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Recreation or Amusement?

Randomly, Arthur E. Martin's publication "Recreation or Amusement" popped into my mind this morning. It is one of the most brilliant and encapsulating explanations ever written to illustrate the difference between, you guessed it, recreation and amusement.

As a brief background, I first met the late Arthur Martin at the Annapolis Sailboat Show around 1976. He and his wife, Marjory, were displaying their rowing shells at the show. Arthur was the quiet, quintessential Yankee. Marjory was the salesperson and outgoing member of their team of two.

The long and short of the story is that I convinced my father to buy one of their Alden Ocean Shells—a boat I enjoyed rowing for years on the Magothy River.

With the purchase of the boat came a pamphlet titled “Recreation and Amusement". I remember thinking about how well Arthur Martin made his case for the benefits of recreation. And what the detriments of overindulging in pure amusement are.

To this day, even with the seemingly greater emphasis on amusing ourselves and the vast “improvements” in technology to aid in that, there is still nothing more extraordinary than pure and simple recreation.

When time permits, give "Recreation and Amusement" a read. I hope it inspires you to seek recreational opportunities on the water. To aid in this, I've scanned my copy.

For more about Arthur Martin and his philosophies on boats and life, I suggest reading his book Life in the Slow Lane.

Arthur Martin, too, enjoyed motoring on his Energy 48, a scaled-up version of his Appledore rowing shell; powered by a 30-hp (22.5-kW) Westerbeke diesel, it burns 3 quarts (2.8 l) an hour at 10 knots.

As a final note, how this popped into my head, at church, was looking at all the elaborate new technology for audio/visual presentations, etc. (my church was renting space, it opened its own sanctuary last month). And as someone who strives to follow Arthur Martin's philosophy, I can't help but think about how boating has lost its recreational aspects, i.e. this illustration (link to article):

Our I love yachting journey with CAYUGA has been anything but amusing, and while it's not rowing an Alden for pure recreation and philosophical reflection, she is at the same time something that stirs our hearts when you see her, and our imaginations when we think of her simplicity. Aboard CAYUGA, life is never dull.

1 Comment

Very well said.

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