Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shunting Basics

If you've got a shunter, read this manual by Janusz Ostrowski.


Bernard Wind said...

Excellent read but how is it right that the authors claim by stating: Copyright by Janusz Ostrowski, PaweĊ‚ Kowalski

Ostroski and Kowalski do not own the knowledge that has been very generously shared by the Micronesian sailors. The Micronesian sailing culture has been very generous to share thier knowledge of seamanship, boat-building, navigation that have empowered the other Pacific island cultures that have lost thier own skills. Specifically the Polynesians which include the milestone Hawaiian Voyaging Society.

As a Polynesian myself I am very humble to the Micronesian sailing community for their gift.

Any claim of intellectual property with or without acknowledgement of the Micronesian sailing culture is nothing less that foul and shameful

Janusz Ostrowski said...

Hi Bernard

Thank for reading and raising copyright issue.
Copyright is not about the knowledge but about copying this specific book or its part.

Let me bring an example of "We, the Navigators" written by David Levis, where copyright is about the book, which contains detailed description of Polynesian navigation.
You don't complain about this, I hope.

Hope it helps.

Bernard Wind said...

Janusz, I am glad you're able to engage in the discussion

"We The Navigators" by David Lewis actually skips around alot of actual navigational information instead you come away from his book feeling he is protecting the information or is not in the know.

David Lewis co-incidentally grew up in my village when he was a child and the reference he uses to the Keeper of Tribal Knowledge (Cowan) on Rarotonga is a close blood relative of mine, so I know Lewis is well equipped to comment on the Pacific. His advocacy for Pacific peoples and their knowledge engendered him to put his life at risk when most of his contemporaries ridiculed him - he is a real hero

I dont think you can compare your writings to David Lewis - nothing you have written convinces me of that.

You may have that connection but it is not evident in your writing, but would that equip you to financially benefit form other peoples cultural heritage, that for you to answer.
But until proven otherwise you need to accept there alot for you learn about the colonization of the pacific including the traps of misrepresentation

At a basic level, there is an academic process to be followed in writing a book (which Lewis observes). It should demonstrate a professional belief in protecting the writers sources in one way or another including from exploitation. If for no other reason that it may blow back and be subject to harsh criticism

On another level, again the Micronesian people have been very generous in sharing thier culture. Having that humble perspective that seeks to give back to those people needs to be demonstrated


segelreto said...

Or another example: If you want to write a book about "western" sailing technique, you´ll have to use age old terms like "windward " or "weather helm", which are none of your invention but have developed over thousands of years. Would it also be moraly doubtful in your eyes, if you´d charge a price for that book, or if you´d claim copyright for a book about let´s say indian or chinese sailing techniques? Certainly not.
And speaking of the Chinese: Do you know, what part your taiwanese ancestors (apparently colonized also micronesia, correct me if i´m wrong, i´m no expert) contributed to micronesian sailing? Should the copyright be with Taiwan?
Servus, Reto Brehm

Bernard Wind said...

Hi Reto

Does anyone own windward and weather helm? No, each culture has their own term for it, I think we both respect that but I think your message is drifting off point.

I would like to think the people interested in proa sailing have the same celebrating best intentions for the Micronesian sailing knowledge. Some appreciation has to be felt otherwise the interest would not be there, right?

Its not uncommon for authors of nautical design to acknowledge where a particular contribution to sailing came from. A bit of research demonstrates that the N/western Pacific island contribution to multi-hull sailing is profound. Any book written today on multi-hull design of any depth, would cover the proa to some extent. This has been made easier by the Micronesians not unkind window into most of their sailing culture, for which we should be grateful.

I believe Ostrowski and Kowalski have a commercial venture fabricating and selling Micronesian canoes - It includes an instructional manual on Micronesian Sailing and the word "copyright" is on every page. Their brand strategy is very clear. But what are they doing for the Micronesian people in reciprocation - that is not clear.

On you note about the Taiwanese, I understand that the Taiwanese seek separate identity from the Chinese, so I would respect that distinction first. Secondly, it turns out that an area on Taiwanese coast has been genetically linked to the origin of all Oceanic people - I believe it is now common knowledge in the Pacific...but maybe its too far removed to warrant a specific discussion here?

Lets please keep the discussion on point


segelreto said...

