The first entry in my new article series over at Attainable Adventure Cruising is now up. If you're interested in the growing use of carbon composites to replace corrosion-prone metal aboard ship, go have a look.
I've been corresponding with John Harries, the captain of S/V Morgan's Cloud and the webmaster at AAC, for several years. John is part of that elite group of sailors with over a hundred thousand nautical miles behind them. In the 12 years or so that he and Phyllis Nickel have been publishing AAC, they've become respected opinion leaders in the offshore sailing community, and their collected writings are mandatory reading for anyone preparing for a serious ocean voyage.
I don't have anywhere close to John's level of sailing experience, so why would I be invited to write there? While there is no substitute for experience if you're out on the ocean, there are many aspects of boat design and construction that are counter-intuitive and can only be fully understood through mathematics. And there are some cases where the progression of the "state of the art" gets trapped in a local minimum, to use the mathematical parlance, and potentially superior solutions are ignored for invalid reasons.
That's where I come in: to pick out aspects of yachting where a bit of physics, a bit of math and a bit of modern R&D can combine to give us a better understanding of how and why things work the way they do, and to give the global optimization function a bit of a shake to make sure we aren't getting too complacent when better ways of doing things might be available.