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Sailboat Reboot
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For many years while working I devoured every sailing magazine and book I could find. The image of world cruising was appealing - groups of like minded people supporting each other. In particular the endless stories of coming into a new port after a transit to have fresh bread and a "sundowner" invitation delivered by dinghy from another boat captured my fancy. As did the stories of the townspeople opening their hearts and homes to the cruising community.

This image is about a far from my reality as my assets are from Bill Gates. I have been the bread and/or invitation deliverer many times only to be turned down. When the invitation was accepted those people I met did not reciprocate at the next stop.

I will stipulate three things that if you care to explore please put in a new thread or private post:
  1. Perhaps I am a jerk and people just don't like me :D,
  2. There is a well know bias of couples tending to stay together and not inviting single sailors .
  3. We can all agree that cruising in general has gotten more expensive and regulated in recent years.

I have experienced the "old school" welcome twice - once in St. John's Newfoundland and once in St. Pierre. Both of these places are well of the "typical" cruisers track.

So my question: Has world cruising gotten meaner (people are only interested in themselves?)
 

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Has world cruising gotten meaner (people are only interested in themselves?)
No. Emphatically, no. I think that boaters and sailors are very kind and welcoming. I have experienced many acts of kindness on the water recently and in the distant past.

Maybe the whole bread/sundowner thing is a little forward for some people. I don't generally invite strangers into my land home and generally don't do the same on the water. But I WILL talk forever sitting on the dock or in my driveway. Maybe people don't have extra supplies to reciprocate (we rarely have extras).

We had an "old school" welcome once in Elizabeth City NC, then they used some racial slurs to tells us what part of town we could buy ice. If that was "Old school", they need to remedial sessions.
 

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think people are scared. keep more to themselves do to fear they will be "gamed" some how. mostly travel with wife now. previously would single more. when singling needed to first establish I was a safe ( abet goofy) person to interact with. think with increased communication via forums like this, internet, texting, Skype etc. people are used to interacting via a screen and are able to parse each word said from a distance with ability to stop interact effortless with a click. folks in general have increasingly lost the ability to spontaneously interact. Used to get yelled at by prior wife for talking to anybody. "How could you.. they are scruffy...you don't know them...they are not like us..." Always thought you never know who can teach you something good or make you smile so ignored her. One of the reasons I'm now very happily married for some time to someone else. Still we get to sit and chat more when she starts the interaction- I'm a social inapt compared to her.
Keep trying Roger. We'll be booping up/down east coast early this season. I'll stand you a drink. Dinghy over if you see my transom. Just don't hit on my cutie. (grin)
 

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bell ringer
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It never has appeared to me that boaters were anywhere as friendly as books etc. make them out to be. Maybe times have just changed and people aren't willing to reach out as much, but I think a lot has to do with all the stories of fear we are faced with now days in the media. I mean just look at how many people are basically scared to sail without a gun on the boat!
 

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We have both invited and been invited.. but it's not a frequent thing. I think Sabreman's 'chin wag' scenario on the dock or the beach is somewhat more common.

Our sailing club is very social, and we often make an effort to invite non members in the area to join us - not an overt recruitment really, but lets them know about us and makes them feel welcome. We joined ourselves after a few such 'chance encounters' with the group.

I've offered to help with failed engines, stuck anchors, groundings... and we've rowed around an anchorage on the mooch for some ground coffee (yes - believe it or not we forgot coffee :eek: .....) generally with success and good feelings all around.

But overall I do believe, sadly, that the world is a less trusting place and perhaps that's the root of the OPs observations.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I am not the most outgoing person in the world. I am rather reserved and quiet. I would never turn down an offer, and I would bring something with me, but I would rather sit and talk to anybody that happened to come by rather than looking for people. (might be why I am the forever single guy)
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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in the three years i have occupied water space in mexico, in different ports and bays, there have only been a couple of the many i met who were cliquish or indifferent to others.
for the most part cruisers seem to work together without requiring requests, as in dragging boats in an anchorage, etc....mebbe not go to potluck, but i do watch out and help others when able..hard to save a 6 kt speeding sailboat with a rowboat upwind, so.....i do call them to others who have mobility factor a.....
however,my hardest hit items missing were removed from my boat by an alleged fellow cruiser.....soooo.......
 

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I'm not sure i would use the word "meaner" but cruisrs are possibly more insular, largely becauuse society as a whole has turned inward. drive through any subdivision built in the last 20 years and the front porch as a focal point has largely disappeared, along with short picket fences. people no longer want to know their neighbours, or at least, interact spontaneously with them- instead they want to be ensconced in their home theater or family room or in their back yard on their deck surrounded by a 6 ft privacy fence. When they decide to go cruising, that same mindset is often along for the ride.
 