Hi Bernard
Let´s keep "on point", Ok.
First: I think, their manual is not specificly about "micronesian sailing" but applies to any Proa sailing (i.e. shunting outrigger), because there are (or were, sadly) some other Proas outside Micronesia, like Samoa/Tonga, Polynesia or the whole Melanesia for instance, as you are certainly aware of. And all of them function in a similar way, more or less.
The emphasis Ostrowski and Kowalski lay on "buttsteering", that is steering the boat without rudder/steering oar/paddle but with a combination of mast-, sail-, and weight shift alone, seems to be the revival of a lost art. I haven´t seen a single video of a "modern" micronesian Proa, where they don't use a steering oar/paddle, even when sailing close hauled. There are videos of Kowalski sailing upwind, or even downwind, without using the paddle. In their shoes, I'd rather title that manual: "How to sail a Proa", instead of "sailing Micronesian way".
Second: They don't sell "Micronesian canoes", it's not that simple. As far as I know, Ostrowski, a Pole, who seems to have some aerodynamical background, started the whole thing over 10 years ago to research the performance of the "mythical" Crabclaw sail. And that, because the Pole (sic!) Czeslaw A. Marchaj, in his famous book "Aero-Hydrodynamics of Sailing" attributes some remarkable qualities to this this sail. Ostrowski decided to build a Proa as platform for this task. One of his main Influences for the hulls of his first boat seems to have been the book "Walap in Enewetak..." by Dennis F. Alessio, but with a lot of alterations and ideas of his own. Whereas the rigg and the sail are seemingly completely of his own design, but let's not forget the influence of Gary Dierking. At least I haven't seen any micronesian Crabclaw, with such a "built in" spar curvature, and I'm not talking about allowance in the cloth for bending of straight spars. The only comparable sails are perhaps Melanesian. But that's a universe of it's own, I'm sure, you'll agree.
After a lot of ocean sailing in the baltic sea, and for a open Proa that's really far north, Ostrowskis designed the bows of his second vaka seemingly a bit deeper to prevent hobby horsing, and thereby got closer to the dimensions of the marshallese walap (sic!). Also the addition of the high platform and the flexible marshallese ama suspension after much trial and error made the boat look really micronesian now, except for the Rigg. Then Kowalski joined, a designer specialized in plastic, and they decided to create a third small commercial Proa with plastic hulls, designed with over 10 years of sailing experience, and strong micronesian influence. So this hasn't exactly been the artless copying of an existing complete Micronesian design.
What are they doing for the micronesian people, you ask?
Well, they're helping to spread the fame of their "genius engineering" (quote Ostrowski/Kowalski Homepage) around the globe, and if they don't repeat it on every page: it's only a manual, not a ethnological/historical dissertation!
I can understand the fear of the Oceanians of "stealing" their wonderful designs for evil commercial purposes, but I don't think they can be stolen. They will forever stay with them, and the more people now about it, the more the respect will grow.
And finally, just to be "drifting off point" a bit: I think the Fijians were ill advised to hinder Disney to use a Camakau for their heroine "Vaiana" on grounds of it being a Fijian cultural heritage, not to be used without paying. The result was, that after the most hair-raising scene of the film, the splendid resurrection of the giant N'Druas, poor Vaiana had to wallop through the whole film on this dreary hybrid of Camakau hulls with Hawaiian/Tahitian tacking(!!!) rig!
Servus, Reto

Bernard Wind said...


I agree with you on the Disney debacle, but its a mute point that whether it was a authentic representation.

I don't know why you expect me to defend things no one has any control over.

I have a copy of Marchaj's book, it is a seminal text.

The tone of your message appears to polarize what advances are being made by sympathetic designer and researchers and the cultural heritage of the Pacific. Ultimately the discussion that you are steering is still off point. Where is the kindness from you and O & K towards the Micronesians? that is the point, it is appeal to your moral high ground

by the way Bum steering is as old as the hills mate, sorry no revolution there. Observing the world via film footage is like looking at the world thru a pipe

Janusz Ostrowski said...

Many thanks to Reto, for spending time to describe wide context.
He has shared a lot of his own expertise on sailing proa freely.

Let's pick to the point e.g. Copyright notice.
1. There is no single sentence or picture in the "Elementary..", which is copied from external source. Please point out if otherwise.
2. I'm impressed with your personal connection with Mr. Lewis, but is it to the point ?
3. If people use the manual, they start from knowing from where the IDEA comes - on the very first page.
4. Details described came from my experience - I have not been trained (pity) by Micronesian sailors. None practical tips where available to me, nor I have noticed them shared somewhere in the net (please correct and refer).

I feel treated by you like a thief which I find very unfair.
Thanks to what I'm doing many people here about genius of Pacific people first time in their life. Sad if you find it not enough.

Best regards
P.S. would be nice if you write my surname without errors, thanks.

Janusz Ostrowski said...

Please explain this point.
If "Bum steering is as old as the hills mate, sorry no revolution there" and we describe nothing more then this, then what are you claiming?
Best regards

Chris said...

This exchange saddens me, like all unpleasant argument in our small community. I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of copyright here. From Wikipedia:

"Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.[1][2]"

I am sure that Janusz is not seeking to claim ownership of any of the ideas here but just asserting his rights to the (excellent) text and images that he has spent a great deal of time over. I see no foul play here at all.

Bernard Wind said...

I didn't see image copyright, the copyright is at the top of every page.
I get your point but there are some other issues being addressed than just image copyright. Copyright per se is a poor way of protecting the originator of their work, for example, can Banksy claim copyright to the plethora of published images of his art. Trying to unravel the Banksy scenario, we realise that using strict definitions demonstrate the flaws of the over-rationalised legal system cooperates use, and result in who can pay the most to wear down their opponent. so when the peoples who can't afford a legal defence, and who have just come out of colonialism, it leaves little in the reserve to adapt.
The way forward is to fairly recognise the source and reciprocate their good will