Kevin, I completely agree. No if, no and and no but's. I think you can find the joy of sailing on any sailboat. And the good times with family and friends could be had without ever casting off the dock lines.
Of course I do have strong feeling about this topic. First I don't think that this is an either or choice. Your don't necessarily have to choose between the beauty of sailing and a truly beautiful sailboat. There probably isn't that much difference in the cost of materials between an "butt-ugly MacGregor 26" and a Luders 16.
My point was that we as a sailing community have made a choice to buy comfort and convenience at the expense of beauty. In addition many people, I don't include you in this, want to rationalized that their compromises didn't trade-off beauty. So they argue that functionality is beauty. My post, and my offer to eat crow was to get people to actually vote one of these modern boats as future beautiful classics. When push comes to shove we all know that beauty is losing we just don't was to admit that our choices are reinforcing the trend.
I also think in the old days beauty was a value that other things were traded for. Here is Larry Pardey's first "cruising" boat. It is a 27 foot Tumlaren that he cruised all around Vancouver island.
Boats just like this were, and still are I hope, cruised all alround the Islands around Sweden. Can you even imagine the average US sailor cruising in a boat like this? We have changed how we live and what we "need" and lost beauty as a result.
If trying to fight for beauty makes me a die-hard romantic, I guess I am guilty as charged.
Again this passion could very easily come across as snobbish. But I don't really see my boat as being more beautiful than other. It is very easy to be humble when my goal and ideal for my Knockabout sloop was this.
Now that my friend is beautiful....