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What works for me. The first encounter is on nuetral ground. Chat, maybe share a beer. Second encounter invite them back to meet the missus and see the boat and have a beer or drink or snacks. Lot more effective. Lot less informal.
For some reason i see a lot of guys at 6 am while were waiting in line at the restroom......not the time to invite them over. 9am you invite them over for breakfast and coffee; i seem to get a lot of takers after i've fried up 2 lbs of BACON. Especially the older married guys. What's up with that?? :)

Then again; i have 4 daughters in their late teens and up. When they are around with all the young ladies from the marina i don't seem to have any lack of guy friends. Hmmmmm??

Would i say people are meaner? No; i would say that people are more stand-off-ish. Maybe a little scared to open up. Find common ground and go from there. I find sailors to be more conservative in nature anyway. Single sailors seem to be more open to visiting. Maybe their lonely.
 

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interesting topic as I know first hand some of these things you mentioned

1. it depends where are you taking these views from...us coast, caribbean, asia, med, red sea, indian ocean? where?

2. there is a lot more INFORMATION today than say 20, 30, 50 years ago...I mean wars were started and for all you knew you were happy as a clam sitting on a coral reef way out there. So some can obtain too much info on the place they are cruising for example and are all out doomsday preppers, or overly cautious or simply not interesting in viewing the land, cruise etc...its just a stopover.

3. the internet(simply put a lot of people dont do stuff anymore cause they get way too much info and decide not to...like hey how are the galapagos today and you get a few responses saying its impossoble, dont do it...ecuador sucks whatever)

4. ITS CULTURAL as well...americans for the most part are very conservative...especially elder couples...they like to cruise and buddy boat a lot as it maintains stats quo...safety...common likes etc...I know some brits like this too...

5.if you are offering bread in a crowded liveaboard anchorage(not an anchorage in the south pacific or way out there) its kinda obvious that yeah...yo wont get all the reciprocalities you would in a nice quiet anchorage in some lovely atoll.

6. it just depends but like you even 5-10 years ago when I was cruising a lot, I too noticed these things you say

one example that has stuck in my mind for eternity is this:

we were in a lovey anchorage in the maldives...just stopped over from sri lanka...

there were 6 or so boats anchored
1 french solo, 1 portuguese, 1 belgian, 2 us, I think a couple of aussie boats and our spanish flagged boat

the belgian boat offered a dinner...so we speared some grouper, the french guy baked something, we also made some tapas thingies, the other boats all brought something to the table

we as usuall always had our fair share of rum and wine to share....once there its like an open bar you all grab and share and have fun...you know share

this one boat(ill let you guess what flag) brought their cooler, theor ice their cups, their drinks and the cooler with their name on it...not once did they offer any of the things they brough as it was THEIRS...but they gladly ate, and drank everything offered by the rest of us

just goes to show that its cultural and how you were brought up and where...mostly that dictates who and how you are treated in the "cruising world"

simpy put with those types of people we just avoided hanging out with them as my captain in particular felt so offended by these type of cruiser actiones we just steared clear and had fun with other like minded boats...

in any case we have been in many anchorages were as soon as you drop the hook you know its going to be fun, cordial and a happy stayover...

in others you can smell it that yo are simply next to a douche boat...thats just the way it is

we would usually just raise anchor and hop on to another spot.

we also and this was just our view, notice there were a lot of cruisers that honestly werent having a lot of fun...I mean why argue and bicker and complainn when you are in paradise?

anywhoo
 

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I think that when people write about things, they write about the highlights, at least if they want other people to read their stuff. If they spend two years cruising and over that time four or five times someone comes over and says hello and invites them for a sundowner, they will write about those four or five times since that is more interesting than "I dropped my anchor, made sure I wasn't dragging, had a beer" over and over again.
 

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We all to some point try to assimilate with people that look like us, act like us, and talk like us... case in point many times I cruised into a slip either in the San Juans, or other anchorage where at first I wasn't welcomed... but once I 'shaved, showered, and new clean looking clothes' I was as welcomed as anyone.

Many times we see it coming with other boats pulling up and we feel intimidated... are they like us, etc. sometimes it's different cultures, most of the time it's the '6 foot border fence' syndrome and whose invading our space... similar to the discussion about the portable generator...

Most times people are friendly and eager to discuss the sail, or what you would expect in the new cruising grounds, sites to see, etc.

