Is Sailing an Elitist Sport? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 65 Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Oh Phft!

Formula One, Football, the World Cup, pick any premier event and there will be super boxes and members only areas. So what?

If you're willing to invest a little elbow grease you can have a boat on the water for a grand. Or if you have the means you can spend over a million on a sailboat.

Yet you can both wake up in the same quiet anchorage, have a cup of coffee, watch the occasional fish jump and the birds doing their thing. Isn't that the opposite of elitist?

Not to mention most sailors I know are anything but elitist.

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post #22 of 65 Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Well, ladies and gentlemen - I chanced opportunities to be aboard 2 America's Cup boats - True North and Canada 1. Both occassions sporting a tool box rather then a club blazer & tie. Each magnificent machine turned out in their finest Awlgrip primer grey, and sans hardware. No muckity muck pomp and posturing for me at the Royal Palmy Bastard YC.
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post #23 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

I feel elite when at the tiller, smiling on at the vibe, not too much spray..... But I feel similar when sanding, painting, cussing and wrenching.
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post #24 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

I think so! I also admire those people, who are always sailing!
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post #25 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

The point of those seating areas has nothing to do with boats, sailing or racing. Its an opportunity for those that measure their self esteem in dollars and cents to compare wieners.

Those that measure their self worth in terms of learning and harnessing the forces of nature to accomplish your aims are more likely to be sailors, and yes we are an elitist bunch.
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post #26 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

EVERY activity has some who are "elite".
You can join a pricey tennis club or play on the public courts in the park.
You can join an indoor soccer facility or play in the gym or just kick the ball around on some grassy patch.
You can buy a new SWAN to take Biff and Chelsea out for a sail (or more likely, sit at the dock and drink) OR you can buy a used Laser/Santana/Catalina and go sailing.

No more or less elitist than people's perceptions of what you do for a living. OH, you're a doctor? Must be loaded. Yeah, that family GP that lives in the middle of PoorCounty USA and sometimes gets paid w/ a chicken. Or the doc that volunteers in 3rd world countries.

If I had to tally up the costs of all the work I'm doing to my boat versus having the yard do it all, sheesh, don't even want to go there! But hey, I'm an elite person!
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post #27 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

The title of this thread illustrates the difference in cultural views regarding the sport of sailing.

In Australia, NZ and many parts of Europe, sailing is a common activity among common folks. Nothing elite about it. In Australia, the word "yacht" is used to refer to nearly any pleasure craft, not simply boats larger than "X" meters, or sailboats or power boats.

In the United States, no matter how old, or crappy the sailboat, sailing is seen as something "wealthy" or "offbeat" people do. You're either a rich elitist, or you're some kind of Luddite.

The word "yacht" has a very negative connotation here in the US. It is commonly used to refer to large power or sailboats, typically equipped with a large cabin, and many amenities.

I barely have two coins to rub together, my boat is 40 years old, my sails are old and used, but when I mention sailing, my co-workers constantly rib me about making "big money".

Also, there seems to be some wierd connection between distance traveled on the water, and wealth. If I tell them that I sail a long distance, the pokes about my perceived wealth increase. I think this is because there is an unconscious mental calcuation between distance traveled and fuel costs, and that the boat must be very large and comfortable to travel so far.

I constantly have to explain that the cost to travel 3 miles or 85 miles is the same, because the wind is free.

A friend of mine recently commented "Sailing is illegal in the United States."
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post #28 of 65 Old 03-25-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

BubbleheadMd can you please clarify this statement, just not sure how to read into it.
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A friend of mine recently commented "Sailing is illegal in the United States."
I seem to have brought out the best in people with this thread.

My experience has been similar to most of the views expressed. I started at a small yacht club and no one there seemed to have any money. That was 30 yrs ago. At the time i thought a 22 foot Catalina was a big boat.
Now that i am back into sailing (last 4 yrs) i am older and i do see some separation between groups. It seems to be between the ones with newer boats and the older boats. By no means an absolute. I have found most sailors to be very down to earth and helpful. It's almost a creed. Need help go up your mast; someone is there to help. Engine trouble; 10 people show up. I loaned my car to complete strangers last year when the came in for the night; i felt obligated. I don't see the same amongst the power boat community.

Yet; i read the daily sailor news and keep tabs on the AC circuit and other big races. I have met some of these dedicated racers. They seem distant to the common sailor i know in the marina. Maybe its the formula 1 driver vs the chevy driver.
Every time i meet a long distance voyager/cruiser i see the humility within them; Because they have seen something that rarely very few ever see, danger. It the same look i see amongst those that have been to the battlefield a few times.
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post #29 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Bene-

He was just making a tounge-in-cheek comment about how sailing is viewed by everyday folks and non-sailors in particular, in the US.

Seriously, when factoring in slip fees, operating and maintenance costs, he and I probably don't spend any more money than someone with an RV who travels the country, or who likes to restore old Chevy's in their garage, or someone with a powerboat equipped with a large V-8 engine.

However, the perception of the way we invest our time and energy seems to give this elitist vibe in the US.

Maybe the vibe is caused because it's a "skill" that not eveyone immediately posesses?
Anyone can drive an RV.
Anyone can drive a Chevy, and most can wrench on vintage car engines.
Anyone can drive a powerboat.

Hey, I'm not making definitive statements, I'm just exploring the issue. I could be completely wrong.

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post #30 of 65 Old 03-25-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

It may be elitist to outsiders

It is therapy and mesmerizing to me still after 45 years of sailing
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