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美國佬
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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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

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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 ******** 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.
 

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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.
 

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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.

Jeff
 

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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.
 

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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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美國佬
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the responses. I think it may have been a combination of just having a good time and making fun of sailors. In retrospect, I should have gone over and offered them some real beer, since they were probably drinking some lite crap. I don't typically carry mustard on the boat, though I think I'll start to now in case of such emergencies.
 

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Old soul
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Bizarre… I can’t recall anything directly similar happening to me, even though we sail a rather classic looking boat. I do tend to ignore the idiots, so perhaps I’ve erased these incidents from my memory ;). I have had my share of dyck-head powerboat encounters on the water, but these have been mostly of the wake and speed variety. But these are the exception, not the rule.

I personally have found that most boaters are considerate and easy to get along with, but a smaller number are jerks — just like in all aspects of life. Doesn’t matter if you’re a rag boat or a stink boat, most people are decent, but the pitiful few have their heads too far up their own arses to give a damn about anyone else.

BTW, I support your idea of going over with a beer. But a good beer would be wasted on the “coors lite” crowd. Hand them a can of soda water (it taste the same), and keep the good beer for yourself.
 

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It reminds me of the people who drive by a golf course and holler "Fore". Gee, never heard that one before. If they weren't being Aholes with wake and speed I think I too would have replied "but of course".
And take it easy on the lite beer comments there Willyd...I resemble that remark!!!!
 

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Thanks for all the responses. I think it may have been a combination of just having a good time and making fun of sailors. In retrospect, I should have gone over and offered them some real beer, since they were probably drinking some lite crap. I don't typically carry mustard on the boat, though I think I'll start to now in case of such emergencies.
Whenever I go sailing, I bring several extra beers to share with folks at the marina. I always bring two types of beer: Whatever I want to drink and whatever is the cheapest of these three: Bud Lite, Natural Lite, Coors Lite. I'll share the good stuff, of course, but most of the people around here prefer the Lites and will decline anything else. Who am I to tell them what beer they should drink? And if they offer me a BudLite? I gladly drink it.
 

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Every time we race on my friend's boat we hear that mustard crap at least once, we take it as a compliment, it's a very attractive French boat.
 

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The go slow thing is irksome with production tris going 39kts and a number of smaller boats you can waterski behind. That said was once challenged to a race by a friend on a sport fish. I said sure how about a hundred bucks? You pick the time- I'll pick the course. He laughs and says ok next Saturday. I say good from here to England. Never got ragged on again
 

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One great thing about sailing, is that I can enjoy the water in weather that has your run-of-the-mill "fish 'n ski" cowering in the marina.
On a blustery day in the summer, you can still have peace and quiet.
 

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Who really cares what they meant. It's clear that powerboaters are a lesser form of life and as such it is our duty to treat them with patience.

Once in a while in conversation I'll turn the topic to 'rules of the road' and see the light come on. "Is that why I keep getting flipped off by sailboaters?" Yep. Probably so make your early and obvious course correction, and pass astern if at all possible.
 

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Haha! There's that "fancy" thing people assume about sailing.

Last summer I trailered my boat to a resort for a week with family. As I was pulling the boat up to the dock one day a relative said "Hey one percent!" He meant it good-naturedly. It's funny though, 'cause I've been to their Upper West Side apartment and they actually are 1%, unlike me with my aging Catalina 22.

Anyway, if it happens again just start talking about Big Bang Theory and America's Funniest Videos and the powerboater will realize that you're just like them.
 
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