1977 Arete

Sea History 173 Featured Article: “If Boat is Going Down”—Bikes, Boats, and Robert Pirsig, by Paul F. Johnston

Best-selling author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Bob Pirsig spent a good portion of his adult life intimately involved with boats—from building to living aboard them, to cruising and, of course, maintaining them. His widow recently donated a collection of personal items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Museum curator Paul Johnston shares with us the details of Pirsig’s love of nautical life and takes us on a journey through Pirsig’s experience in the boating world.  In addition to providing the captivating photos featured in his article, Paul shared several additional photos from his collection that we didn’t have room for on the printed pages of Sea History and that have never been published before. 

Take a look at the images below, and click here for the featured article PDF



 ” If Boat Is Going Down… Bring This List “


1977 – Fuel Tank Replacement on Arete in Miami


1977 – Robert Pirsig Installing Mast Stairs


1977 – Robert Pirsig Navigating with a TI-59 on Arete in Miami


Great Circle Navigation Calculations


1977 – Robert Pirsig Painting the Dinghy on Arete


1979 – Crossing the Atlantic on Arete


1979 – Robert Pirsig and Friends Painting Arete at Low Tide


1980 – Arete Aground in Fal River, Cornwall


1980 – Robert and Wendy Pirsig on Arete


1981 – Pregnant Wendy Pirsig on Arete


1982- Nell Pirsig on Arete in Tananger, Norway


1984 – Arete in Meuse River, Dinant, Belgium


1984 – Nell and Arete, Meuse River, Marche-les-Dames, Belgium


Read the full featured article