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Old 07-02-2016, 17:50   #1
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The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Anyone make a conscious effort to adopt a "grey man" persona while cruising?

I am asking because whenever I hear about crimes like theft committed against cruisers I always wonder a little bit if were they at all ostentatious? Did they do something in particular to attract attention? Were they even aware?
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Old 07-02-2016, 18:36   #2
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

I am not sure what exactly you mean by this.

As soon as you cross the border, you become pretty conspicuous. Your face, your dress, how you talk, how you move, EVERYTHING tells me that you do not belong 'here'.

I can tell cruisers at sight (we are in Spain, Canary Islands), esp if they come from a non-Mediterranean world (the English, the North Americans, the Germans, the Swedes, etc). To them, I am a grey man, but I am not a grey man to the locals!

Then again, at times I am waiting at the zebra and there is this one person waiting on the opposite side of the road, and she send me that kind of a smile, and I know, she knows.

So if I read your grey man right, I think it may only work locally.

b.
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Old 07-02-2016, 18:42   #3
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

I certainly do.

Playing the friendly grey man when clearing in.
Grey man when walking the streets until I know a place (no huge Nikon etc)
No reading maps on a street corner, acting like a dumb tourist.
No drunken revelry in an unknown bar etc.
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Old 07-02-2016, 19:40   #4
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

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....No drunken revelry in an unknown bar etc.
Mate, you've been away from Australia too long. Time to come back and re-skill.
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Old 07-02-2016, 19:52   #5
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Certainly we do when traveling in new places like some parts of Africa and in my case parts Central America when working. Its hard to change your look completely but sometimes looking like and behaving exactly how the locals expect you to act is what you need to be safe. You will always stick out as a westerner but if you are not an exceptional westerner than that is good enough.

In a place where you "do not belong" just act like you belong as best you can. Like being there is completely normal in every way.

Its not like you are in survival mode though.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:39   #6
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Having spent the thick end of 37 years at sea, in one professional capacity or another, I would offer the following as a way of minimising your exposure to any danger.
1: Be nice. It might be obvious to say that but you are very likely to be more materially wealthy than the locals. You know that and so will they. Respect, dignity and eye contact show that you are earnest in showing them respect. It's their country and it's their rule book. For the most part, you will be respected for acknowledging them and any local customs. A simple "hi" or "hello", along with a smile, goes along way.
2: Be observant. If its a poor country - relatively speaking - then don't flaunt whatever wealth you have. Dress accordingly. Use a cheap watch, shower shoes, knackered old clothes.
3: Be confident. Walk purposely as if you know where you are going. Stick to the main road, thoroughfare, and avoid going into the back streets until you know more about the place.
4: Do some homework on the location: A bit of local knowledge you can acquire for yourself, will go a long way to keeping you safe and also - and providing you can speak the local language - you can demonstrate you already know something about where the locals live.
5: Learn some basic phrases: Who does not love it when someone says Please or thank you in their local language? They won't expect you to know every nuance but so long as you know enough to do a bit of shopping and ask for a glass of beer, you should be fine.
You don't need to go overboard on these points, but just be aware.

To effectively be a grey man you need to be one of a similar group, and that might not be
what you can achieve.

Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:39   #7
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Absolutely.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:43   #8
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

How your boat looks makes a difference, too. A small boat, not too shiny, without lots of stuff bristling, tended to attract much less attention, at least not too long ago. Worked for me, twenty to twenty five years ago. People generally think of cruisers as "cheap", so it was not hard to imagine there was little of value in a modest boat.

I think that may have changed, though. Too many big fancy boats, sitting in marinas, paying large bills for maintenance, and obviously equipped with every gadget, has changed the way the entire community is viewed. In a way, that makes it easier to look "grey", but more necessary, too. I now run a 45 foot cat and am keenly sensitive to the fact that it's not a small unobtrusive vessel, and it makes me vaguely uncomfortable. Funny, but I don't seem to attract the same kind of visitors as I used to, either, the younger more self sufficient types with simple boats. Now I get the ones with the bigger boats who are trying to figure out how all the stuff works! Many of us used to be more the back-packer type of cruiser...now there are many more of what I would call the RV type of cruiser, going from marina to marina, and it has changed how all of us are looked at. Thank GPS, watermakers and the internet, I guess.
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:05   #9
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pirate Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by subs57 View Post
Having spent the thick end of 37 years at sea, in one professional capacity or another, I would offer the following as a way of minimising your exposure to any danger.
1: Be nice. It might be obvious to say that but you are very likely to be more materially wealthy than the locals. You know that and so will they. Respect, dignity and eye contact show that you are earnest in showing them respect. It's their country and it's their rule book. For the most part, you will be respected for acknowledging them and any local customs. A simple "hi" or "hello", along with a smile, goes along way.
2: Be observant. If its a poor country - relatively speaking - then don't flaunt whatever wealth you have. Dress accordingly. Use a cheap watch, shower shoes, knackered old clothes.
3: Be confident. Walk purposely as if you know where you are going. Stick to the main road, thoroughfare, and avoid going into the back streets until you know more about the place.
4: Do some homework on the location: A bit of local knowledge you can acquire for yourself, will go a long way to keeping you safe and also - and providing you can speak the local language - you can demonstrate you already know something about where the locals live.
5: Learn some basic phrases: Who does not love it when someone says Please or thank you in their local language? They won't expect you to know every nuance but so long as you know enough to do a bit of shopping and ask for a glass of beer, you should be fine.
You don't need to go overboard on these points, but just be aware.

To effectively be a grey man you need to be one of a similar group, and that might not be
what you can achieve.

Good luck.
Sound as a Pound mate...
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:34   #10
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Never seen a place in a third world country I could go to in my yacht and be "grey"
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:38   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagranger View Post
Never seen a place in a third world country I could go to in my yacht and be "grey"
Take some gunpowder.. it has the effect of greying the skin.. popular sick bay forces trick..
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:40   #12
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Simple advice to fit in:L 1. Men should wear long pants and a white shirt. 2. Women should dress like the local women(yes, may even require going topless in some places). 3. Cameras, gold watches and gold rings are begging to be taken. 4. Try not to get drunk. 5. Speak in a lower tone than you normally do. 6. Be earnest and polite.

Well, that should do it. Shorts, tee shirts, cutoffs, and loud drunks basically flash: Rich White Folks.
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:46   #13
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

If your the average WASP, your not going to blend in, but you don't have to act arrogant and display your riches either.
Walking around with a Gold Rolex, is asking for it

There have been a few studies where convicted criminals were shown movies and photos of individuals and asked which one they would pick to victimize.
There seems to be a pattern, it's been postulated that criminals and carnivores seem to pick their victims similarly.

If your Dolph Lundgren, it's unlikely you'll be mugged
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:32   #14
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

You will never look local. Don't even try. Avoid flash- expensive jewelry/watches/cameras, showing rolls of bills. Never look vulnerable, act like you know where you are going. Stay off side streets, never walk drunk, move in groups if possible (especially women). If you need to ask directions go into a store, do not stop a random person on the street. Walking sticks can be useful if you need to defend yourself. In short use the same common sense you would use in a large American city.
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:55   #15
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Re: The "Grey Man" Cruiser

Just come to Canada's west coast and not worry about it!! We is all friendly here.
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