June 16, 2011

Clocks for small sailboats

MY FRIEND Lynn Israel, a former journalist, has become a collector and fixer of clocks and watches. He’s also a prospective sailboat owner, so he’s wondering if it’s okay to have a ship’s clock aboard a small boat. Or is that just too gauche, or too swanky for words?

“Being a lover of marine clocks, watches and other things that tend to break down on a regular basis, I wonder if you would address the notion of having a marine clock on board a small sailing craft,” he writes. “I have a nice Chelsea ship's clock with a quartz movement (boring but perhaps wonderfully more suitable to a rocking craft) and a number of Schatz marine clocks that use a key-wind mechanical movement (far more interesting but maybe a bit delicate at times). And then there is the aesthetic issue of having a large clock on a small bulkhead. Could you share your thoughts on these issues?”

Well, I have to say I just love brass clocks on boats of any size. I’ve always had matching clock-and-barometer sets on my sailboats. I think they’re very salty, extremely practical, and not at all show-offish. And you don’t have to restrict them to boats. I have a spring-powered, chiming, German marine clock on my wall at home right now, as a matter of fact. It’s a bit scarred and battered, and it doesn’t keep particularly good time, but I love it dearly because it crossed the Atlantic with me 24 years ago. And, like me, it suffered.

And as far as I’m concerned, the bigger the clock the better. Size does matter. You ought to be able to read it from the cockpit, for a start. And, as Confucius so cleverly noted: Man with big clock never short of good time.

Today’s Thought
Everything we feel is made of Time. All the beauties of life are shaped by it.
—Peter Shafer, The Royal Hunt of the Sun.

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #210
Much as we all like to deceive ourselves, there is no shortcut to first-class brightwork. The old rule of thumb is simple: Sand the wood smooth, fill the grain if necessary, and seal. Then apply 10 coats, sanding lightly between each and allowing each to dry completely before applying the next.

“Did you have that man-to-man chat with Jimmy, dear?”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Was it successful?”
“Well, I tried to explain about the birds and the bees, but he kept switching the conversation back to girls.”

(More Mainly about Boats every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.)


John Almberg said...

That was a long setup for a (admittedly pretty good) joke!

Men's Watch Specialist said...

Your friend has a good collection of marine clocks. But you have a point. The bigger the clock, the better. Thank you for this good read.