and Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity to the world. I could not bring myself to fully grasp how old these parts of the sailboat really were. Walking around this display I found myself recognizing and understanding more than I should have about the boat. I understood where the pieces fit and had a moment of deja-vu like I had seen all these pieces somewhere before. This feeling can only be compared to the feeling one would get when they meet a sibling of a good friend for the first time and can immediately sense a connection that only a history of friendship could have developed.

I need to take this time to to briefly explain just how little about boats I actually knew before accepting the challenge of refitting our very own sailboat. I didn't know port side from starboard, aft from forward and the difference between a fore-mast, main mast, and a mizzen mast (I didn't even know boats could have 3 separate masts). This sense of familiarity could not have come from my past experience as a "Seaperson" working on boats and I am certain that I had never seen this boat before in my life.

Then it dawned on me... My revelation... All this previous writing was a set up so you too could experience this revelation as I did on that fateful day in November. Technically, I was seeing these particular parts of the boat for the first time. However, in reality I have been working on and with THE EXACT SAME parts of my very own boat. It made complete sense. Mir was first built and ready for its maiden voyage three years after this boat in the Maritime Museum. Being built and in use three years apart of course these boats are going to have uncanny similarities in parts and in construction.

The difference being this boat lay in pieces behind plexiglass and resting on frames built to display and decorate the white space of the museum walls. For this boat the walls and cases of the Maritime Museum are the final chapter in its life. Its future will be as a tool to educate the masses (By masses I mean the 4 people in the entire museum including myself) about the history of maritime practices throughout the ages. Whereas in complete contrast, Mir is undergoing a complete refurbish and is being prepared to set sail once again. Mir is like Michael Jordan.... She is not ready for her inauguration into the Hall of Fame or in this case Malta's Maritime Museum. Mir, arguably, has the best years of her life lying ahead of her. The plans for Mir are full of expeditions, scientific studies, and grand excursions. There are countless sailors, future sailors, and enthusiasts that will be lucky enough get to meet Mir and have her change their life as she has already changed mine. Come April 1st, Mir will be ready to take on and bare the full force of the roughest seas on every corner of our spherical globe. Mir is withstanding the test of time and proving to be capable of outperforming and easily trumping the stats of current hall of famer's that competed with the same seas during the same generation. Mir is coming out the victor and with the completion of each project is raising the bar for future hall of fame hopefuls.


  1. Good stuff Woody...she sounds like a beauty :)

    PS - Is that the Maritime Museum in Birgu?

  2. That was a great piece of writing Woodz. Keep it coming. That's awesome that you got to be a part of bringing the Mir back to life!

    PS. I bet you can't guess how long it would have taken me to write that..Hah!

    Hope all is well.

  3. The museum was in Vittoriossa... I am not sure if that is near or in Birgu or not. After looking on a map, yea they look very close together. The Maritime museum right on the Grand Harbor I believe...