Peregrine, a pilgrim. Not the Thanksgiving type, a traveler, a wanderer. Traveling with a purpose. Bring something somewhere and finding something to take on to the next port. We tend to think of this as a mercantile transaction, but there are other things we might carry besides a cargo.
What if we carry a skill, a practice? What if the crew is the cargo? I’m reminded of Guilds. Not the full-blown institution, but the basic structure. One works up through levels of training and work experience to become a master. The term denoting how one has mastered a skill, not that they have control over others.
When I see this layout; an after cabin with room for a couple or a single person and a guest; a hold with standing headroom under the large hatch; and a focs’le with room for another couple; I see some possibilities. This is a classic layout for vessels from this size to the largest sailing ships built. It’s provided the setting for rigid hierarchy and extreme exploitation. But must it be so?
In this way it does also remind me of a Guild. Once the system had congealed as just another way to quantify life Guilds came to embody exploitation and commercialization. That was not always true. We can find examples from Medieval Japan and Europe. At times when there was a purpose beyond sheer greed and the pursuit of power. When the ability to do some complex task well and see in this doing an expression of repaying a debt to creation.
In such a system a master is responsible for those coming up under her care. An apprentice trades eagerness and youthful energy for a chance to be exposed to wisdom. And a journeyman – we’ll stick to this old term but not to imply the gender of the the practitioner – owes both the Apprentice and the master. Their lives are entwined. Their days spent dedicated to a practice and to the communities they serve.
Within this attitude I can see Peregrine as a way to take such a practice “on the road,” or, should I say, to sea. A master traveling with a journeyman, someone deepening their skills, still learning, but able to help teach others. They take on local apprentices. They practice their skill for the benefit of the communities that take them in.
To me, an obvious choice would be boat design and building. But there are countless other skills and practices that could travel aboard such a vessel.
The master lives aft. The journeyman, of whatever gender, forward. This apportioning fulfilling the differing requirements of different ages. A more settled existence aft along with the responsibility to navigate the craft at sea and steer the program on land. A more physically demanding space forward, but with the advantage of some privacy. A life forward bound to a master and his or her fate. This reality reflected in their positions. One cannot do without the other. There’s an equality in that.
They would load a cargo for a passage. Unload on arrival. The hold would then be free to act as a floating class-room/work-room. Their activities might spill out onto the shore. There might be a building nearby, or simply a field….
Such a craft would announce its intentions by its form, carrying its meaning and the promise of sharing its values with those whose lives intersect their course.
At some time the journeyman finds a place to settle. Or builds their own craft and sets off with an apt apprentice ready to transition. Another graduates to Peregrine’s foc’sle to take their place. Having gathered a fresh cargo, Peregrine and her crew move on….
Here’s Peregrine with Quoddy Light, a sailing peapod tender.
Quoddy Light, built in some barn by the shore. Set-up beside another boat or two destined to remain when Peregrine sails. Lasting talismans of their visit. Along with the use they will provide the community, the barn-turned-shop might continue to gather local people in a place where skill and need intersect.