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willyd 06-22-2017 09:31 AM

We were coming in from a nice evening sail last night and some guys in a motor-boat started yelling towards us, saying things like, "Do you have any Grey Poupon?" I couldn't catch the others, but they were similar. My sailing mates claim this was not meant as ridicule, I got the opposite impression. Your thoughts? How would you have responded?

cshrimpt 06-22-2017 09:42 AM

Re: heckling?
Sounds like you met up with Wayne and Garth. I always carry a jar of Grey Poupon so I can respond to those adolescent remarks with "But, of course!" That shuts them up.


Gail Peterson 06-22-2017 09:43 AM

Re: heckling?
You could have stated; "Yes, do you need the American or French version?" and laughed it off. Look at it as a compliment.

Ajax_MD 06-22-2017 09:55 AM

Re: heckling?
First, I wouldn't have responded at all.

Second, I have observed that non-sailors seem to think that *any* sailboat, no matter how dilapidated, represents some sort of moneyed, raised-pinky, wine-sipping, caviar-consuming owner. Somehow sailing is "fancy." I've even received those sorts of comments while sailing my ratty old Hobie cat.

I give your friend a 50/50 coin flip that the Poupon comment was made in good fun, or meant disparagingly. Without knowing which one, any response could just make things worse, so I just keep my mouth shut and sail on. The only safe reaction is to give a silent, friendly wave, if you feel you must do something.

I'll offer a bit of arm-chair psychology-

- To the outsider, sailing seems like a difficult to learn, esoteric skill. Some people feel threatened by things they don't understand.
- In the current age of instant gratification, many people don't understand why you would choose to go so slowly, for so much physical effort when you could turn a key, push a throttle and travel at 50mph for nearly zero effort and zero skill.
- As I said before, somehow... even crappy sailboats have taken on an inappropriate trapping of "wealth." You're an ass hole because you are perceived to have "wealth" because you sail. This myth really needs to be debunked among everyday folks.

I could go on, but you get the point.

danstanford 06-22-2017 10:04 AM

Re: heckling?
It would have been nice to have a jar to throw at them....

jwing 06-22-2017 10:10 AM

Re: heckling?
If I ever need help on the water, I hope a someone will show up with a motorboat. Therefore, I treat stinkpotters with as much courtesy and friendliness as I do for sailors or paddlers.

My take is that, like you, they were just having fun on the water and they were trying to be sociable. Maybe their jokes weren't funny to you. So what? Smile, wave, and give them a compliment of some kind. Ask them if they have a few beers to spare.

Jeff_H 06-22-2017 10:25 AM

Re: heckling?
Without being there, its hard to know the intent of the crew in question. All my sailing career I have experienced a spectrum of interactions from the power boat community that fall in a broad range from the jovial and collegial to the downright belligerent. I have had friendly waves and friendly conversations with folks on powerboats. But I have also had powerboats seemingly pass close alongside at speed just to fill my boat with water with their wake, and in at least one case, for no reason that I can discern, a powerboat veered hard towards me out in the middle of the Bay, passing at speed within a few yards of my boat, throwing a wall of water onboard, while the operator was busy shooting me the single-digit salute. I have had power boats yell at me for sailing in the channel, even when I was doing the speed limit for the channel, and power boats slalom in and out of a junior race fleet at speed, then turn around and come back and do it again several more times. I have had power boaters yell all kinds of obscenities at me simply for being a sailor. There is no explaining the depth of human perverseness.

Whatever the reality, your experience probably falls somewhere on the milder end of this spectrum.

The good news is that your boat is back together and that you and your friends were out sailing. The good news is that life goes on. The good news is that even if these people were in fact malevolent in intent, they are condemned to live with themselves, and you get to go home or sailing with people that you enjoy.


Capt Len 06-22-2017 10:26 AM

Re: heckling?
All are welcome to cut the mustard to the best of their limited abilities. Don't need my help.

Arcb 06-22-2017 10:47 AM

Re: heckling?
I so wouldn't worry about it. They were maybe just being friendly.

No doubt I've had hassles from power boaters, mostly in the form of big wakes from being buzzed, but some out right belligerence as well. However, the negativity and snobbery I have encountered from power boaters is a tiny fraction of the snobbery I have encountered from other sailors.

It has been my experience that nobody perpetuates the myth that sailing needs to be a moneyed sport like sailors and the industries that profit from them.

Look at the bright side, at least they said it to your face rather than behind your back on the deck of the club, giggling in their white knee socks, behind your back, as you walk away.

smackdaddy 06-22-2017 11:11 AM

Re: heckling?

Originally Posted by Ajax_MD (Post 3967705)
I have observed that non-sailors seem to think that *any* sailboat, no matter how dilapidated, represents some sort of moneyed, raised-pinky, wine-sipping, caviar-consuming owner.

And they would be right if looking our way. Just smile smugly at such a bourgeois comment and chuck a tub of this at them...

Just make sure to have your pinky raised and caviar safely secured.

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