At Everything to Sea, our fleet of artisanal wooden yachts is not just any on the water. These iconic ships are deeply rooted in local heritage and demonstrate true mastery of craft.
The indigenous people of the Indonesian island known as Sulawesi have been building wooden vessels called pinisi ships for centuries. However, the pinisi is much more to the local communities than simply a vessel for trading goods. It’s at the very core of their social, economic, and cultural framework.
For example, within each pinisi boatbuilding community, there are appointed families who are responsible for safeguarding the practice. The select shipmasters hold all the technical knowledge to lead the other village men in constructing the boats. And here’s where it gets crazy.
The shipmasters direct the entire construction from memory alone. No molds, no drawn-up plans, no renderings, no Google, nothing but the knowledge passed down from master to master, generation to generation.
But these aren’t just any rowboats. Traditional pinisi ships were built to carry up to 300 tons of cargo. Check out this video “Building a Tradition – An Inspiring Work of World Heritage” to learn more about the building process, and why constructing a pinisi ship from memory is seriously impressive.
When’s the last time you made something from memory – without Youtube or a physical instruction manual? It’s a safe venture to guess many of us can’t even build a birdhouse without directions of some sort. If you’re the exception here, please share with us in the comments below.
We often talk about success, but what about mastery? Dr. Sarah Lewis, author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, was once asked about the difference between success and mastery. Her response was, “Mastery requires endurance. Mastery is not the same as success – a victory based on a peak point, a punctuated moment in time. Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, a constant pursuit.”
Maybe that’s why we are often swept up in awe, appreciation, and wonder when we come across a true masterpiece. And it’s often when we zoom in on the complexities of a craft that we can truly appreciate the dedication of a master.
The South Sulawesi shipbuilding tradition is so precious in that it embodies the concept of mastery in the modern world. So much so, the pinisi sailing craft was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2017. The local masters audaciously and dutifully work their craft while passing on their knowledge beyond their own lifetime. And it’s a tradition that must be protected in the face of modern technology and development.
Over the last 30 years, the Indonesian tourism industry tapped into the pinisi tradition, and modified the cargo ships into luxury sailing vessels. At Everything to Sea, we want to give our passengers an Indonesian sailing trip that embodies local culture and tradition, and that’s why we charter pinisi ships.
Sailing on one of these vessels never fails to leave us in awe, appreciation and wonder. That’s why we use pinisi… not to mention, the name sounds like something else that also inspires awe, appreciation and wonder!
But let’s lift our head from laps for a minute. What does mastery mean to you? Are you on the pursuit of mastery?