View Full Version : The cockpit salute
One of the nice things about cruising under sail is the cheerful wave you exchange with people in passing boats. Yesterday I did something I haven't done in years and spent the day as a guest in a 35-foot motor cruiser. We motored out of Lymington, dropped the hook in Newtown for lunch then did a run up to Bucklers Hard. The boat was impeccably handled with sensitive consideration for sailers, most of which were under engine just like ourselves. While other motor-boaters invariably gave us a wave, I was fascinated to observe that of the dozens of yachts we passed at close quarters only one skipper looked right at us and gave us a smile. The rest might have noted the presence of something unsavoury in the offing, but for the most part looked right through us. I got the feeling that if they were going to wave anything at all it would have been two fingers. I have never felt so conspicuously invisible. Moreover, a number of the yachts were much less considerate to others than the motorboats we saw. Disappointing, I thought.
I confess I don't give a cheery wave to motorboaters. Yes, some I know are considerate but if you sail in the Solent regularly, being bounced about in the wake of countless powerboats who pass within yards without any thought for their effect, you tend to aassume they are all like that.
Ask yourself if you don't fall into the same trap: how do you regard - young men with shaved heads and nose studs? - white vans on motorways? - rottweilers? - jetskis?
As a skinhead, white van owning, biking motorboat owner (with a tattoo no less) I see quite a bit of the old "prejudice" at work - but can never understand "WHY?".
For those who haven't been far enough away from land to notice, it's a big sea out there, and there can be occasions when a "friend" with an engine can be a real help, so I suggest that we all start cultivating better relationships.
Also, in the "bad manners" stakes the motorboat owners don't exclusively own this territory either. For example:
Just because a sailing boat has to grab the tide at 5am doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be awakened to share your enthusiasm to depart.
Naturally a sailing yacht has right of way over power - no dispute. However, I am unconvinced that the rules were drawn up to allow a flotilla of racing sailing dinghy's to tack backwards and forwards across a channel with impunity on the basis that all of the powered boats have to get out of their way.
Finally - "When the wind doesn't blow and the ship doesn't go" most of the "yotties" do not turn to "Carter". They turn to - dare I say it - an ENGINE!!!!!!!
However, as this item of high-tech modern engineering is apparently looked upon with disdain on a yacht they seem to have a failure rate worse than the "rhythm method" of contraception.
I have run into "prejudice" - however, it always seems to disappear when I am towing a yacht with a broken down engine back into port.
It's funny how people can change isn't it??
Best regards ;o)
Surely anybody who is on the water is a sailor - no matter what you are sailing or driving.
I happen to enjoy sailing a boat rather than choosing power as the first option. If anything, I find powerboaters more honest and approachable than many of my so called sailing devotees who own boats with masts but rarely attach a sail to them. An increasingly common sight these days is a sailing cruiser with the mainsail cover on, jib unfurled in a lovely beam wind and the motor on. If you want to do this - fine - but not to wave to a fellow sailor just because he does not have sailor power proves you are no sailor.
usually because I cant see the "driver". If they are planing and going 20 knots, by the time I look at the windows/fly bridge, etc, theyve gone past!
If I see them, I wave, if i dont, i dont.
I used to own an Alfa Romeo and all the drivers wave at each other too. ah, isnt that nice.
Like many others I too do not wave at power boats. Although there are some very considerate ones, it seems to me that the vast majority are not, and some quite the opposite (having taken a very cold shower when one passed so close astern of me his sternwave came into our cockpit). I now take the view that it is best to do nothing to encourage them to come any nearer.
My other gripe about power boats is the amount of time they take to fill-up with fuel - queues at the pumps!
if its any consolation the the motorboaters, sailors in multihulls also get ignored .
But there are few sports as rich as boating with opportunities for people to despise each other. Racers look down on potterers, sailors on powerboaters. Classic owners on grp and almost everyone on PWCs.
Personally I enjoy almost every type of boating. The only one's I can't stand are those who do their thing without consideration for others.
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