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post #13 of Old 06-05-2008
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I must confess, I was a big-time power boater, long before I purchased a sailboat, so comments I offer about my learning curve may help to explain powerboat owner behavior.

First, most power boaters usually start their careers on small, trailerable boats, where docking skills and knot-tying are infrequently used. These skills still haven't been developed when they move up into larger boats.

Second, the guests aboard most powerboats are boating novices, who haven't got a clue about boat operations. Heck, many powerboat skippers haven't got a clue either.

Third, even if one takes a safe boating course ( I did, but most don't) I can't recall docking skills ever being taught.

Finally, most power boaters are never given good role models to emulate. It's learn as you go along and hope for the best. How often does a power boater get to "crew" for someone else?

Sailboating has a much more demanding learning curve than power boating. There's a heck of a lot more to do to get the boat to move from Point A to Point B. These skills have to be developed almost immediately, whereas a power boater has more time to grow.

Sailboating has much more rigid performance expectations than power boating. IMHO, sailboaters are far more critical of their fellow enthusiast's lapses than power boaters are. If a sailboat drags anchor, it negatively reflects upon the competence of the boat's skipper. If a powerboat drags. it's to be expected because, after all, he's only a stupid power boater. Sailboaters hold each other to a higher standard.

Finally, sailboaters generally consider themselves superior to power boaters. No doubt the additional skills one must learn to become a successful sailor contributes to this attitude. Taking pride in one's ability to cross 60 miles of Gulf Stream in 12 hours, rather than 3 hours by powerboat, appeals to the "longer is better" purist within each of us.

To further cement our "specialist" attitude, we have developed an entire vocabulary which is unique to sailboating. I've owed and cruised my Hunter 30since 2000 and I'm still learning the "proper" names for boat stuff. The most recent one was "snatch block". When I owned my 35 ft. powerboat all I had to know was "twin 454 Crusaders". That said it all!

I conclude that most sailboaters are not overly anal. We just set higher standards of behavior for ourselves. Of course, this has nothing to do with the many pairs of eyes drilling in on us when we enter an anchorage.
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