I'm hoping to expect some friendly grounds in the Caribbean soon and hope the security of anchoring in certain islands are well taken cared of by the local authorities. ;)
 

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I'm a little more reserved, but John can get the life story out of a rock if it sat there long enough. He talks to anyone and everyone and not in a nosey way. He is genuinely interested in other people and he approaches them in a way that's non-threatening and they don't feel like their privacy is being invaded. It's a gift, really.

When we're sailing we like to meet people, learn where they sailed from and where they are going. It's relaxing to do this over food and a beverage. It's also fun to eat at local restaurants and learn about whatever city we're in from those who live there. Our preference is to eat at the bar where people are more likely to engage in conversation.

I don't think people are meaner. There might be other reasons including not knowing how to communicate or simply not having the skills and/ or ability to reach out.
 
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Sailboat Reboot
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Let me clarify a couple of points:
  1. I, like every other cruiser I have met, will come to the aid of someone who needs help. I have found that to be true everywhere I have traveled. (As an aside, I still remember 10 people trying to help me get into a slip in Elizabeth City, NC. I finally said "would everyone stop talking so I can hear myself think!" I did say I was sorry afterwards.
  2. I was specifically referring to anchorages and mooring fields, not marinas. At a marina there are ample opportunities to meet people. We all have our strategies and I am one of those "never met a stranger" kind of people. At an anchorage you are not going to meet anyone unless you make some effort. You might happen to run into someone in the same bar or some shore based activity but in my experience that is rare.
  3. Usually these are transient experiences. The particular incident I mentioned was transiting the ICW. We all moved each day and pretty much anchored in the same place every night. Sort of like a "pick up game" we all expected to go our separate ways after a couple of days. I spent a couple of months in Simpsons Bay Lagoon and did get to know a number of the people on the boats around me. Most of them were long term occupants of the area (like years.) Once I met a couple of them I was introduced to the rest.
  4. Single cruisers are, I think, crave interaction more than boats with 2 or more people on board. After a 10 or 15 day transit we crave reconnecting with the human race. Frequently I will do that by sitting at the bar in the local hangout.
  5. My experience covers North and Central American, the western European coast, and the Caribbean. In general the most outgoing and fun people I met were on charter boats. They only had a couple of weeks and were looking for a good time.

In settled places like marinas transient boats are rare. Most people live locally and have a life outside of sailing. My expectations are low. But when I am one of three or four boats in an anchorage off some Caribbean island I am surprised that each boat seems to go its own way.
 

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Funnily enough I find anchorages more amenable to having a chat than a marina. why I cannot really say but maybe it has to do with meeting someone who is either in their dinghy or you in yours rather than just a step away ? Not sure but in the main have found cruisers to be quite approachable and friendly.

That said it has to be admitted that I am by nature anti social so if that chat in the dinghy suggests I'm having my doubts about you (and vice versa of course) then the intercourse can go no further.

Seems to work for me anyway.

(most of the anchorages we drop our pick in are small, quiet with few other boats. That makes a dinghy visit simpler)
 

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Cruise with kids and doors open everywhere and lots of people want to meet you.
Cruise alone and you're just a creepy middle aged guy who is alone and suspicious.
Cruise with your 25 yr old daughter and suddenly every young man wants to be helpful and friendly.
Still, even by myself, I manage to meet interesting people and I'm introverted.
 

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I find that the more remote we are the friendlier/outgoing the other voyagers are. Guess it must have to do with all of us being in the same boat.
 
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Chastened
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A few thoughts...

On the whole, I think world political and economic tensions are causing people (in general) to be more suspicious and insular. I see this in many facets of life, and it does seem to translate over into sailing and power boating.

On the more specific, I think that local culture has a lot to do with people's demeanor and behavior.

For example, I feel that people in my region are pasty, prudish, uptight, mistrustful, and sometimes condescending. Sailors in the Annapolis area in the summer, are often fully clothed in long sleeve and long pants "technical" clothing from Columbia and other outdoor outfitters, and they are pasty white. I am often watched with what appears to be mistrust by anchored cruisers when I sail through the anchorages in my river.

My crew and I were practicing for a race one Saturday, when we were overtaken quite closely by a boat crewed by fit, dark-haired, tan, men and women clad in "banana hammocks" and "postage stamp" bikinis. I'm Italian, and I thought to myself "These folks look very Mediterranean." Sure enough, they were speaking Greek. They were friendly, and waved. Nice folks.

The prudes in my crew began commenting on their scanty swimwear, and how close they were to us when they overhauled us. :rolleyes:

Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could buy the state of Maryland a shot of rhum and tell it to friggin' relax. :)
 
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